It happens to us all. One day we’re motivated, and the next day we’re not. You may have been filled with enthusiasm when the project began. Then you ran into some obstacles, or things ended up being way harder than expected. All that upsurge of energy inevitably wanes, as dreams morph into reality, and you lose your confidence and momentum. We’ve all experienced this type of frustration and disappointment, and it can cause us to give up prematurely.
I’m guilty of this. I always seem to have a string of unfinished projects. I love the start of something new, but as time passes, I can get frustrated or distracted. Sometimes, a new project enters my mind and tempts me like a bright, shiny object. Other times, I hit a challenge that I don’t feel like dealing with, so I procrastinate. Or maybe I let other priorities get in the way or just make excuses for not moving forward.
Staying motivated isn’t easy, but it can be done! Below are some tips for staying on track.
- Clearly visualize your goal and expect success. Be very specific about what you want to accomplish and see yourself succeeding. See it, feel it, smell it, and taste it! Don’t focus on your fears but on what you can do to overcome them. Focus on the benefits you’ll achieve when you reach your goal.
- Take a big goal and break it down into smaller achievements. Be realistic with your goals. Goals that are unreachable can cause your motivation to dwindle. Small goals that are achieved lead to increased motivation. Don’t overwhelm yourself!
- Have a concrete plan, including deadlines. Make a detailed, to-do list, and include a time element. Mark off each item once it’s accomplished. This will give you a feeling of satisfaction.
- Plan for future, but stay in the present. Don’t waste time by worrying about every single thing that could go wrong in the future. Focus on what you can accomplish today and get to work. Too much pontificating can slow your momentum.
- Check your perfectionism at the door. As they say, don’t let “perfect” become the enemy of “good enough.” It’s very easy to get off track if you spend too much time trying to make everything 100% perfect. While it’s important to do a good job, you don’t want to get caught in an endless loop of revision that keeps you from moving forward.
- Don’t be surprised or depressed about a loss of motivation. Look at it as an opportunity to step back and analyze what you’re doing wrong and right. Discover your faults and correct them. When you re-evaluate your plans and goals from a fresh perspective, you’ll feel a new surge of enthusiasm and motivation.
- Consider starting a Success Team. A Success Team is a group of like-minded people who agree to meet on a regular basis with the goal of keeping each other motivated. I have participated in success teams, and they really can help, especially if you’re working on a solo project. Having to report on your progress to the team will give you a sense of accountability.
Do you have trouble staying motivated? Do you have lots of unfinished projects? What roadblocks get in your way? Do you overwhelm yourself by having too many interests and wanting to do too many things? Are good at planning? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.