5 Major Motivation Blockers And How To Spot Them

March 25, 2024

How do you keep going after your goals even when you can’t sustain or lack the motivation?

Here’s an example:

I once had a client who came to me because she wanted to enter a fitness competition. 

She had worked with another trainer for a whole year and didn’t keep a single pound of the weight she lost off.

She’d lose a little weight then gain it all right back.

After about six weeks of this same pattern, we did a deep dive into her mindset and emotional journey through the process.

At the start of our conversation, she stated that she lacked the motivation to stick with her diet long enough to see changes. 

But by the end of our conversation, she had an incredible breakthrough.

What she thought was a lack of motivation was a fear of having to restrict her diet forever.

So, she never stuck with the restriction long enough for it to work, which meant she was creating the circumstances for which she had to restrict her diet even longer.

After realizing this, her diet compliance completely shifted.

She lost nearly 35 lbs. in the lead up to her competition and entered her first show at the age of 52, bringing home a 3rd place trophy out of a tough line up of athletes.

A lack of motivation isn’t the real obstacle to changing your life.

Rather, it’s a sign that something deeper is creating a barrier to successful transformation.

Here are 5 of those barriers and how to spot them so that you can clear a path for reaching your next big life goals:

Motivation Blocker #1: OVERWHELM

Juggling family, career, household responsibilities, finances, community obligations, a side hustle, and adulting writ large can leave you with very little fuel left in your tank for anything else.

Add to that the body’s physiological responses to overwhelm and stress – water retention, metabolic slowdown, “brain fog”, decreased coordination, irritability, food cravings, and fatigue – and it’s no wonder you “lack motivation.”

These physical symptoms often create the OPPOSITE conditions most people need to feel motivated to work towards their self improvement goals.

Overwhelm is more likely to have you lying on the couch staring at the TV or scrolling on your phone for hours, mistaking the signs of continuous overstimulation and chronically elevated stress hormones for laziness. 

Which is why so many overwhelmed people struggle to motivate themselves consistently enough to make significant progress towards their goals.

–> Spot It: Is overwhelm interfering with your ability to consistently work towards your goals for self-improvement?

Motivation Blocker  #2: FEAR

Fear is the main barrier between desire and action.

Even when we think we want something badly enough to work for it, our initial response to the changes it requires is to resist out of fear of:

  • The disappointment of failure
  • The uncertainty of seeing any positive results even when you try
  • The avoidance of the pain of exertion
  • FOMO (fear of missing out) 
  • The risk of sacrificing a lot to receive smaller returns than anticipated

That resistance can be overt or subtle, conscious or subconscious. 

But until you fully acknowledge and manage your resistance, it will keep rearing its head, changing form as you try to level up, and always threatening to derail you before you get close to your goal. 

–> Spot It: Do you really lack motivation or are you immobilized by the fear of taking the next steps towards your dreams?

Motivation Blocker #3: LOW SELF PRIORITIZATION

You can’t pour from an empty cup and your cup is dryer than the Sahara Desert.

You spend all of your time doing for and taking care of other people so that there’s nothing left for you.

You find yourself nurturing other people people’s spirits, dreams, and priorities to the point of martyrdom.

This degree of self-sacrifice can not only feel good, but virtuous, in part because we’ve seen our mothers, mentors, or elders do it as well.

The problem is you eventually burnout on taking care of everyone else and realize no one is taking care of you.

And it’s not because they don’t care, but because:

  • You’ve created the circumstances wherein everyone expects that you will take care of everything for them
  • They don’t notice you’re burnt out because you’re so good at projecting a super hero image
  • They don’t have the ability to hold you up while you’re simultaneously holding up everyone else because of their dependency on you

If you’re struggling with feeling “motivated” to take care of yourself or invest in your self-improvement, it’s time for some heavy reflection.

You don’t have to abandon your responsibilities and become selfish to prioritize your goals, but you can start to find a middle ground called balance.

–> Spot It: When was the last time you made yourself a priority in your life?

Motivation Blocker #4: UNHEALED TRAUMA

What I mean by unhealed trauma in this context are the major life changes and transitions we don’t always have the luxury of taking all the time we need to deal with in our busy and demanding lives.

You may notice that your “lack of motivation” overlaps with the time:

  • Right after a divorce
  • When a parent passes away
  • When you lose a job
  • When you move to a new city
  • When you start caretaking an ailing relative

In order to “keep pushing”, we shut down parts of ourselves and cus on what we can deal with right now.

Consequently, the desire to focus on our own self-improvement is often the first thing on the chopping block, especially if we don’t have the expertise to fully heal them on our own or they just naturally take a longer time to resolve.

So, that nebulous feeling of “lacking motivation” that you can’t quite put your finger on is often a sign of needed healing and recovery. 

It takes intentionality, awareness, and often the help of a qualified professional to begin that healing process and avoid treating it with self-judgment and attaching negative meanings to it instead.

Spot It: What would be the result of more self-compassion?

Motivation Blocker #5: LIMITED EXPERTISE

It’s hard to get motivated to do something you:

  • Don’t know how to do
  • Think you know how to do but not sure if it will work
  • Tried and didn’t work for you or stopped working after a while

This is often one of the hardest motivation blockers to get rid of because multiple unsuccessful attempts can feed a sense of exceptionalism. 

You end up believing that even if there is something that could help you reach your goals, it just couldn’t work for you, specifically.

Lasting frustration and disappointment in the wrong or misapplied strategies can actually steer you towards the empowering knowledge you need to implement what works to bring you more success in the future. 

–> Spot It: Do you lack motivation or do you lack the information you need for your transformation?

Spotting these barriers is a major step in taking the ambiguity out of a “lack of motivation.”

It takes the mystique out of your goal quest and turns it into a process of problem-solving.

By fully and correctly diagnosing the real problems, you’re better able to enact the real solutions and hit your goals faster and more successfully.

Stay fearless.

CC 💕

Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

1. Sign up for my free mini-course for high achievers who are ready to go from surviving to thriving. This two-part course reveals the 3 secrets that high achievers who are ready to level up use to clear the hidden patterns keeping them in survival mode and build a life of joy, ease, and satisfaction. 

2. Book a PEAK Launch Call to uncover your magic so you can live out your PEAK potential and crush your goals for your health, confidence, and success. The call is complimentary and full of value, so come ready for clarity and be prepared to take action on behalf of your best life yet.

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