what to do when you're feeling a lack of inspiration
Whenever you feel a lack of inspiration, the most significant first step you can take is figuring out why. Yet far too many of us look past this essential step. Instead, we want to know how to overcome a lack of inspiration before we even take the time to recognize what does or does not inspire us.
By Katelyn Redfoot / July 14, 2021
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…..
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
1817 – 1862
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 can only get you so far, especially if you haven’t even started.
So, before you search for ways to overcome your lack of motivation, consider what is at the root of that 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.
Spend less time searching for outwardly inspiration, and 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.
While there are multiple things you can do to be happy, the most important ways are centered around cultivating self-awareness regarding a lack of inspiration.
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 self-talk, and mental roadblocks holding you back.
The next critical part of this process is accepting who you are despite all you come to find because when you accept yourself, you are more likely to show yourself forgiveness and treat yourself with kindness.
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Trying Something New
The next time you face a lack of inspiration, it’s time for you to try something new because sometimes, finding what inspires us is an active pursuit. Although, there is more to it than that.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to show up and try something new is one thing.
However, being completely present and mindful throughout that experience 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; all you are looking for here is an idea for what you can do that sparks a sense of excitement or creativity.
Ask yourself the following questions to gather some ideas:
What do I value?
What do I love talking to others about the most?
If I could teach something valuable to someone else, what would it be?
What is something I have been wanting to try for a while but haven’t yet?
What is a topic that always grabs my attention, but I haven’t yet learned more about?
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 become more skilled in your profession is an excellent means of inspiration; just 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 focus too much on trying to make something better, your attention is no longer on the experience but the outcome.
Furthermore, whether they realize it or not, some perfectionists have the mindset that development is unnecessary. “Habitual success can give false impressions of expertise and interfere with the desire to improve skill sets.
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, with whatever you are working on or aim to try, let yourself be imperfect. 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?
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.
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 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 Polyvagal Regulation developed by Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and “Distinguished University Scientist” at Indiana University.