May 12, 2020

Feeling Unmotivated? Do THIS to Keep Making Forward Progress

Feeling Unmotivated? Do THIS to Keep Making Forward Progress

Courtney Elmer, host of The Systems Made Simple™ Podcast shares the reasons why we may have no motivation to work. She reveals simple tips we can use to make progress when we're feeling unmotivated.

Have you ever struggled to figure out how to get motivated at work, or in any area of your life? 

Most industry “experts” claim that all you need to do when you’re feeling unmotivated is to be more disciplined and take more action, but they’re wrong. 

Being more disciplined doesn’t help you understand why motivation disappears in the first place, and once you know how to overcome a lack of motivation at work or in any area of your life, it’ll never be a hindrance to you hitting your goals again.


  • The major mistake that keeps you feeling unmotivated, stuck, and struggling

  • Why motivation seems to vanish into thin air (and how to get it back)

  • The one powerful inner shift that will help you stop feeling unmotivated and start seeing results that stick

  • The surprising cause of lack of motivation at work, and the secret truth about motivation that even smart entrepreneurs don’t understand, so you can stay on your game no matter what challenges come your way.

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.





Ready to learn how to create, launch, and leverage your message into a top-ranked podcast of your own? ENROLL NOW in our brand new short course: How to Start a Profitable Podcast and get $50 OFF right now with code SAVE50! Guaranteed to shorten the learning curve and save you hundreds of hours of headache, trial, and error.

Making Interviews Better: Guestio is the world's only marketplace to find professional guests and platforms —  CLICK HERE to let Guestio know we sent you!


Some product links on this site are affiliate links, which means we may earn a nickel or two for any affiliate purchases you make (at no additional cost to you). We only recommend products that we use and/or personally trust, so you can browse with confidence.

© Copyright 2022 | The EffortLESS Life®


You’re Listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode #17 which is all about how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated.

In today’s episode I’m sharing the surprising truth about motivation, that even smart entrepreneurs don't understand, so YOU can stay ahead of the game and know exactly how to get -- and stay -- motivated, no matter what challenges come your way. 

You’re about to learn: 

  • The major motivation mistake that keeps you feeling lost, stuck, and struggling
  • Why motivation sometimes seems to vanish into thin air (and how to get it back)
  • The one powerful shift you need to make to harness the power of your inner motivation so you can continually reach the next level in your life and business even when you don’t feel motivated!!

You ready? Let’s dive in to discuss how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated and get motivated in general. 


Welcome to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast! Today’s topic is one that not many people out there are talking about, which makes it even MORE important that you’re listening to this and learning with me today because what you’re about to discover is powerful, and when you apply it, it can literally change the course of your life and business and give you a massive leg up on your competition. It’s all about how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated.

But before we jump in, I’ve gotta give a shout out to our featured listener of the week: Tiffany @tntdivalution Tiffanie says: OMG! Courtney and her podcast entered my life just when I needed her most. Her energy is contagious and it spills out of this show. Entrepreneurship can get lonely, and girl you bring BOLD effervescence that casts out all the darkness. Thank you for being a shining light. Thank you for teaching how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated.  Just hurry up and make more episodes!! 

Tiffany, thank you SO much for these kind words, and if you would do us a favor and DM us over on IG to let us know your best shipping address, we have a little something to drop in the mail to you as our way of saying thank you for being one of our loyal listeners. And remember! When you leave us a 5-star review we might just feature YOU as our listener of the week and give you a shout out too, right here on the show!

Let me ask you something: Have you ever struggled with staying motivated? Have you thought about how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated?

You create these elaborate plans and set big goals. You start off strong, but then 6am rolls around and suddenly you don’t feel like doing that workout you promised yourself you would do. “I’ll just do it tomorrow,” you tell yourself, rationalizing all the reasons you should stay in bed and catch up on sleep. 

But then tomorrow becomes this weekend… which rolls into next week… which rolls into this elusive place called “one day” where 99% of all human productivity is stored. 

Can you relate? Let me just say: you are SO not alone when it comes to how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated.

