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Maybe your parents were right, and you are just lazy.
Not what you wanted to hear, right?
After all, what other reason could there be for your inability to accomplish your goals?
You start the year off with a list of things you want to do – there’s a new hobby that has caught your eye, or perhaps you want to transition your career in a new direction.
After a few short weeks, though, you’ve lost interest.
According to a recent study, nearly two-thirds of people give up on their goals within the first month. Another study of 2,000 people showed that almost 75% of the respondents felt they tended to give up too easily.
Are we all just a bunch of lazy people unable to achieve goals or sustain interest?
It’s not quite that simple.
After all, a species where 75% of its population has such a poor completion rate is not likely to survive, much less accomplish all that humanity has accomplished.
So, what could possibly be the reason you’re struggling to maintain interest?
15 Reasons Why You Lose Interest In Things
1. The goal is too big/daunting/far away.
Your goal is just too big and thinking about it makes you feel inadequate. In fact, just thinking about each small step necessary makes you feel overwhelmed.
Sure, other people have accomplished it before, but they probably had a leg up or some kind of special skill or something. There’s no way a regular person like yourself could ever accomplish such a feat.
Though achieving the goal would be awesome, accomplishing it is beyond your scope of imagination. It’s less a goal and more like a dream at this point.
2. You’ve lost sight of the big picture.
Why were you doing what you were doing? You’ve lost sight of the big picture and can’t remember. It’s not like you’re suffering from amnesia or something. You simply became too caught up in the process, and you’re unable to remember your ‘why.’
Staying motivated can be a difficult task when you’re focusing on day-to-day activities. When you forget your goal was to become proficient at playing the guitar, it’s hard to practice every day.
3. Life happens.
Does it ever seem like life is conspiring against you to stop you from pursuing your goals or enjoying your hobbies? It’s like one emergency, obligation, or issue comes right after another. You barely have a minute to yourself as life keeps on happening in quick succession.
Before you know it, you’ve ignored your goal or hobby for so long the only evidence you were ever interested in it is when you stumble on the unused equipment you bought at the outset.
4. You struggle to form the necessary habits.
Learning something new or breaking bad habits requires a new set of habits that keeps you focused until you reach your goal. If you cannot self-govern, you’re not likely to hit your goal or any goal for that matter.
Discipline is required to change our behavior. Let’s say you want to run a marathon at the end of the year. That requires not only physical endurance but discipline and commitment for you to put in the hours of preparation time needed to run long distances.
We often lose interest because we realize the cost of our goal is much higher than we want to pay. You might want to run a marathon but aren’t willing to wake up by 5:30 AM, five to six days a week to go for a run to do it.
Your habits will determine whether you can stick with something for a long period.
5. You have poor time management skills.
We all have 24 hours in a day. But not all of us manage that time effectively. At the end of the day, have you ever wondered where all the time went? Have you ever lost a whole day in front of the television or on social media?
It’s not that you don’t have enough time in the day to commit to your new goal or skill, it’s that you waste a large portion of your day on unproductive activities. Ultimately, what you spend your time on shows what you truly value.
6. You expect your emotions to keep you motivated.
Part of the reason you enjoy your hobbies so much is that it’s fun. But expecting every minute of it to be full of excitement and pleasure is unrealistic. Every activity has an aspect of it that’s just not so wonderful.
Think about it. What activity do you do that you enjoy every single minute of it? There is likely something about it you don’t really like.
Our minds can be easily distracted. When we’re doing something that is not as fun as we would like, we tend to lose interest and move on to other things. The thought of crossing the finish line of a marathon with friends and family cheering you on might sound like a lot of fun. But the miles spent building up endurance by yourself in the heat, cold, and rain to run a marathon isn’t.
Your emotions will eventually fail you and aren’t enough to help you stay motivated.
7. Things are often harder than they look.
Anything worth having or doing will require some effort on your part. Knitting a beautiful, chunky blanket for frosty nights might seem like a simple enough hobby to start, but it requires a lot of patience and many hours to complete. You haven’t felt disappointment until you’ve felt the disappointment of realizing that you lost a stitch a few rows back.
Some hobbies give a false impression of being easy. At least it does for the newbies who have never tried it before. It’s only after you’ve gotten into the activity that you fully grasp the complexity involved.
Dancing may sound easy. After all, what else is required besides shaking your body to the rhythm of the music? But those of us who have two left feet can assure you that dancing is much harder than it looks.
Underestimating how hard a skill is to learn or how difficult a hobby is will drain your enthusiasm quicker than you think.
8. You strive for perfection.
For whatever reason, some of us believe we’re geniuses and should automatically be good at any activity we try. If we suck at it on our first few tries, we abandon it immediately. We hate looking less than perfect.
For example, you’ve been trying to learn how to play the guitar for a while, but because you don’t have the natural ability of Jimi Hendrix, you give up on it.
The struggle for perfection is sapping your enjoyment of the activity. You are not giving yourself room to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes.
9. You’re not committed for the long haul.
Logically, we know learning a new skill or changing a habit will take a lot of time. It took you a long time to put on the extra weight, so it will take a long time to lose it.
Learning how to play the guitar will take a few months (if not years), but daily practice for that same period is hard to commit to.
While we may think we’re committed to our goals and/or hobbies, when it comes down to being committed to the hard work that is required, we’re not. At least we’re not committed to the hard work for the long haul.
10. You underestimate the effort required.
Have you ever tried ice skating? It looks effortless, doesn’t it? Even children do it, so how hard could it actually be? If you ask someone who has tried to ice skate and fallen repeatedly, you’ll find out that ice skating isn’t as easy as it looks.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” That holds true for activities we are trying to learn as well. Even babies struggle when they’re learning how to walk. There is nothing you want to do, have, or learn that will not require some effort from you.
11. You’re exhausted.
You have a lot on your plate and are physically and mentally tired. Between work, play, school, and life, you have little energy left over for anything else. You barely have any time to think, let alone take up another activity.
Though you would love to achieve your goal, you just don’t have the time or energy to do so. You’re already running on empty. There’s nothing more left for you to give.
12. You are afraid.
We’re all afraid of something. Some fears are so deeply rooted we don’t even know they’re there. We don’t realize we’re self-sabotaging our success because of hidden fear.
For example, you really, really want to travel. It will take a lot of saving and planning, which you’re ready to do at work and home. But you put off booking your flight, delay taking time off, and spend the money for the trip on another “emergency.”
Something keeps getting in the way of you taking the trip you’ve always dreamed of. Something is holding you back.
That something you’re unable to define or describe is most likely fear. You think you will fail, so you don’t try. You’re worried your success will change you, so you sabotage yourself.
Your fears are the reason you’re unable to maintain interest.
13. You’ve overanalyzed/over-prepared.
You’ve thought a lot about your goal, researched it, watched videos. For every risk associated with your interest or goal, you’ve evaluated and thought about it twice.
In fact, you’ve analyzed it so much that when discussing it with others, they think you’re some sort of expert on the subject.
The problem now is you’re over-prepared, where you have so much information you can’t decide. Or you’re stuck in a state of perpetual training.
As you finish one training, you see another area you need to learn more about. So you sign up for another program. You’ve convinced yourself that you’ll get started once you know enough.
The problem is you’ll never know enough for you to feel comfortable taking the leap. You are trapped in analysis paralysis, where you cannot decide because of overthinking.
14. You’re doing too much.
You’ve got a lot going on. There are so many things you want to do, and you want to do it all at the same time. You’re trying to overhaul your entire life all at once. Instead of taking it one step at a time, you want to lose weight, start a new hobby, start a business, save money, run a marathon, and start baking all at once.
While there is nothing wrong with any of your goals or hobbies. Trying to start everything at once is essentially setting yourself up for failure. Don’t forget that you still have your other life responsibilities to worry about.
With so many things to do, you are sure to work yourself into exhaustion where you can’t physically keep up with everything.
15. You feel unworthy of the end goal.
You know it’s possible. Maybe you’ve even seen other people do it. Deep down inside, though, you don’t believe you can do it. You don’t believe you’re pretty enough, smart enough, have enough resources, or whatever to achieve your goal.
So, while you think it would be awesome to go back to school, start exercising, or learn how to play the guitar, you ultimately believe you’ll fail at it.
Deep down you don’t believe you deserve better than what you’ve got.
How To Stop Losing Interest: 10 Highly Effective Tips
Since you now have a better understanding of why you give up so easily, let’s learn some tips to stop losing interest and begin sticking with your goals or hobbies.
1. Be sure you really want it.
It might be nice to run a marathon. It takes a lot of mental and physical stamina to finish it. Some people spend months preparing for it. They change their eating habits and wake up early, all to run 3 to 5 hours at the end of their training. It’s a commendable undertaking.
But that doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon. Just because something seems nice doesn’t mean you have to do it. Review your goals and/or hobbies. Ask yourself if you are really interested in completing them.
Maybe you’ve been struggling to lose weight for years. Initially, you go all out and overhaul your eating habits and exercise routine only to eventually give up. Since this pattern has been on repeat for a long time, you need to examine why you want to lose weight in the first place. Do you truly want to lose weight, or do you feel pressure from others to lose weight?
Examine the ‘why’ behind your goal. If your ‘why’ is strong enough, it won’t be difficult for you to maintain interest and motivation.
2. Break big goals into smaller goals.
Big goals are overwhelming, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before.
Let’s say you want to travel to Puerto Rico but have lived in the same small town all of your life. The thought of traveling outside of your small town will be scary.
Instead of letting a trip to Puerto Rico intimidate you, break the big goal into smaller ones that you can more easily accomplish. For example:
- Find a travel agent
- Get a price estimate for the trip
- Book your vacation days
- Plan how you’ll save for the trip
- Get your passport
- Get a visa
Tackle your bigger goal by breaking it down into one step at a time. If possible, break the small goals into even smaller goals that you can work on daily. By working on your goal every day, you keep your mind focused on it, and it helps you to stay motivated.
As you cross each small goal off your list, remember to celebrate. Hitting small goals may not seem like much to someone else, but you’re changing your life one step at a time. You’re much closer than you were before you started.
3. Focus on the end goal.
Write your goals down and put them where you can see them every day. Put together a vision board of your goals. Focus on the emotional reward you’ll get from achieving your goal. Think about how happy you’ll be when you finally do what you’ve been wanting to do all this time.
If your goal is to finish your undergraduate degree, think about how proud you (and your loved ones) will be when you walk across the stage for graduation. Your name will be called out, the audience will clap as you walk across the stage, you’ll shake hands with the college president (or the designated official), and you will collect your degree cover in your cap and gown.
When you face an obstacle to your goal and want to give up, focus on the reward. Think about what you’ll get by overcoming all the challenges and ultimately achieving your goal.
4. Schedule it.
If you’ve broken your big goal into smaller, daily goals, schedule it into your day. Luckily, most goals don’t require more than a few minutes of work every day. For people with really busy schedules, squeezing just 15 – 30 minutes out shouldn’t be too much of a struggle.
Put that small chunk of time into your calendar and set reminders.
Make sure you treat it as a sacred time for you to focus on your goal. So the phones are off, no meetings scheduled during that period, no distractions, nothing. That time is set aside for you to work on your goal/hobbies.
5. Get support.
Let’s face it, life is just easier when you have some sort of support. Humans are not very good at working in isolation. We’re better in a group.
For whatever you’re trying to achieve, find an accountability group, a workout buddy, or a mentor. Find somebody that will keep you accountable and focused on your goal.
A support system will help you see the big picture when you’ve lost sight of it amidst the daily grind. They’ll remind you of the reason you’re doing what you’re doing. When you are ready to give up, they can be a source of motivation.
You can get a friend to act as your support. Or better yet, join a free or a paid group. Maybe the fear of disappointing a complete stranger will help you stay motivated.
