Procrastination and lack of motivation are totally normal, but it’s also true that if you take a closer look at the reasons you’re not doing what you need to be doing when you need to be doing it, there’s probably an underlying psychological cause.

Below are 7 things that could be stopping you from completing your to-do list today – and if you can understand why you’ve stalled, you’ll be able to recover your get-up-and-go and get to it!

#7. Your goals are too big or unattainable.

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You’ll have a hard time staying motivated if your brain senses there’s no way to get to the finish line. If there are too many steps, there are too many chances to fail, and your subconscious may balk.

Instead, set smaller, short-term goals that can lead you towards larger ones.

#6. You’re being forced to complete a task.

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It probably comes as no surprise that people feel more motivated when they’re faced with completing something they want to do as opposed to something they have to do. The more autonomy we have, the more energy we have, but the hard truth is there are always things that need doing even if we don’t want to.

To get them done, trade the words “have to” to “choose to” and take back some control.

#5. You feel as if you’re not making a difference.

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We all want to feel like the work we’re doing makes a difference in the world – a fact this study proved by watching people who believed they were making calls to raise money for a good cause as opposed to some other reason.

If you’re struggling, try connecting with the people who benefit from your work and track the results to give yourself ongoing motivation.

#4. You’ve talked too much about your goals.

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Contrary to popular belief, it’s best to keep big goals and dreams to yourself. Write them down, if you want, but science says that talking about them to other people tricks your brain into thinking they’ve already been accomplished when they definitely haven’t.

#3. You don’t believe in yourself.

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You have to believe in your ability to achieve what you set out to do – those who do are more likely to possess the motivation necessary to accomplish those tasks. If you’re struggling, this study shows that repeating positive affirmations can increase your energy and belief in the attainability of your goals.

#2. You had strict parents.

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There’s a study that concludes people who procrastinate often and for a long time likely had strict parents growing up – and that goes double for women who grew up in a house with a strict father. The act of procrastinating counts as a form of rebellion, even into adulthood.

To beat this issue, you’re probably going to want to talk to a licensed therapist…

#1. You spend too much time visualizing success.

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Positive thinking has its place on the path to success, but simply visualizing the result you want isn’t going to increase your motivation – it could even drain your energy and make you less likely to get going.

Weirdly, science says that visualizing not only your goal, but more importantly the potential setbacks along the way, can have a positive effect on your ability to get started and keep going.

h/t: Distractify