In fact, this exact scenario has played out in my own life more often than I’d like to admit! I can sit here and tell you a million stories about the workouts that I’ve missed bc I started the week with the best of intentions, but life happened and my workout that I wanted to do on Monday got pushed from one day to the next, until I said “oh I’ll just get back on track NEXT Monday”. 

You probably can relate to that one or how to get motivated at work. 

Look, life comes with a lot of learning curves. And if you’re in business for yourself, then you really know ALL too well what I’m talking about, because you don’t have anyone holding you accountable but you. It’s hard to learn how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated.

All those things you SAY you want to do, that keep getting pushed to the back burner. What’s the deal?! Why does this happen? What is the tip to learn how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated?

Well, what you’re going to find out in a few moments is something very few high-achievers know about, and when you take this and start applying it, you’re going to be amazed at how EASY it becomes to get and stay motivated.

Maybe you’ve heard that saying: some people watch it happen, some people make it happen, and some people say what happened? We all know that it doesn’t matter how good your intentions are, you can’t reach the next level just wishing for it. There’s gotta be some action to back it up, and the key is making sure it’s the RIGHT action to get you where you want to go. 

We want to make sure you’re falling into the make it happen category -- not just sitting there and watching your life pass you by, or waking up one day and wondering, how did I get here? 

See, too many industry “experts” claim that all you need to stay motivated and take action no matter what comes your way is to… 

  • be more disciplined! 
  • commit to the journey 
  • be harder on yourself
  • go easier on yourself / give yourself grace
  • (blah blah blah)


And guess what? THEY’RE WRONG. Why? Because none of these “solutions” get to the root of what’s really going on or helps you understand why motivation has this uncanny ability to disappear in the first place. None address how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated.

Yet once you understand how motivation really works, that’s when you start seeing results that STICK. It’s not as complicated or mysterious as you think. 

Ok so the first thing you need to understand about motivation, is that there are actually TWO ways to be motivated:  Toward (positive) – the things you want and desire, and  Away from (negative) – the things you “don’t want”. 

When you’re focused toward what you want, it’s called positive motivation, when you’re focused away from what you want, it’s called negative motivation. You with me? 

Ok so I want you to write this down or make a note to come back to this if you’re not somewhere you can safely write it down: the more toward-focused you are, the more motivated you become. The more motivated you become, the more rewarding your goals will feel when you hit them. 

However, "away from" or negative motivation always will always give you an inconsistent result! That’s because if you’re focused on the thing you don’t want, your motivation will decrease – because the closer you get to your goal, the further away you get from the thing that is motivating you. 

This is why you’ll always wind up back at the same place if you only use away-from motivation -- if you’re only focused on the things you DON’T want as your motivators. I’m going to give you an example of this in just a minute to really help you wrap your brain around this concept.

Yet when you understand what’s going on with motivation, you can use it to help you.

Ok so there’s two pieces to this. First things first: here on the show you’ve heard me talk before about your unconscious mind. It’s the most powerful tool in your possession. We’re not going to get real deep into that toDAY, all you really need to understand is that you unconscious mind doesn’t process negative language. Negatives are words like “don’t” “won’t” “can’t”, even “but” -- all of these words are an extra hoop for your brain to jump through. 


When I think back to the birthday sleepover parties I used to go to as a girl, there would ALWAYS be someone who’d shout out, “OK guys, I’m putting on my pajamas, don’t look!” and what would everyone do? LOOK! 

Why? Because your brain has to do the thing you’re telling it not to do, in order not to do it. 

Let me say that again. Your brain has to do the thing you’re telling it NOT to do, in order not to do it. 

This works really well with kids too. If you are constantly telling your kids don’t do this, don’t do that, it will be harder for them to listen, because their little brains are trying to process what you’re telling them, and they’re going to be more inclined to DO the thing you’re telling them not to do, before they can not do it. 

So here’s something to really pay attention to, if you have kids, next time you go to discipline them or correct them, tell them what you DO want them to do instead. 

I’ve literally trained my family members on how to do this with my son AJ, and we’re really mindful of it in our house because it makes SUCH a huge difference. I’ve never seen a toddler listen as well as my son does, and I don’t say that to brag I say it as proof that this works. 

