Finding and keeping motivation can seem impossible at times. One moment you may be ready to tackle the world and the next minute, just as quickly as it came, your motivation seems to disappear. When you’re an entrepreneur or trying to be successful in any aspect, motivation is your driving factor and losing it can sometimes make you feel lazy or like a failure, which isn’t good for your self-esteem or your business.
5 Ways to stay motivated:
1. Break down each goal
2. Visualize the results
3. Stick to a routine
4. Find new strategies
5. Take a break
Thankfully, there are many different ways you can get your inspiration back whenever it lapses.
Keeping yourself motivated is important to prevent feeling burnt out from a project or giving up on it completely and ensures that you crush the goals you have set for yourself.
What Is Motivation?
To figure out how to stay motivated and go hard to accomplish your goals, it’s first important to understand what motivation is and how it works.
You have probably heard of the basic motivation tips, like placing affirmations up on your mirror or printing out motivational quotes to hang around your home, but that may not always work. This is because motivation is, like most things, highly personal and has to be tailored to your specific goals and aspirations to be truly effective.
Motivation can be either intrinsic, meaning it comes from within, or extrinsic, meaning the motivation comes from something external. It has three parts, consisting of activation, persistence and intensity.
Activation refers to the decision to start a routine or behavior, while persistence is the continued effort to keep going with that behavior. Intensity refers to the amount and vigor of your habit. All of these components make up motivation and occur in the brain, meaning motivation is a scientific and psychological process.
Scientists have come up with a number of theories on motivation, too. One theory is the incentive theory, which says that people are motivated to do certain actions due to external rewards. The drive theory suggests that motivation is acquired to satisfy unmet needs, and the arousal theory states that people are motivated to do behaviors to shift arousal levels.
Knowing how motivation works is essential to knowing how to stay motivated throughout a project or particularly difficult period. Combined with the knowledge of how motivation works, these tips can make sure you stay motivated to work as hard as possible.
Break the Goal Down
One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated is to break a big goal down into smaller, more attainable goals.
Many successful people use this method, often called “chunking.” It may be useful to plan out your project on a piece of paper or in a planner to understand how to break it up best.
Setting deadlines for yourself for smaller goals as compared to the completed project will also make you less likely to procrastinate.
According to neuroscientists, any success big or small will trigger the brain’s reward center and release dopamine. The release of dopamine will encourage you to keep going in tackling the next part of your project.
Although the completion of small goals will trigger the brain’s reward center, you should also make sure to give yourself physical rewards too.
Chunking works because it increases feelings of self-efficacy. When you break goals up into smaller chunks, it’s easier to feel like you can successfully complete smaller goals than look at a big goal that may seem less attainable.
Visualize the Results
Visualizing the results of whatever you’re trying to achieve can be a great motivator. Visualization works because being able to see or imagine yourself completing a project increases the feeling that you are actually able to achieve it. If your goal is to lose weight, visualizing yourself exercising, eating right and losing the weight will make you feel like it’s a more attainable goal.
You can use the visualization tool mentally or write down what will happen when you achieve your goal and what that will look like. However, be sure to not only visualize the end result. You should also visualize the steps needed to get yourself there. Oversimplifying getting to your end goal can actually result in a loss of motivation.
You probably already use a visualization technique without realizing it in your day-to-day life. As a child, you may have visualized your dream job or dream wedding. Maybe today you’ve visualized yourself getting your chores done or finishing a project for work.
Visualization is an almost automatic process that can have a huge impact on motivation, so it’s one of the easiest ways to stay motivated when you feel like giving up.
Stick to a Routine
If what you’re trying to keep yourself motivated for is a behavior, sticking to a routine can help keep you motivated without even realizing what you’re doing. If you incorporate whatever behavior you want to do in your routine, soon it will feel like second nature.
However, it’s important to make sure you stick to your routine or else this method won’t work. Science shows it takes 66 days for a habit to become a routine, so consistency is key in this aspect.
If you find yourself having trouble sticking to a certain behavior or routine, try planning it out, including the timing. In the event you’re trying to implement a morning routine to motivate yourself to meditate every morning, try splitting up your time in the morning and give yourself a window of time to meditate, get ready and eat breakfast.
Using habit-tracking apps can also help you stay accountable to sticking to your routine. Tracking your habits can help you understand what days you didn’t get to it and why that may be.
Find New Strategies
Sometimes it can be frustrating to feel like everything you’re doing to stay motivated isn’t working. In this case, finding new strategies to reach your goals can help give you a fresh start and increase motivation.
Although this doesn’t work for every behavior or habit, if you can find a new way to tackle your goals, it may give you the extra push you need. A lot of the time, loss in motivation can be caused by lack of progress.
You might also see lapses in motivation due to rewarding yourself too much. The overjustification effect refers to having too many extrinsic rewards. If you reward yourself too much for something you already enjoy doing, you may feel less motivated to do it next time. To avoid this, try not to reward yourself for things you already have an interest in or enjoy doing and use rewards sparingly.
To find your motivation again, you may also want to introduce new challenges that will help you keep going if you’re getting bored with the routine or behavior.
Take a Break
A break is sometimes needed to help refresh your mind and replenish your motivation. Although this may seem counterintuitive, breaks can actually increase productivity. Breaks can prevent you from feeling burnt out or overworked, which can lead feelings of demotivation.
If your motivation seems like it’s totally depleted and you just can’t seem to get it back, don’t be afraid to take a break and come back to it.
Whether you’re just starting out a new challenge or have been doing the same routine for years, lapses in motivation are normal and common. The most important thing is to understand why your motivation is lacking and figure out how to get yourself back on track to crush your goals.