what to do when you're feeling a lack of inspiration

Whenever you feel a lack of inspiration or lack motivation, the most important thing to do, or the first step is to figure out why. Now that may sound simple enough, but when our motivation levels go down we can tend to wallow in or get caught up in our own downward spiral of self-pity or when feeling a little blue. The best way out of low motivation is to deal with the inner feelings, issues, and problems that might be that we’re ignoring and emotionally running away from and just work through them.

There’s a reason we are having a motivation problem, so finding the main driving force behind your low energy levels is the key to getting back on track and feeling inspired again.

So, are you having a hard time in your personal life, or are you feeling greater external pressures than normal these days? Are you facing a difficult task ahead of you like moving to a new apartment, or a new city that you’re extra worried about that’s may be causing you to feel a lack of enthusiasm?

Far too many of us look past this essential first step in finding the real reason we are uninspired and Instead, want to jump ahead and find out how to overcome our lack of inspiration before we even take the time to recognize what does or does not inspire us in the first place. 

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woman at laptop feeling a lack of inspiration

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. ~ Henry David Thoreau


Katelyn Redfoot | July 14, 2021

Overcoming The Lack Of Inspiration

There are countless books and articles at your disposal that can provide tips on what to do when there is a lack of inspiration, when you are uninspired and don’t feel like doing, well, anything.

But suggestions like sticking to a routine or taking breaks are really not a bad thing, but they can only get you so far, especially if you haven’t even started to get to the core reason you are feeling this way.

So, before you search for ways to overcome your lack of motivation, consider what is at the root cause of your lower level of motivation.

Recognize that when you come across a motivational tip that advises you to “remember your why,” your “why” is your inspiration.

While there are people and things in life that can inspire us at any given time, such as artwork, a quote, or an act of kindness, inspiration itself comes from within.

Your lack of inspiration is a sign that you are not using or engaging your mind or body in a way that provides enough reason to begin and stay the course.

“To live means to lack something at every moment.”
Paul Valéry

If you’re feeling a lack of inspiration, don’t give up on finding it. New experiences or big tasks you’ve taken on can be daunting and exhilarating all at the same time. So this is the starting point for you to figure this out.

So which is it? Are you fearful or excited about something that is ahead of you or stuck on something that’s behind you?

Spend more time searching for the inner reason that you’re stuck and not feeling your normal level of outward inspiration.

You can employ some of the following ideas that will allow the inspiration to come to you.

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Happiness Through Self-Awareness And Self-Compassion

Don’t worry; we won’t leave you stranded in a sea of ambiguity here or give you a specific to-do list to tackle.

While there are multiple things you can do to find more happiness in life, the most important ways are centered around cultivating self-awareness and present-mindedness.

Living with a more present-mindedness is a huge part of being inspired. Because what could easily be holding you back is some form of regret coming from your past, or you are worried about or have a fear of some new things in your future.

Perhaps a large task ahead, or a specific goal you may be trying to accomplish. Getting to the root cause for this lack of inspiration you’re feeling is the most important task.

You might be wondering how greater happiness yields more inspiration, let alone how greater self-awareness and compassion produce more happiness.

Have you ever noticed how you feel more motivated or focused when you are in a better mood? It’s because the same chemicals released in your brain when you are happier also signal your mind to apply yourself more.

As author Shawn Achor states in his book, The Happiness Advantage, “happiness gives us a real chemical edge on the competition.

How? Positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that not only make us feel good but dial up the learning centers of our brains to higher levels.”

In other words, when you are struggling with a lack of inspiration, engage in practices like therapy or journaling to help you cultivate more awareness of self; this includes identifying the behaviors, negative thoughts or negative self-talk, and mental roadblocks that are holding you back.

The next critical part of this process of finding some new inspiration is truly accepting who you are despite all you’ve been through in your life.

When you fully accept yourself, on a daily basis, you are much more likely to show yourself and others forgiveness, use more helpful positive affirmations and positive self-talk and treat yourself with kindness as you move ahead and out of this slump you are in. 

Trying Something New

The next time you face a lack of inspiration, it’s time for you to try something new, or find a new friend, or develop some new skills because sometimes, searching for what may inspire us is an active pursuit. Although, there is more to it than that.

Stepping out of your comfort zone to showing up and trying something new should be one of your main goals.

However, being completely present and mindful throughout these experiences is what reels you into the process of inspiration – the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.

Your next question then might be, where do I start? After all, feeling a lack of inspiration is a lot like feeling stuck.

It can hold you back even if you know deep down that you want to press on, which is why you will want to dig deep to find an idea that piques your interest.

You don’t have to have it all figured out before you even start.

A great place for you to start is first to recognize that all you are looking for are some small steps or simple ways to move forward or new ideas to help you to regain that sense of motivation.

Sometimes getting outdoors and going for a short walk and just getting some fresh air is an idea that can spark a sense of excitement or creativity in us.

Ask yourself the following questions to gather some ideas:

  1. What do I value?
  2. What do I love talking to others about the most?
  3. If I could teach something valuable to someone else, what would it be?
  4. What is something I have been wanting to try for a while but haven’t yet?
  5. What is a topic that always grabs my attention, but I haven’t yet learned more about?
  6. What do I catch myself doing when I “should” be doing something else?

