The best way to tackle lack of motivation isn't to ask for advice, but to give it. That's the intriguing conclusion of a new article by psychologists Lauren Eskreis-Winkler and Ayelet Fishbach, which was based on a simple but powerful insight. Most times, when people don't do what they should do, it's not from lack of information. People don't keep smoking, after all, because they don't know cigarettes will kill them. Nor do you fail to begin that big project because you forgot the looming deadline.
Instead, the problem usually boils down to confidence. For one reason or another, people don't believe they'll succeed, so they never get started. But, no matter what type of struggling and unmotivated people Eskreis-Winkler and Fishbach worked with, the same pattern held. Dishing out advice to those in a similar situation boosted people's motivation. For example, the study found that 72 percent of people struggling to save money said that giving advice motivated them to save money more than receiving tips from experts. No matter what area of life has you flummoxed, this study suggests simply imagining yourself in the shoes of someone else with similar problems, and looking for solutions through that lens, will do more for your motivation than even the best pep talk.