Instead of saying “don’t color on the wall” tell them what you DO want, to “color on paper” for example. 

Ok so now that we’ve established this, in order to communicate as CLEARLY as possible to your brain, both on a conscious AND an unconscious level, you need to eliminate the extra ‘hoop.’ eliminate the negative language and just say it how you WANT IT. 

Instead of “don’t look” say “look the other way”. 


See, here’s the big mistake so many high-achievers make: without realizing it, they’re constantly focusing on the things they don’t want to happen, the results they don’t have yet, the reasons/excuses for why they can or can’t do something.

Most of them are saying things like I can’t do that because… I don’t have the money or I don’t have the expertise. Or, I won’t be able to hit this goal because xyz reason. Or, I don’t want to lose money on this or waste time, so therefore I have to do it all myself because it’s faster, or whatever story they’re telling themselves that, unknowingly, is causing them to stay stuck and hinders how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated.

So the FIRST step in all this, before we can even get to the motivation piece, is that I want you to start paying attention to the words that come out of your mouth and the negative language you might be using. It helps to have your SO or someone who’s with you a lot (kids are really good at this) to call you out when they hear you say things like I can’t, or I don’t, or I wont. 

Listen to the following statements and questions and see if you can feel a shift in energy: 

  • How can I vs. I can’t, because…
  • What do I want vs. I don’t want…
  • What am I able to vs. I won’t be able to

Can you see how shifting just this subtle way we speak we can start to shift our focus, and

Therefore consciously shift our energy? This is the first piece. 

And now, we’re going to plug this into the context of motivation, of being either POSITIVELY motivated, focused on the thing you WANT, or negatively motivated, or focused on the thing you DON’T WANT.

Let me give you a really easy example to wrap your mind around -- and if you want a visual of this, there’s a video up on my Facebook page where you can actually see me demonstrate what i’m about to walk you through. I’m so visual that this really helps me -- I demo this at my live events and Retreats too and it’s really helpful. 

Ok so let’s say, you want to lose a few pounds. Whether it’s 2 or 20 or 200. In any case, what do most people do? They start off by focusing on what they DON’T want. 

They don’t like the way they look in pictures, they don’t like feeling tired all the time, or having low energy all the time, they don’t like feeling a lack of confidence when they look in the mirror.

So picture this, if your focus is on the things you don’t want, and let’s say those things were physically present in the room with you right now, you’re turned toward them, right? You’re focused on them. You are looking at them. Guess what? That means your back is turned away from the things you DO want. You can’t see them. They’re literally not in your line of sight. 

So using this example, someone who sets some weight loss goals using the things they DON’T want or don’t like as motivation, they’ll start off strong, but eventually that motivation will start to wane. They’re excited at the get-go though, they’re really motivated, they don’t want to look/feel this way anymore. 

So they start eating better, maybe they hire a nutritionist, start going to the gym a few times a week, and they start to see some progress. And at first, it’s encouraging. But the further along they get, the more pounds they lose, they actually get FURTHER AWAY from the thing that’s motivating them in the first place. The closer they get to their goal, the further away away from their MOTIVATOR. 

Maybe you’ve had an experience of this. I know I have! We call it that plateau, where you feel like you’re stuck, you feel like you’re not making progress. So using this example, they hit that plateau, the weight stops coming off, and they start to say things to themselves like “oh well, if I’m not making any progress what’s the point? it’s such hard work to try to lose this weight, if these extra 5 lbs aren’t going to budge, I may as well have another glass of wine or order the dessert.”  

And what happens? Slowly the weight starts to creep back on, a little at a time, not really noticeable until eventually, they wind up right back where they started. They look in the mirror and don’t like what they see. They don’t feel confident or comfortable in their skin, so they say to themselves, I’ve gotta do something to lose this weight! And they start all over again back to square one, and the cycle just continues. Once again they’re 2 or 20 or 200 lbs heavier and suddenly, they feel motivated to lose that weight as fast as possible. Their motivation is suddenly back, they feel this drive to start eating well again and get in the gym and detox or whatever. 

I hope that by listening to me explain this you can get a mental picture of what’s actually going on here under the surface when it comes to motivation. Like I said, if you’re really visual or f you just want to see a visual of this, go check out the video that’s up on my Facebook page where you can actually see me demonstrate this for you.