Remember that your inspiration is like your energy source, and sometimes all it starts with is a flicker that has the potential to light up your entire world.

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“Success is walking from failure to failure with enthusiasm.”
Winston Churchill 

Let Yourself Be Imperfect

Striving to be a better person or the best version of yourself, in your daily life and becoming more skilled in your profession is a great way to spark the creative process and find inspiration, but be mindful not to strive for perfection.

The problem with perfection is that it often produces the opposite effect of what you intended to achieve.

Perfectionism will not bring you closer to what inspires you. Instead, it will pull you even further out of alignment with inspiration and with yourself.

When you spend too much time or focus too much on making something better, your attention is no longer on the experience but on the outcome.

Furthermore, whether they realize it or not, some perfectionists believe that development is unnecessary. “Habitual success can give false impressions of expertise and interfere with the desire to improve skill sets.

As stated in the article in Psychology Today;  Perfectly Wrong: Why Perfection Can Destroy Your Motivation “Feelings of perfection may result in resting on one’s laurels, while the rest of the world upgrades their skills and slowly leaves the gloating performer in the dust.”

So, let yourself be imperfect with whatever you are working on or aim to try.

Depending on the nature of the task, you might want to consider working within structured time slots.

This way, if your time is up for a specific activity or project, you will not stay stuck trying to perfect it – you can move on and leave it as is or finish it up later if you need to.

Adjust Your Thoughts To Shift Your Perspective

Our lives are comprised of a series of choices, and even if most days we take it for granted, the concept of and ability to choose empowers us.

At this point in your life, you want to feel more inspired, and you have a choice to do so. But how can we apply the power of choice to get us one step closer to making that choice and finding inspiration?

It all starts with your mindset. How do you feel about what you have to do right now? What is it that you need to do to find inspiration or happiness?

Read the above two questions once more and pause for a moment to contemplate how the way you think and speak can hinder your progress.

Now let’s reframe our thoughts. Is there something that you must do? Or will you choose to do it?

The long-time, highly used therapeutic practice of cognitive behavioral therapy, (CBT) is one of the best personal development tools for you to learn about.

CBT can help you develop more positive self-talk to combat the negative self-talk that runs on a loop in our minds. I’m not good enough, tall enough, etc, etc.

Being able to develop a normal routine of consciously beating back or countering the negative things and thoughts with the positive ones in our lives is a good way to create more motivation and inspiration in us.

Until you begin to apply this advice, it might be hard to see how swapping out one word for another could help you start to get back in control of your life and find what moves you.

Then again, it is often the most subtle shifts that yield the most significant changes.

A Therapist’s perspective on feeling a lack of inspiration.

The lethargy that descends when you’re feeling a lack of inspiration can leave you down in the dumps. Thoughts of unproductivity tap into faulty thinking patterns we’ve developed about what we “ought” to be producing and doing as a means of validating our self-worth.

Resulting negative self-criticism only exacerbates the lack of inspiration.

As this blog suggests, all too often, we are tempted to focus on the external – trying to push, bully and coerce ourselves into action. Taking an internal approach allows space to consider the reasons behind our lack of inspiration.

This focus pays dividends and is a kinder approach that respects our feelings around our lack of inspiration. So, to discover the “why” behind your lack of inspiration, read on…..

Claire Law

Katelyn Redfoot

Author, Katelyn Redfoot – 
Katelyn is one of our favorite and talented writers. Katelyn is an independent writer based in North Carolina and holds a Public Relations degree from Appalachian State University. She is a lifelong learner and health and wellness advocate. Katelyn is also a wife, a mom, and a happy, resilient new puppy owner. 

claire Law

Claire Law is a practicing Councellor and Psychotherapist in Preston, England, a city in Lancashire in northern England. Claire has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Leeds Trinity University College, the United Kingdom, Graduating in 2000. Claire has worked as a High School Teacher for over 16 years and has had significant experience working in the Social Care, Higher Education, and Charity Sectors.

Claire also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy along with extensive training and certifications in, Domestic Abuse Victims/Survivors – Survivors of Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Victims/Survivors – Suicide and Self-Harm training – Expressive Arts Therapy – Gender Variance – Online and Telephone Counselling – and PolyvagalRegulation developed by Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and “Distinguished University Scientist” at Indiana University.

Martin (Marty) Ward

My Name is Marty Ward and I’m the creator and publisher of the 1-Vibrant-Life blog.

On March 8th, 1984, at the age of 26, I sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident while driving to my day job.

At the time of the accident, I was having a fairly successful life as a musician in Chicago, which included a recent appearance on Star Search 84′ with Ed McMahon and preparing to be included with the same group in a major independent recording contract. 

After the accident, I was unable to perform or play my instrument for months and the group I had been in on Star Search had disbanded.

I was out of work, my musical career ripped out from under me, I’d lost all confidence and belief in myself, and my life was adrift with no real sense of direction.   

However, my injury and my recovery led me down a path that included a great therapist, cognitive behavioral therapy, (CBT), continued self-improvement, and personal development, which gave me a newfound sense of hope and passion for life. Learn more about my story on the 1-vibrant-life about page. 

CBTCP Certification (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Certified Practitioner) | 10-16-2021  Certification From The Academy of Modern Applied Psychology, in The Transformative Science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT