The Lethargy Cycle of Motivational Paralysis


lethargy cycle of motivational paralysysHave you ever been stuck in a motivational rut? It’s the Lethargy Cycle.

Your negative thoughts lead to a lack of action.  Your lack of action contributes to negative thoughts, and reinforces them.

The less you take action, the more you stay stuck.

In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, Dr. David Burns writes about the cycle of motivational paralysis.

The Lethargy Cycle

According to Dr. Burns, lethargy is a cycle:

  • Your self-defeating negative thoughts make you feel miserable.
  • Your painful emotions in turn convince you that you distorted, pessimistic thoughts are actually valid.
  • Similarly, self-defeating thoughts and actions reinforce each other in a circular manner.
  • The unpleasant consequences of do-nothingism make your problems even worse.

Take Action to Break the Lethargy Cycle

According to Dr. Burns, the key to breaking the lethargy cycle is taking action.

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways:

  • Lethargy is a cycle
  • The lethargy cycle feeds itself in a downward spiral
  • You break the lethargy cycle by taking action.

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