6. Take an intro class.
An intro class will not only teach you the fundamentals of the craft or activity you are delving into, but it will also introduce you to people who have similar interests. With a short class, you have a new network of people that you can rely on to act as your support group.
If your goal is to pivot into an alternative career path, an intro class or certification course could introduce you to people who could be instrumental to you finding a new job.
If your goal is to travel to Spain, for example, taking an intro Spanish class could introduce you to some people who would be interested in joining you for your solo trip.
One of the best things about in-person training programs or classes is the networking opportunities.
7. Force yourself to do the work.
We’re generally too hard on ourselves. But every once in awhile, we’re entirely too quick to let ourselves off the hook. When it comes to doing hard work, especially work we don’t want to do, we’re often too quick to avoid it and let ourselves off the hook.
Sometimes you’ve got to put on your ‘big boy pants’ and just do it. You have to force yourself to wake up early, practice, go running, or do what scares you. There’s no hack or shortcut to doing the hard work required.
So, stop making excuses. Don’t accept any excuse for avoiding hard work. Force yourself to do the work you don’t feel like doing but know you should be doing.
8. Seek inspiration.
Inspiration and motivation are not bottomless pits. They need to be replenished regularly. Find sources of inspiration when your motivation is high, so you can refer to them when you’re feeling lazy.
A source of inspiration could be motivational speeches by prominent figures who have accomplished a lot in their lives. It could be a playlist that gets you revved up and excited. It could be having a discussion with someone who has done what you’re looking to do.
Your source of inspiration could be literally anything.
If you’ve lost motivation with exercising, trying a new fitness class or a boot camp, watching fitness videos, or getting a personal trainer could be the breath of fresh air you need to stay committed.
If you’ve lost motivation at work, doing more challenging tasks, reading industry-specific articles, and watching videos that inspire your creative spark could regenerate interest in your field.
The key is remembering that inspiration needs to be replenished. If you’re lacking motivation or interest, look for ways to seek inspiration.
9. Check your progress regularly.
Failing to track your goals is the easiest way to fall off track. With regular progress checks, you can monitor your improvement.
When you have a long-term goal, maintaining interest throughout the entire process is difficult. But when you do regular progress checks, you can see how far you’ve come in relation to where you started. Once you see genuine progress, it’ll be easier to maintain interest and focus.
Have you ever lost a ton of weight before? Getting started is often the hardest part. But once you see some actual weight loss, exercising and staying on your diet becomes infinitely easier.
10. Set up a punishment and reward system.
Who enjoys waking up early, say at 5 AM, to get ready for work? Almost no one. If you don’t have a reason to wake up early, why do it? But if we have to go to work and need to wake up at 5 AM to get there on time, we’ll wake up. It boils down to a simple punishment and reward system.
If you don’t go to work on time, you get fired. If you go to work on time, you get to keep your job and continue getting paid. So when your alarm goes off at 5 AM, though you may grumble and complain, you get out of bed and start getting ready.
To help you reach your goals, set up a punishment and reward system. Decide the punishment/reward ahead of time and make sure they are effective enough to encourage you to do what is needed.
Plan for the failures and the successes. When you know what is at stake, day by day, you’ll be more likely to stay the course.
Zig Ziglar once said, “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Human beings, as creatures of habit, need a huge amount of motivation to change their routines and patterns. When it comes down to it, what you’re trying to do is change your routine. You need a lot of motivation, inspiration, and tenacity to change and focus on staying motivated daily.
Still not sure how to stop losing interest in things? Speak to a life coach today who can walk you through the process of sticking to something in the long term. Simply click here to connect with one.
You may also like:
- 10 No Bullsh*t Ways To Be Consistent In Your Life
- Discipline: The Only Bulletproof Method Of Getting Things Done
- 8 Effective Ways To Finish What You Start If You Can’t Finish Anything
- How To Stop Being Lazy: 24 Tips That Actually Work!
- Free Printable Goal Setting Worksheet + Habit Tracker Template