How to overcome being unmotivated


To overcome feelings of being unmotivated, provides several strategies:

  1. Understand Dopamine's Role: Become aware that a peak in dopamine is followed by a trough, which is experienced as a craving or want. This pain trough can be the stimulus for the ongoing release of dopamine that provides motivation for goal pursuit 1.

  2. Wait or Engage in Activities: You can either wait for motivation to return, which might lead to engaging in less painful or procrastination activities like cleaning, or actively engage in activities that are slightly more effortful than the current amotivated state to help rebound out of the dopamine trough 1.

  3. Activity Replacement: If you find tasks unrelated to your goals are distracting you, create discomfort through activities that are tangentially related to your goal but more physically or mentally challenging, like a cold shower, to reboot your dopamine and motivation levels 2.

  4. Visualization Techniques: If you're feeling motivated, visualize the positive outcomes to enhance that state. Conversely, if you're not feeling motivated, spend a short time visualizing how terrible you will feel if you don't achieve your goal. This can recruit elements of the nervous system that are effective at getting you into action toward your goal 3.

    Overcoming Lack of Motivation

    Andrew explains how to overcome lack of motivation and procrastination by understanding the pain trough caused by a lack of dopamine. He shares two ways to get out of the pain trough: wait for motivation to come back or engage in mild meditation replacement activities.

    Huberman Lab

    Leverage Dopamine to Overcome Procrastination & Optimize Effort | Huberman Lab Podcast
  5. Address the Middle Problem: Acknowledge the tendency to be less motivated in the middle of a process, such as the middle of the week for workouts. Chunk tasks into smaller parts and use visualizing tools or increase focus and vigor to overcome this "middle problem" 4.

  6. Behavioral Chunking: Break up larger, daunting tasks into smaller, consecutive learning bouts or sessions; this technique can help you tackle procrastination and make the process feel like a series of reachable milestones 5.

  7. Stimulate Discomfort: Engage in something that would be experienced as more challenging than your current amotivated state—without causing harm—a technique that can help you swiftly escape the trough of dopamine 6.

  8. Revisit Fundamentals: If unmotivated, assess whether foundational elements in life such as sleep, nutrition, or other mentioned tools have been neglected, and address these to improve the baseline for motivation 5.

  9. Meditate on Failure and Success: Depending on your current state, meditate on the consequences of failure to prompt action, or on the positive outcomes of success to maintain forward momentum 3.

Using these techniques can help shift your mental state towards action and overcome moments of low motivation. Remember, these are not quick fixes, but rather scientifically based methods that require practice and application to be effective.