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Painted Brain | What Causes Mental Laziness And Lack Of Motivation?
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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What Causes Mental Laziness and Lack of Motivation?

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A young girl holding her face in her hands

The lack of motivation can cripple you from doing anything meaningful. It hinders you from accomplishing your goals.

Laziness is closely associated with avolition, the lack of motivation. The good news is that just as there are many reasons for being demotivated, there are ways to overcome them. 

You can seek professional help or assistance from support groups, for example. Surrounding yourself with positive people can help you rediscover your passion and give you the drive to be actively involved with things that can make you feel productive.

But first, let’s discuss some of the reasons why some people become mentally lazy or lose motivation.

5 Reasons Why Some People Lack Motivation

No Clear Goal or Purpose

It is often said that spontaneity is good. Still, it would help if you had a clear purpose in life. When you don’t find fulfillment in the things you do, you can lose motivation

The person may be doing things just for the sake of doing it and not because they are trying to accomplish something rewarding.

This situation is like going through a forest without a map. One either gets lost or arrives at a different destination.

Losing Sight of Goals

People may have developed goals early on. They may also have taken steps towards achieving those goals.

But not all plans succeed. When this happens, they may feel that they have just wasted their time and effort, making give up on what could have been a great idea.

Using the forest analogy, it would be like reaching halfway through the forest, finding a deep ravine blocking the way, and giving up and returning to the forest entrance.

Focusing on Too Many Things

Having too many things going on can also make you lose motivation. Often, those other things turn into distractions that can affect your other plans.

While it is good to keep yourself busy and productive, trying to accomplish too many things at once can overwhelm your mind.

Like entering the forest, you may be preparing many things before venturing in, to the point that the baggage becomes too heavy. In the end, you may give up because you can no longer carry the bag.

Goal Is Too Big

Alternatively, one’s goals may be too ambitious for their capacity. It is good to dream big sometimes, but it can be detrimental if one’s feet are not planted firmly on the ground.

This situation is similar to going into the forest with a heavy bag, except this problem can be thought of as carrying one, single, heavy load.

Suffering From Mental Illness

Many people fail to look into the possibility that they may have a mental illness.

For example, some people find it easy to dismiss depression as a minor thing, like a common cold. But those suffering from it may find the illness debilitating.

Some people suffering from major depressive disorders may find it difficult to experience pleasure or motivation. If left untreated, the illness may become a worse problem later.

6 Ways to Overcome Laziness and Find Motivation

1. Create Manageable Goals

It is essential to track and monitor one’s progress. To do so, one should create measurable goals and achieve them in a realistic sense.

By creating manageable goals, one does not have to overexert themselves, and they can commit enough time to achieve those goals.

For example, it can be more realistic and achievable to save $200 every month than simply becoming a millionaire.

2. Use Your Strengths

It is easier to accomplish a task when you have the skills and strengths that are more compatible with that task.

Research shows that using those strengths to perform your work can improve your performance and well-being.

You can learn new skills and be good at them, like acting, for example. But if you already have theater or film experience, you have a better chance to become an actor than if you were yet to start from scratch and take acting lessons.

Learn to recognize your strengths so that you can better determine how to plan and accomplish your goal, which, in turn, becomes a motivation.

3. Ask Other People to Help Out

 An emperor does not have to build an empire by himself. Likewise, you don’t have to be alone on your journey towards becoming more motivated and actively involved in your goals.

If one thinks the bag is heavy, like in the forest analogy, simply asking for help can make the load lighter.

Sometimes, the motivation and rewards for accomplishing something together can be greater than if only one person did it.

4. Eat Healthy and Exercise

Mental laziness and lack of motivation can also be caused by one simple problem: not having enough exercise and nutrients in the body.

One should consider eating healthy food high in protein, such as green, leafy vegetables, and fatty fish. Research also suggests eating berries and walnuts and drinking coffee or tea.

5. Reward Yourself

Sometimes, it is good to treat yourself to some rewards for a job well done. It may be as simple as buying your coffee or purchasing your first car.

If you have a goal and prepared a plan to achieve that goal, those rewards are a kind of motivation in itself.

Rewarding yourself is more of intrinsic motivation than extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation includes external rewards such as money, power, or even social recognition.

Intrinsic motivation is what one believes to be internally fulfilling. Playing a sport for enjoyment, learning a new language, or helping others through charitable works can all be intrinsic rewards.

6. Seek Professional Help

A person who suspects they have a mental illness that is causing their demotivation should consult a professional.

Some mental illnesses include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or a disorder due to substance abuse.

Medical professionals like mental health workers, clinical social workers, and psychologists can get the care that individuals with a mental illness need.


It is a challenge to be motivated all the time. Even the most motivated person will likely have moments of unhappiness from time to time.

Motivation comes and goes depending on the person’s goals, personality, and even way of life. You may achieve one goal and be motivated now, then be down and depressed the next day.

By following how to overcome mental laziness and the lack of motivation discussed above, you have a better chance to achieve that sense of fulfillment in your life.


  1. From Strengths Use to Work Performance:
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  3. Boosting Motivation and Cognitive Deficits in Mental Illness:
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