What to do when motivation leaves the building!

Making change is a mainstay of conversation in coaching. It’s what the process is about. Self development is change. Doing things differently to get different (better) results.

The reason people choose to work with a coach when it comes to change is because;

  • they have attempted to make the change and hit a road block,
  • they haven’t started because they don’t know where to or how to,
  • or they don’t like what is but don’t know what they want instead.

All my clients fall into one of these categories. Whether it’s an MD wanting more focus, a 13-year-old wanting to not feel anxious or a working mum wondering how to get clarity on her life and get motivated.

Which camp do you fall into?

The latter (mum or not) is the most common. They know the change they want, may even have taken a few steps but… lack of motivation creeps in and they come to a grinding halt.

Can you relate?

I am frequently asked, “How do I get motivated?”

There’s no fun answer. If you want to short cut the rest of the blog, then it’s Nike’s brand statement ‘just do it’.

“But it’s not that easy otherwise I would be doing it!”

Yes I know. (Told you it wouldn’t be a fun answer).

The problem is that you are waiting for motivation to strike! And we have no idea when it will. Hours, days, weeks, months, years could go by whilst you wait for mythical motivation to show up.

Are you OK with that?

Knowing that it might show up, you’re just not sure when?

How long are you willing to wait?

The key with motivation is bypassing it! And following that Nike statement one small step at a time.

In a coaching conversation a client shared their dream, to complete their book and have it published. Not an outrageous dream. They had completed the first draft but had subsequently lost motivation.

How careless 😉

Our conversation looped around the plan and that elusive ‘M’ beast – where was it and how to wake it up again.

What became evident (as so often is the case) is that motivation hadn’t gone AWOL, it had in fact been replaced by excuses. Lots of them.

Some call them justifications, reasons, defences. It doesn’t matter. They are excuses.

This is NOT isolated to this client. I hear all sorts of excuses disguised as “I’ve just lost the motivation.” Both professionally and personally. I’ve hit the snooze button on more than one occasion both metaphorically and literally, so there is no judgement from me!

Unfortunately we often don’t see it for ourselves. Or if we do, we chastise ourselves for it, which demotivates us even more.

Our challenge is that we often make great promises to ourselves when we are in high spirits and a great mindset or at the other extreme, when we have hit rock bottom and are in a low mindset.

I posted the above quote on social media over the weekend and boy did it seem to hit a nerve for people.

Listening to the excuses, giving them our attention, means they have all our energy. That’s one of the reasons we don’t feel motivated. And we need to challenge this habit, create a new one that is helpful and supportive, rather than sticking with one which ultimately is destructive.

These habits are automatic, so I get that they are not easy to change. But it is possible, and that is what needs your attention… possibility.

So what can you do?

Well, you can watch this. It’s part of the confidence conversation Facebook live series and I talk about change and how to make it.

You also need to be honest. Often clients either have HUGE expectations that are just not realistic with their current commitments, or they swing to the other extreme and underestimate themselves. So be honest.

The two main excuses I hear for making change is time and money, or more specifically the lack of.

Yet I am sure if a loved one was held hostage and a ransom demand was made of a million pounds, you would find the time to raise that money. That’s where challenging these excuses comes in handy.


There are very few people who truly do not have the time to make change. The majority of us can at least find 5 minutes to start making that change. And if you can’t find 5 minutes then your lifestyle could really do with being looked at. 5 minutes may not sound like much but believe me, I spent weeks doing a 5-minute daily exercise routine and it truly made a difference!

If you are not sure where you can find that time, and the challenge usually comes in for busy parents, do a time audit. Be clear on where you are spending your time. And we do, spend it, just like money. Only money we can make back again. We waste time (just like we do money) on TV, social media, games and other unhelpful things. Yes, we need down time, but what’s more important at this moment: what you want to change or ‘down time’?

Our thinking mind will throw those excuses and justifications at you. Along with the promises of ‘tomorrow’ but you need to get yourself in the driving seat and ‘just do it’. 5 minutes daily could be all it takes.


If you haven’t got the money to make the change that you want, how can you get it? Are you saving or are you treating yourself to another latte? Are you looking for other opportunities to create and understand the finances in your life?

Ultimately, if money is blocking you, you need to work on your relationship with money. Get friends with it. Know the basic amount you require and start saving the rest.

In other words, stop listening to those excuses!

Both of these obstacles come up time and time again with clients and what amazes me, and again no judgement, is that how they originally describe it is not the reality of how it is.

Clients have left with homework to look at the reality of their money situation and regardless of what it says on the balance sheet, each have come back with clarity… and motivation to make the change.

Or maybe as with the aforementioned client, they are tasked with looking at time and making some subtle changes. I had an email from them last week, the excitement was palpable. Funnily enough their motivation was back and they were making great progress.

When excuses are challenged you will see that they can be uprooted, and once they are out of the way, motivation can spread her wings and fly!

So what excuse is coming to mind now…

“It’s ok for her.”

“It’ll never work for me.”

Are these going to help you make the change you want? Do they motivate you? No? Then find another more helpful thought to give your attention to and then another, then another, then another…