In less than six months we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving…and then Christmas…and then New Years…. the first day of 2016…. So how are those 2015 goals going?
Truth is, some of you have hit that mid-year rut. You’ve been unproductive and its clear your motivation has waned. You may wonder to yourself:
- “What’s wrong with me?”
- “Why can’t I shake this off?”
- “Am I depressed?”
- “Are my dreams too big?”
- “Should I give this dream up and try something else?”
And my answer to those questions would be:
- “Nothing. You’re normal”
- “Don’t worry, you will soon”
- “Maybe. But that doesn’t have to stop you either”
- “Probably not. The stats are in your favor”
- “Only if you say they are. Your words create your world”
- “Only of your new dream is equally challenging & exciting!”
But what can YOU do when you get to this point? What is at the heart of motivation and how can you get it back?
5 Ways To Regain Your Motivation
Motivation is, in short, the reason or reasons why we do something. These reasons can be internal (e.g. happiness, enjoyment, pride) or external (e.g. wealth, recognition, finding a mate), but they all stimulate our desire to work towards something and give us the energy to remain committed. Therefore, when we lose motivation, it is typically because our reasons no longer apply (i.e. wealth no longer feels like a meaningful goal) or our reasons are confronted with a host of obstacles that make it seem like our goals are impossible to reach. Expectancy theory – one of the handful of psychological theories that explain motivation – drives this point home. This theory proposes that people are motivated when they believe that a) they are capable of performing the work, b) their efforts will result in a certain outcome, and c) the payoffs of their work will be worthwhile. When we start to doubt that we are capable of achieving what we want, or that our efforts no longer matter, our motivation will be tried and may altogether disappear. How can you regain it when it’s lost? Read below.
1. Remember Why You Started.
Sometimes we lose sight of why we are working towards a specific goal. But it’s so important to stay in touch, or get back in touch, with your “why” since this is the stuff that motivation is made of! Why did you want to be healthier? Why did you want to be more fit? Why did you want to start your own business? Why did you want to write this book? It’s important to keep these reasons at the forefront of your mind. If someone were to ask you why you’re pursuing your goal, you should be able to quickly give a real, authentic answer that moves you, and the person you’re talking to, with passion every single time. If you’re not able to do that, either your reason is a) not your real authentic reason for doing something, or b) no longer a reason that is meaningful to you. Both happen, but it would be important to recognize these truths now so that you can reserve your valuable time and energy for what is truly and authentically meaningful for you. Your reason must be personal, it must be authentic, and must be remembered regularly. So ask yourself: Why is your goal… your goal?
2. Expose Your Mental Blocks.
If you’re struggling with motivation, your internal dialogue is likely playing a role. Grab your journal and be honest with yourself for a minute. Write down all the things that come to mind when you think about continuing to work towards your goals. Just jot them down as they come, hold nothing back. Do this for a few minutes and then step back and look at your list.
Might some of your thoughts look like this?
- Why am I doing this? (Translation: I’m wasting my time)
- Does this even matter? (Translation: Nothing I’m doing matters)
- I don’t know if I have what it takes (Translation: I don’t have what it takes)
- I’m not creative enough for this
- I’m not smart enough for this
- I’m delusional (Translation: Who am I to think I could reach this goal?)
The most powerful thing you can do when you suspect that your thoughts are holding you back is to EXPOSE them. These thoughts represent the dark sides of ourselves and darkness cannot survive in light! So expose them by getting them out of your head and out into the open. Then, step back and evaluate them. What evidence do you have that these statements are true? What evidence do you have that these statements are false? For many of you, your more rational side will rise up to the challenge and help you look at yourself in a more helpful and productive way. But if you find that you’re still having some trouble, share your list with a trusted friend, mentor, leader, or counselor and have them help you get to a higher truth. Expose your thoughts and challenge them with what you know and have learned.
3. Get Spiritual, Physical, or Both!
Many psychological studies support the positive impacts of spirituality and physical exercise on our well-being. Motivation and productivity are included as aspects of human functioning that both spirituality and physical activity positively affect. I can speak from personal experience about the power of spirituality in my life. During times of low motivation, I have seen how “upping” my spiritual dosage – be it through spending more time in prayer, meditating on scripture, or chewing on the purpose-driven words of my favorite ministers – has given me what I needed to keep going. I’ve realized that sometimes I lose motivation precisely because my spiritual connection has grown weak and I’ve lost sight of the love and infinite possibilities of my Creator. Your spirituality will create meaning for your life. It will give you insight on how to live it. It will be build your focus and awareness. And it will be a source of your creativity. While motivation is derived from your reasons for chasing a goal, your spirituality may be your ultimate power source. Tap into your ultimate power source.
Additionally, because of the mind-body connection, whatever good things you do for the body will be good for your mind too. Sometimes, it’s all you can do to get up out of bed. But if you can do that, you’ve won half the battle. All that’s left for you to do is put on some shoes and close a door behind you. Walk for as long as your 4 favorite songs. Do this for a couple days and prepare to welcome back your mojo.
4. Celebrate Small Victories.
Do you celebrate the small things? If not, you are doing yourself a disservice. Every huge goal is made up of a bunch of mini-goals. Without completing the mini-goals, there would be no completion of the big goals. It’s like only celebrating turning 21, 30, and 40. What about turning 7, 29, or 38? Do these milestones not matter? Of course they do! You wouldn’t be where you are today without them. Sometimes we lose motivation because we stop believing that our small steps matter. But every single step matters. Every single step! If one of your ultimate goals is to lose weight, know that just walking for 5 minutes could burn up to 25 calories. If that is all you do in one day, that’s 25 more calories than you would normally burn. And that’s progress. It’s important to stop and celebrate small accomplishments because celebration builds momentum. It builds excitement. Your willpower will say to you “Hey, I like this party! I never want it to end!” And it will engage you and sustain you so that what you’ve left to do, it will help you do. Want to stay motivated? Don’t forget to celebrate. You deserve it! (Tip: One of the best ways to celebrate is to share updates with friends. They get all excited for you and that feeling is addicting.)
5. Connect with Fellow Dreamers & Go-Getters.
There is a reservoir of resources in your relationships that you should tap into when motivation is low. Encouragement, support, ideas for solutions, and accountability are just some of the resources that are available to you when you just reach out and tell a friend or group of friends that you’re struggling to move forward with things that are important to you. During times of low motivation, it’s tempting to withdraw, hide, and put on the front that everything is peachy – we do this to self-preserve -but don’t give in! Human connection is exactly what you need. Just talking it out can help clean up the mental mess your negative mind has created and bring to light truths that your positive mind possesses and wants you to remember. Take your connections a step further and intentionally create a “mastermind group” or establish “vision partners” with friends, colleagues, or like-minded individuals you’ve connected with at conferences or events. These are just small groups of people that you decide to meet with regularly (i.e. weekly, monthly, or twice a year) to encourage and keep each other accountable. You can make it as flexible or regimented as you all prefer, but just do it! There is wealth in your relationships! Access it!
So what did you think about these ideas? Do you have any others ideas for regaining motivation? Help a friend out and share below! And don’t forget to subscribe and come say hi to me in the social universe! Can’t wait to connect!!