1. Don’t compare yourself to others
Did you know that you have your own path and it’s your alone? No-one else has the unique combination of experiences, gifts, skills and knowledge as you. When you don’t know this you’re more likely to compare yourself and your achievements to someone else; a quick way to lose motivation.
I’ve been guilty of this. When I first started my business I compared myself to a friend who started hers at the same time. Her Facebook page grew much faster than mine, she got PR coverage, appeared on local TV and spoke on the radio. I however, had none of that. Ignoring the fact that her business was completely different to mine I felt like a failure. Impacting my self-esteem and motivation. Does that sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be in business, it’s equally relevant to whatever you’re trying to achieve.
It took a while but overtime I came to realise that my journey was different from hers. They can’t and shouldn’t be compared. Once I understood this I was able to focus my energy on my own goals without the distraction of comparison. I no longer felt demotivated reading her posts. Now I could share her joy instead of feeling inadequate.
By all means aspire to the achievements and qualities of others. But if you want to stay motivated, stop making direct comparisons
2. Focus on your progress
It’s really hard to stay motivated when you can’t see anything changing. You’ve poured your energy, time and finances into trying to improve an area of your life but still feel like you’re getting nowhere.
- I’m doing all this exercise and not losing weight
- I’m doing all this training and it’s not helping me get another job
- I’m working on my self-esteem and I still don’t feel confident
However, when you look at your progress, are you only looking at what you haven’t achieved yet? It’s important to take time and reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Then congratulate yourself and use this to motivate you as you move towards your next milestone.
Also as you consider your progress are you clear what success looks like for you? Have you thought about how and who you want to be as well as what you want to achieve. Although you may not have seen any physical results, perhaps the greatest change has been in your character. Who you’re becoming. But you’ve failed to see this because it wasn’t your measure of success. If you’re still going despite the lack of material changes, it’s likely that you’ve developed resilience, steadfastness, discipline, focus and commitment.
Finally, be kind to yourself, recognise if you’re being impatient. Were your timescales realistic to begin with? Or is your impatience connected to comparing yourself to where others are? Don’t lose motivation because you’ve put pressure on yourself expecting to see results too soon.
3. Reconnect with the ‘why’ of your goal
There’ll be times when you’re making great progress and can see how your commitment and investment in your goals are paying off. You’re feeling really positive and motivated about the future. Then, it all goes wrong. The position you were working towards is no longer available or you fail the exam you’d been studying months for etc. All your hard work has been for nothing, or at least that how it feels.
It can sometimes be more difficult to renew your motivation after a setback, rather than if you were making no progress at all. You may even think ‘What’s the point? It’s not worth the effort. Somethings bound to go wrong again.’
That’s when you need to go back to the why of your goal and reconnect to it emotionally. Your why will be the values that underpin the reason for your goal. If you can be clear what those are, it’ll keep you motivated despite temporary setbacks and disappointments. When doing this you may even discover that there’s no value or emotional connection. In which case it’s time to rethink the goal.
4. Get creative with your resources
Sometimes your motivation will be impacted by a perceived lack of resources. Particularly when you see no way of moving forward without them. You want more money, time, space or someone to help you. But you don’t have these things. So you lose motivation, feeling you’re being held back.
This is a great opportunity to get creative (don’t tell me you’re not) and find another way to accomplish your aims. What resources do you have and how can they be utilised to meet your goal or perhaps a different one? Even the process of getting creative can help revive your motivation. Remember this applies to any area of your life where you feel resources are holding you back from success.
I also courage you to challenge yourself with these questions:
- Do you have the right goal at this time?
- Is it a lack of resources holding you back, or is it fear?
5. Find your tribe
You’ll need people in your corner to help you achieve your goals. There’ll be times when you’re tired, overwhelmed had enough and can’t be bothered to keep going. Identifying and connecting with like-minded people is essential. Family, friends, colleagues who will listen; offer practical or emotional support, advice and guidance. Anyone who’ll be there to pick you up and encourage you when your motivation has hit rock bottom.
Equally avoid people who only have negative things to say. They may mean well, but comments like ‘You’re right there’s no point’, ‘you’ve given it your best shot’ or ‘I said it would be too hard for you’ aren’t helpful or motivational.