Are You in a Midlife Motivation Slump?

Is your midlife motivation meter critically low? 

Picture this:

It’s your 50th birthday. Your coworker’s joke about you “being over the hill” or, even worse, “not buried under it… yet.” 

You smile and laugh along good-naturedly. You don’t want them to think you can’t take a joke, but it stings a little. Truthfully, you feel like your best years are behind you. You feel lonely without the kids and your job is starting to feel repetitive and meaningless.

That’s one possibility.

Now consider an entirely different scenario: 

Your kids are out of the house, so you can plan a last-minute getaway without worrying about school and extracurricular activities. You’ve been working with your boss for YEARS, so she knows that when you say you’ve worked ahead and are on track to finish your next big project on time, she can trust you.

So you do something you’ve always wanted to do you head down to port and snag one of those wild deals on a 7-day cruise. You know the ones—the deals you can only get if you’re willing to drop all your things and go on a dime.

You and your partner spend a lovely seven days together, watching comedy shows onboard, having new experiences when the ship docks, and eating good food. The trip brings you closer and strengthens your relationship.

The truth is how your 50s unfold is up to you, but it might not feel that way, especially if you internalize specious stereotypes about aging. They’re enough to sap anyone’s energy. 

Use this blueprint to enter midlife with new energy and motivation that does not quit:

1 – Accept and Celebrate Midlife Transitions

A midlife motivation slump is NOT inevitable.

Midlife can carry a lot of implications. It can mean no longer viewing ourselves as young and feeling like the best years of our lives are behind us. In other words, there’s a very real sense that it’s “only downhill from here.”

When my clients come to me, they’re often in the throes of midlife transitions. Their children are leaving for college, their friends’ circles are shifting (they no longer hang out with the other parents at their kids’ basketball games), their health isn’t what it once was, and they may even be taking on new or unfamiliar responsibilities, like caring for an aging parent. This series of events can trigger overwhelm and significantly decrease motivation at work or even in our personal lives.


Meet Nora. 

Nora reached out to me days after her 51st birthday. Her adult children rarely picked up their phones, her ailing mother moved in, and it was taking a toll on her marriage; her body just wasn’t tolerating gluten, sugar, and the quick, packaged foods she liked to grab on the go in between meetings. When her company announced a reorg, Nora reached her tipping point. She’d had enough.  

Our work together began with accepting her new normal. Nora wasn’t about to kick her mother out of the house, and she liked the company she worked for. Getting a new job wasn’t in the cards or on Nora’s list of likely midlife transitions. 

We started accepting and working with her current circumstances. Nora began emailing her daughter, who was likelier to shoot off a quick message during the day than get on a phone call. She reflected on her gratitude for having her sick mother safely under her wing, and Nora began scheduling regular date nights with her husband out of the home. 

Further, I encouraged Nora to lean into the truths that kept her moving forward. Nora gathered evidence to support that she had faced similar challenges and always triumphed over them. She re-learned how to live well and thrive in her body after the birth of her two children, post-surgery, and when she was diagnosed with inflammation and joint pain. Plus, her company had undergone several shifts over the years, and she survived them all so far! 

Nora’s problems were rooted in low energy and a lack of acceptance. When we began to turn toward her new midlife transitions, welcome change, and find evidence to support Nora’s resiliency thus far, her energy and motivation shot up fast.

2 – Put It into Perspective

These three words KILL midlife motivation: “It’s too late.”

The truth is YOU HAVE TIME. Julia Child first appeared on a television cooking show when she was 51 years old, Colonel Sanders launched KFC at 62, J.R.R. Tolkien published the first Lord of the Rings novel at age 63, and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad swam from Florida to Cuba when she was 64. 

When it comes to motivation in midlife, it’s never too late, and you don’t have to swim from Florida to Cuba to put things into perspective.

Instead, try shifting your motivations from deficiency motivations to growth motivations. In other words, stop making decisions because you lack money, savings, or time. Start making choices because they make you feel fulfilled and purposeful and give you the sense that you’re moving forward.

