June 23, 2022

33 Ways to Get Motivated to Do Something that You Don’t Want to Do (But Have To).


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I think we all struggle with motivation sometimes.

We can struggle with getting motivated to do things we don’t want to do (of course). And we can even struggle with feeling motivated to do things we usually like doing!

There can be a lot of reasons for this, but ultimately, it still (usually) leaves us having to figure out a way to get ourselves to do whatever it is that we don’t want to do.

For me, I know that sometimes I just have to suck it up and force myself to start. When possible (and applicable), I’ll try to think of the easiest or most enjoyable task that I can do and start there. Usually, after just starting, I’ll feel better, and I might even get into a flow. (This actually happens more times than not!)

Other times, I’ll literally just tell myself I have to do it or think about how good I’ll feel when it’s done. Or, I’ll promise myself a reward like: I can go on a walk after! Or, I’ll do it after tea (or coffee). And sometimes, I’ll just let myself lie in bed and rest for a while until I feel centered enough to do whatever it is I have to do.

I know that we don’t always feel motivated to do things, so it’s helpful to either know how to get ourselves motivated—or how to get ourselves to just do those things we have to do anyway.

Earlier this morning, I asked Elephant readers this question on one of our social media pages:

“How do you get motivated to do something when you don’t feel like doing it (but have to)?!”

Here are 33 ways to get motivated to do something that you don’t want to do (but have to), from Elephant readers:

1.  “Some days the motivation just doesn’t arrive but some things have to be done without it. Force yourself when you need to.” ~ Kristie

2. “Make a list of steps, and aim to do as many as possible that day.” ~ Jo

3. “Literally tell yourself internally to do it again and again until you do.” ~ Joh

4. “Start doing it and focus on the positives.” ~ Eliana

5. “100% music every time!” ~ Suzie

6. “Remind yourself that you GET to. not HAVE to. ‘To them much is given, much is also required’…so whatever it is that requires you do something, and you’ve deemed it worthwhile, show gratitude & appreciation for the opportunity. I GET to do this for it provides me “xyz” blessing….” ~ April

7. “I say to myself ‘this is temporary and l’ll feel better when it’s done’… (like getting my tooth extraction yesterday)” ~ Ella

8. “By understanding I am responsible for it. Often people are depending on my to fulfill my obligations. I don’t like when others don’t fulfill their obligations to/for me so I should do my best to fulfill my obligations.” ~ Dave

9. “I was raised on the Reward System. So even today if I have something I have to do that I don’t like I make sure I have a reward for after – something I love to eat, do or watch. It makes it so much easier to accomplish things for me.” ~ LeeAnn

10. “Have a deep WHY. And always go back to it.” ~ Lisa

11. “Some days you need determination over motivation.” ~ Terri

12. “Baby steps. Just tell yourself you will do ‘x’ for 10 minutes only. Once you start you’ll find yourself continuing longer. It’s not easy. Since the pandemic I really have to push myself to do anything because I am always alone.” ~ Jeannine

13. “Sometimes you can’t get motivated, you need to be disciplined.” ~ Bridgette

14. “I just think about how fortunate I am overall and try to get stuff done because some people I know don’t have that same privilege/opportunity” ~ Cava

15. “Set a timer to do something for five or ten minutes. That might get you going. My late father-in-law used to say, ‘Life’s a cinch inch by inch…life is hard yard by yard.'” ~ Judith

16. “My Dad would say….’faster you get it done, the faster you can relax.’ Gosh I miss that guy!” ~ Cher’Lynn

17. “Mentally prepare. Do something to put yourself in the zone eg music. Calm yourself then tackle it head on. Positive self talk n encouragement, remind yourself that whatever you need to do has an end it’s not permanent. If the task is overwhelming or huge, break it down to smaller goals. Reward yourself for great job when mission completed” ~ Lynette

18. “Discipline. To be honest, there is no reason for motivation when you have discipline. Motivation is a form of energy which comes and goes. I use zen philosophy. ‘Don’t think so much. Don’t plan so much. Just do.'” ~ Vinod

19. “Think of something you really want to do and then don’t allow yourself to do it until the other thing is done.” ~ Connie

20. “Take care of myself first. Make sure I’m fed, cleaned up, and put enough time into myself. If I can’t do that – just tell myself it’s only… (30 min, 1 hr, 10 min, 1 weekend) not the rest of my life” ~ Carlie

21. “Start your day with 5 whys about what you do” ~ Gajendra

22. “I remind myself of the bills to Pay. But mostly so that I can be a good example to my kids; to do things because one had committed to do it and not because one feels like doing it.” ~ Esther

23. “I ask myself “WHY do I have to do it?” The answer either motivates me, or I realize that is not aligning with my values and goals, so I just drop it.” ~ Sandra

24. “Have me a coffee. It usually works, but sadly not with my laundry basket full of clean clothes until I’m annoyed with digging through to find matching socks” ~ Melina

25. “Promise myself I can take breaks” ~ Courtney

26. “By realizing that there is a consequence to not doing it, such as being stressed because the task isn’t done. I also hate to be the reason others are inconvenienced.” ~ Lori

27. “Mmmm depends on the task…Like I hate shopping but my kid kinda likes it now so I make it a game for him counting things and putting them in the cart. Basically try to turn anything into something my kid likes so it’s not boring for him and I love to do things for him so then it’s just a learning opportunity.”

28. “I start with the small and easy parts then ease myself into it.” ~ Iman

29. “Focus on how good I’ll feel after it’s done.” ~ Donna

30. “Knowing I have to pretty much does it…if you have to, it usually means there are consequences if you don’t….are the consequences worse than actually doing whatever it is? If so, that’s motivation enough for me….”

31. “Caffeinate and music” ~ Courtney

32. “Play some upbeat music and focus on the nap you’re going to take when you’re done with the task.” ~ Cindy

33. “I close my eyes and picture doing it in my head first and then it’s like ‘see that wasn’t so scary'” ~ Madison


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