How do you keep going when you’re only halfway through your workout and feel yourself slipping? Where do you find the drive to keep going after an entire day of work then coming home only to cook and clean? How do you find the inner strength to continue job hunting following rejection after rejection?
When you’re running low on motivation what do you do to keep going?
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. –Henry Ford
Henry Ford may be on to something here. When you start believing that you can’t do it you’ve already begun to fail. The power of suggestion is stronger than many people realise. Even if it’s yourself that is doing the suggesting.
But then how do we get out of a rut? Or a slump? Or a pool of stagnant water that is the metaphor for your current career situation?
Remember, we all face obstacles. It’s how you approach them that sets you apart.
The most productive way to face an obstacle is to identify what the true, deeper cause is, ask yourself what is the real de-motivator in your personal situation?
We can most easily lose motivation through fear (also recognised as anxiety). To get through this obstacle, address the fear, acknowledge your fear or fight/flight response is trying to protect you. Give it a little nod of thanks for trying to protect you, after all, your anxiety means well. Then question your fears by asking why. Why am I afraid to ask for the promotion at work? Why am I afraid to start training for the marathon?
Setting the wrong goals
When we set the wrong goals we rapidly lose motivation. Think about the goals you made back in the new year. Were the too big? Were they too vague? Tackle smaller goals to lead to your final outcome and you’ll keep up that momentum with ease, especially when you see all of the milestones you’ve been reaching. Each small victory can spur you on to the next one.
If your goals are vague and lack clarity you risk not having a clear plan to move forward. An easy fix is to reframe and review your goals so that you have a defined path to follow. If your plan is “lose weight” try and make it more clear by setting a weekly or monthly weight target. If your plan is to “run a marathon” start by setting small training goals such as a defined distance per week. Adjust your goal to your personal situation and resources and you are already on the path to success!
You might be smashing out goal after goal and reframing, reassessing your goals as needed but then you suddenly crash. We can lose momentum or completely collapse if we don’t look after our physical, mental, emotional health while we’re working so hard. With a lack of self care we run the risk of burning out. Too exhausted? Grieving? Giving too much of yourself? Allow yourself time to slow down, grieve and recover. We’re human and other humans will understand if you need to pull back just a bit, before setting off again towards those important goals.
It’s easy to forget that a lack of challenge can sap our motivation. We get bored when we’re no longer challenged. Have you become autonomous with a new skill? Challenge yourself, learn a new skill, advance your current skills, aim for a higher level. Always review your goals.
A negative mindset is like poison. Consider the Henry Ford quote again. If you believe you’ll fail you’ve already set yourself up for failure. If the reason you’re no longer utilising your pricey gym membership is because you’ve convinced yourself you’re too tired or drained, try to reframe your thoughts and your mindset. Remind yourself of all of the positives, the benefits, the pros to getting up earlier or getting home later after a gym session. This can spark motivation. If you don’t have an already diagnosed health reason for feeling too tired and drained to attain those goals then you’ve just cheated yourself by making an excuse. Future you will thank you for the positive mindset!
If your goals are making you feel tired just by thinking about them that’s a sign that you need to cultivate a positive mindset. Perhaps it’s a combination of the above de-motivators. Feeling too lethargic to take action towards your goals can also indicate you’re bored, burnt out or that your goals lack clarity.
Take the time to listen to what your mind is really telling you, then go for gold.