When I tell people I own my own business, I usually get a few questions. Sometimes these questions are skeptical (I’m happy to answer those, too!), but for the most part, people are just curious.

Surprisingly to me, many of these people share their own business ideas with me. I’m amazed – I have heard some really solid business plans from people. Clearly, they have been dreaming about this business for quite some time. But they always seem to ask me one question: how did I start?

I’m always quick to share that you don’t have to have an elaborate plan to start a small-scale business. In fact, I think it is dangerous to spend too much time in “planning mode.”

You see, these people who tell me their business ideas have way more of a plan than I ever had. Since I didn’t have to invest a lot of capital into my business, I kind of flew by the seat of my pants (which I highly recommend – that’s the best way to learn!)

Addressing a Lack of Motivation

I listen. People will say they don’t have enough time, they are too stressed at work, they are afraid of failing, or they aren’t sure where to start. The overarching theme here is that, for whatever reason, they are lacking motivation. They believe that their circumstances will not allow them to start something at this moment – something that they tell me they really want to do.

I’m right there with you – I spent years struggling to find motivation. So often, I still find myself without motivation, even though I know exactly how to fix it. So I am extremely empathetic to anyone who feels like this.

Maybe you aren’t starting a business. But surely there is some area in your life where you want something, but aren’t taking steps to get there. For instance, if you want to lose weight, you know you need to work out and exercise. But why is it so hard to do that when you aren’t motivated?

Motivation is Unreliable

Here’s a secret: a lack of motivation isn’t the real reason why you aren’t able to accomplish what you want. There’s something beneath the idea of motivation.

The real culprit isn’t a lack of motivation. It’s the negative thoughts you’re feeding yourself.

Think about a time in your life when you weren’t motivated to do something. Clearly, you wanted to achieve something. But for whatever reason, you aren’t taking action.

How you think directly impacts your feelings. If you feel badly, you aren’t going to want to do something.

For instance, when I wasn’t motivated to work on a task for a client, I can now look back and tell exactly why. It was because I wasn’t confident in myself, and I was afraid of what other people would think about what I had to say. Basically, I was convincing myself that I was unknowledgeable, that I was undeserving, and that I had nothing to offer. This was creating a lot of emotion (fear), which was the reason for my inaction.

Dealing With Fear So You Can Be Motivated and Productive

Want to build a business or excel professionally but are you secretly terrified of taking that big step? Realize that sometimes we still all fall into these habits. But it’s important to develop a new sense of awareness of how I talk to myself. I took hold of my thoughts.

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you are actually nice to yourself.

Another common example is someone who wants to get in shape. We’ve all been there – we want to lose weight, work out more, get a six-pack. But why does nearly everyone fail? It’s because we convince ourselves that it won’t work before we even try.

Negative thoughts are a form of self-sabotage. Once you realize that, you’ve won half the battle already.

How to Start Changing Your Mindset to Overcome Your Lack of Motivation

Many people have self-sabotaged themselves so much that they refuse to even consider that they might be the problem. So often, people blame their circumstances or other people for their own lack of inaction. And to be honest, that is just an excuse.

You can’t change your circumstances overnight, and you have no control over other people. The one thing you do have control over is your own thoughts, and therefore actions. Focus on that.

Once you admit it to yourself, it is so much easier to finally change your thoughts and accomplish what you want. To change your thoughts, here are a few tips that have worked well for me:

Give Yourself a Deadline

Some people don’t find deadlines useful but I thrive on deadlines especially when I need to be motivated. When you think about it, you are probably already operating based on deadlines already. Think of when you want to launch your business or start working for yourself. Put that date on the calendar along with other tasks that will help you bring that goal to fruition.

Knowing when I want to accomplish something by just motivates me to plan out my action steps well in advance. That satisfying feeling of accomplishment when you meet a deadline is also priceless.

Break Down a Bigger Task or Responsibility

If some items on your to-do list sound like a massive undertaking, start breaking those tasks down into more manageable chunks. Realize that Rome was not built in a day and you can still meet your goals over time.

If you’re feeling unmotivated due to the size of the task, break it up over a few days so it seems more achievable. This is my go-to method whenever I’m looking for ways to overcome a lack of motivation.

Mantras or Quotes

This kind of sounds silly, but quotes can often be inspiring and a mantra is a great way to remind yourself of who you are when you find your thoughts going haywire. Hold your thoughts captive so you think, and therefore feel, only the thoughts and emotions you want to. You can even develop a mission statement for your new venture to help you be mindful of what your main goal is and why you’re doing this.

Find Your Why

Speaking of knowing why you want to take action, be sure to honest and real about your core why and keep this in mind. Who are you? Why are you here? What is your purpose? Why do you do what you do each day? Finding your why will give you a focus and a basis for your life. If your thoughts aren’t serving your purpose, then they aren’t worth thinking.

Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude can be a great way to improve your overall attitude and highlight some key things you can be thankful for. Just start by jotting down a few things each day that you can be grateful for. As you continue this practice, your mindset will definitely start changing. The key is to shift your focus from the lack to what you do have and use this to spark your level of motivation.

Have you ever been unmotivated to achieve a goal especially when it comes to the daunting idea of starting your own business? How do you deal with lack of motivation so you can still be productive and work toward your goals?