So, this is the cycle most people stay stuck in. Now YOU know that what’s actually happened is that by using the things you don’t want as your motivators, you’ve simply gotten so far away from the thing or things that were motivating you, in order to feel motivated again, you have to get closer to the thing that’s motivating you. So it produces inconsistent results. 

This is why motivation inevitably, when you stay focused on what you don’t want and use that as your motivation, your motivation will start to wane and you’ll wind up right back where you started. This is not how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated.

And now that YOU know how motivation works, you can use it to your advantage. This is where all this gets really exciting. Now you know that when you feel that motivation starts to wane, you can shift your focus and energy toward what you want. 

Using this same example, let’s say you start off feeling motivated by wanting to lose a few pounds because you don’t like x y or z. That’s fine. It’s usually easier to identify what you don’t want vs what you do want, at least in the beginning. 

But then, when you do feel your motivation start to dip, you can redirect your energy and ask yourself: What DO I want. What’s losing this weight going to do for me? What will it mean for me personally when this happens? Get clear on that. Maybe it’s because you want to have more energy to be present with your kids. Maybe you want to look in the mirror and feel AMAZING and more confident than ever. Maybe you want to start training for that marathon and this is the first step. Maybe you simply want to cultivate a deeper trust with your body and trust that it knows what it’s doing, and it always works FOR you. Maybe there’s an outfit you loved from years ago you want to wear again. 

Whatever those things are, focusing on the things you DO want will keep you moving in the direction of your goal as you go.

This is what’s going to keep pulling you forward, toward your goal, throughout the process.

And guess what? You’ll feel more inspired! You’ll feel motivated! You’ll stay motivated because you’ll see you’re getting closer to the thing you want! 

This is the secret most people aren’t doing because they don't even know about it. Shifting their focus literally from using the things they don’t want as motivation, to using the things they DO want as motivation. 

When you SHIFT from the negative to the positive, you literally remove that hoop for your brain to jump through, and say ok, instead of focusing on what I don’t want, ask yourself what DO I want, you’re going to notice that you’ll be able to STAY motivated, even when the going gets tough. 

And guys I use this weight loss scenario just as an example because it's so easy to wrap our brains around, but this goes for ANY goal you’re setting for yourself. 

Most of us are naturally away-motivated. So start there. Then, when you feel yourself slipping and you’re just not feeling as motivated as you did when you first started out, that’s your cue. That’s when you need to shift your focus TOWARD what you want so that you can stay consistent and keep making progress. 

It’s really that simple. The secret to staying motivated, even when you don’t feel like it, is to simply stay focused on what you DO want, instead of on the things you don’t want, or don’t have. 

Does that make sense? If there’s a lightbulb that just went off in your head, I want to hear about it -- whether it’s how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated or anything else. Follow us on Instagram and tell us your biggest takeaway from this episode.

Because when you understand what’s going on with motivation, you can use it to help you keep going and moving that needle and making forward progress, no matter what. 

We covered the major motivation mistake that keeps you feeling lost, stuck, and struggling -- which is focusing on the negative and giving your brain extra hoops to jump through, and that’s also the reason why motivation sometimes seems to vanish into thin air. And now you know what to do to get it back: simply shift your focus onto the thing you DO want and use that as your motivation, so you can continually reach the next level in your life and business. You will learn how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated.

Topics like these light me up and get me excited because it's the stuff that most business gurus out there AREN’T teaching you. They might touch on some mindset stuff, but fail to give you practical strategies to implement. Or maybe it’s the opposite, they’re focused on giving you all these how-to’s and strategies but failing to give you the mindset shifts you need to keep knocking down the walls of those things that unknowingly, in your mind, have been holding you back.

That’s why I give you both. Because in order to reach the next level in revenue and exposure and find TRUE success in all areas of your life without burning yourself out, you have to be willing to do the only work that matters. The inner work. Transformation happens from the inside out. 

So I hope this was helpful to you. Thanks for joining me today to learn how to get motivated at work if you’re feeling unmotivated. I'll see you back here next time on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast — until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®.