How To Guide an Unmotivated Young Adult on Their Path to Self-Discovery

by | Jul 5, 2023 | Helping a Loved One, Mental Health, Self Esteem | 0 comments

Growing up is a journey filled with twists and turns, and it’s not uncommon for young adults to feel unmotivated and struggle to find their way. As a parent, guardian, or mentor, your role in helping them navigate this phase is priceless. If a young adult does not already have an idea of what they want to do with their life, they might feel overwhelmed or frozen. In many cases, this might come across as a lack of motivation. 

Additionally, some adolescents simply experience lower motivation than others. This can be a result of a variety of factors. Even so, by providing the right support and guidance, you can empower them to reignite their excitement for adulthood and discover their true potential. In this blog, we will explore practical strategies to assist unmotivated young adults in finding their path, embracing their passions, and achieving their goals.

What Causes a Lack of Motivation in Young Adults?

Adolescents often face a barrage of societal standards and norms, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and unsure of their own identity and purpose. The constant comparison to others, fueled by social media and peer dynamics, can dampen their motivation as they struggle to meet unrealistic ideals. Especially with social media, young adults are exposed to a vast range of career paths that may feel impossible to choose from.

Another contributing factor could be the absence of meaningful goals and a clear sense of direction. Without a sense of purpose or vision for the future, adolescents may find it challenging to find the drive and determination to pursue their dreams. The lack of guidance and support in setting achievable goals can leave them feeling adrift, leading to a loss of motivation.

The education system can play a role in demotivating adolescents as well. Too rigid of a curriculum that emphasizes rote learning and standardized testing might fail to engage their interests and passions. When students do not see the relevance or value in their studies, they can become disengaged and lose motivation to excel academically. For students that have made up their mind to not attend college, they may feel that school is not a positive use of their time and as a result, it becomes unimportant to them.

Finally, family dynamics and parental influence play a massive role in shaping a teenager’s motivation levels. Lack of support, high expectations, or a dismissive attitude toward their aspirations can all contribute to demotivation. A nurturing and encouraging environment, on the other hand, can promote a sense of purpose and drive in young adults.

Creating a Supportive Environment

To help an unmotivated young adult, it’s essential to create a supportive environment that fosters their personal growth. Encourage open communication and create a space where they feel safe to express their thoughts, fears, and aspirations. Show genuine interest in their concerns and provide empathy without judgment. By building a foundation of trust, you lay the groundwork for them to explore their inner motivations.

Exploring Passions and Interests

Encourage the young adult to explore different hobbies, activities, and subjects that pique their curiosity. Expose them to a diverse range of experiences, such as art, music, sports, or volunteer work. By exposing them to various interests, they can gradually discover their passions. Engaging in activities they genuinely enjoy helps motivate them intrinsically, igniting their inner drive to explore further and excel in their chosen field.

Goal Setting and Planning

Role models should assist young adults in setting achievable short-term and long-term goals. Start with small, manageable objectives that align with their interests and gradually progress towards more significant aspirations. Break down large goals into actionable steps and help them create a plan to reach those milestones. Show them how to track their progress, celebrating each accomplishment along the way. By providing a roadmap and support, you empower them to take control of their future.

Encouraging Autonomy and Independence

As young adults strive to find their way, it’s crucial to encourage autonomy and independence. Let them make their own decisions and take responsibility for their actions. Offer guidance when needed but allow them to learn from their mistakes and grow. It is also important to know when to step in if need be. 

Allowing young adults to make their own mistakes is helpful for their own development but dangerous situations require intervention. For example, spending time with friends that are engaging in risky behavior or experimenting with substances are not situations in which independence should remain uncontrolled. As a role model, it is crucial to know when to intervene in order to keep them safe.

Mentoring and Role Models

Introducing young adults to inspiring mentors and role models who have achieved success in their chosen fields can be a powerful way to spark motivation. Having conversations with other adults outside of the home can be valuable for teens, especially if they are not provided with this opportunity often. Mentors can serve as a source of inspiration, guiding the young adult toward their own path of self-discovery. Some ways to find a mentor or role model is through social media, family friends, or even an internship.

Encouraging a Growth Mindset

Instill a growth mindset in your young adult by emphasizing the belief that abilities and talents can be developed through dedication and effort. Help them understand that setbacks and challenges are opportunities for learning and growth, rather than signs of failure. Cultivating a positive attitude toward learning and resilience will help them become more motivated to overcome obstacles and pursue their goals with determination.

Providing Emotional Support

During this phase of self-discovery, young adults may experience moments of doubt, frustration, and low self-esteem. Be a source of emotional support by actively listening, offering encouragement, and reminding them of their strengths. Assure them that setbacks are a natural part of the journey and that their potential is limitless. Your unwavering support can help them regain their motivation and keep moving forward.

Try to remember that every individual’s journey is unique, and it may take time for the young adult to find their true calling. Be patient and understanding throughout the process, allowing them the freedom to explore and make their own choices. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small, and remind them that setbacks are stepping stones to growth.

As they embark on this journey of self-discovery, encourage them to embrace new experiences, take calculated risks, and learn from both successes and failures. By doing so, they will develop resilience, determination, and a sense of purpose that will guide them toward a fulfilling adult life.

Helping unmotivated young adults find their way is a collaborative effort that requires a nurturing and supportive approach without being overbearing. Your role as a parent or mentor is to be a guiding light during this transformative phase, allowing them to navigate their journey of self-discovery and emerge as motivated and confident individuals ready to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. Although it will not always be easy, taking the time and energy to properly support your young adult on their mission to self-discovery will undoubtedly pay off in the end.

We Can Help!

MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home.  If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help.  To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.