Nothing kills motivation in midlife quite like believing it’s too late. Shift your perspective. Know that you have time and—with the kids out of the house and responsibilities changing—it might be the perfect opportunity to do what you’ve always wanted to do. 

3 – Be Present

Being present is a powerful way of creating meaning and drumming new midlife motivation. 

When Carol connected with me, she was stuck. Her motivation was at an all-time low. Generally speaking, motivation in midlife wanes, but Carol was worried. Her ambivalence came on suddenly and unsettled her. Before, Carol always loved her job and even told her friends what a great place it was to work. 

Her work fulfilled and challenged her… until it didn’t. Carol was wondering, “Why now?”, “Is it me?”, and “What’s wrong with me?”

What seemed like a crisis became one of many normal midlife transitions. What finally roused Carol from her midlife motivation slump?

Throughout our work together, I encouraged Carol to be present in her life. At first, Carol was full of regrets, and her worries about the future kept her up at night. When we redirected her attention back to the present moment, Carol fell in love with her work again and began believing it would all workout. 

I encourage my clients to be present by living a whole sensory experience. Take a few moments to breathe and focus on the little details, like the feel of the fabric against your skin and the individual stitches along the hem, smell the freshly brewed coffee in the break room, and hear colleagues’ distant footsteps in the hallway. 

For more support, check out the guided meditations on 100% free apps like Insight Timer or UCLA’s Mindful app

Summoning new motivation in midlife can be as simple as reconnecting with the world around you. Mindfulness practice is a great way to start. 

4 – Take Care of Yourself

To successfully navigate all midlife transitions, there is one thing I can’t stress enough: Take care of yourself. 

Now is the worst possible time to let your health go.

To find new motivation in midlife, focus on what you can control. You can control what you eat, how often you move, and when you go to bed at night. 

  • Eat nutritious whole foods and listen to your body. Start a list. Write down whenever foods trigger an unpleasant response so you can steer clear of them in the future. If one of your favorite foods makes the list, bring it up with your doctor.
  • Find movement you genuinely enjoy doing. If it feels like a chore, there’s a slim chance you’ll keep it up. Remember you’re trying to increase your midlife motivation, not give yourself new challenges. Keep trying new activities until you find one that brings you joy. Try nature walks, gardening, strength training, dance, swimming, cycling, yoga, or water aerobics.
  • Establish a healthy bedtime routine. Ditch your phone 30 minutes to an hour before bed and do something relaxing, like taking a bath with a lavender mask. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. This helps train your brain to fall asleep more quickly and promotes better quality sleep.

When you have your health and energy, your whole life improves. Combat the age-old midlife motivation slump by prioritizing your physical well-being.

5 – Learn 

Most crucially, always keep learning. Ph.D. Chris Dionigi says, “At every stage of life, you should be a rookie at something.”

Dionigi started comedy improv classes and volunteered as an auxiliary law enforcement officer in his early 50s. 

Take a page from his book and use this phase in life to pick up a new skill—learn sewing, crocheting, gardening, painting, calligraphy, or photography. Take classes online, attend workshops, and go to university lectures. Pick a new subject to learn about, play word games, or do puzzles. 

A severe drop in motivation is NOT “just part of growing older.” We have the means and agency to choose what we invite into our lives. Invite acceptance, perspective, and presence. Spend your 50s leaning into your health and commit to becoming a lifelong learner.  Unable to get motivated no matter what you do? Let’s hop on a clarity call! My program, Design Your Dream Life, may be just what you need to shake things up and recapture your lost motivation.

Free Career Clarity Consult

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With my complimentary career clarity consult, you’ll have the opportunity to have your career questions answered as well as learn some of the best strategies to winning in the career game from someone who’s been in your shoes. We’ll cover what you want to achieve and point you in the proper direction if you are feeling stuck and unsure what to do. Because I hold these complimentary calls personally, space is limited. Click below to apply.

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