I would love to say I have never lost my motivation. That I always have a clear picture of what I will want and I stay on track until I get it. I would love to say that, but I would be lying. If anyone else tries to tell you that, they would be lying as well. We all lose motivation from time to time. It can happen at work or at home–or both–but it happens. And when it does, it is very difficult to restart your engine and get back into a productive rhythm.
Losing motivation can have greater consequences than just keeping us from our goals. When we lose our will to move forward, the energy driving us has no positive outlet. Without any desire to pursue a goal, we are more likely to channel that energy into negative or effortless activities like over-eating or binge watching a season of Six Feet Under. While both activities may feel comforting and fill a need, neither will move you toward your goal.
How do you get your mojo back when it has taken a vacation and left you behind? Here are steps to get regain your motivation and get you back in the game.
Write it down–It doesn’t matter you work in the corporate jungle, are self-employed, or a stay at home parent. There is always too much to do in this hectic world. It can be overwhelming and paralyzing, A never-ending agenda can quickly sap any semblance of motivation we may have. One of the best ways to deal with a sense of overwhelm is to write it down. If you have to deal with professional and personal tasks (and who doesn’t?), make separate lists. Compartmentalizing tasks allows you to maintain focus. When you have written everything down, regardless of how small or inconsequential it may seem, you can let it go until later while concentrating on the task at hand.
Want vs. Need— Once you have your lists written out, prioritize them by want you want to do and what you must do. Tackle the must do items first. You’ll have a better sense of accomplishment which makes the want-to-do’s even more enjoyable.
Minimize–Sometimes we lose motivation because our lists are too long to even consider tackling. If your list is still overwhelming, even after separating personal and professional tasks, think about paring it down. Could you remove items without adverse effect? Just as you thin seedlings to achieve a better crop, you can remove items from your list to increase the productive quality of your time.
Stop Comparisons–It’s human nature to compare ourselves to our friends and co-workers. It is also a motivation killer. When we make comparisons with others, we inevitably find people we feel are doing better than we are. Instead of being happy for them, these comparisons usually lead to envy, leaving us feeling inadequate. Why did they get the promotion? How did they get all those customers? How did they afford that new car? Instead of focusing on their accomplishments, focus on your own. Celebrate even the small ones. Remember, you are exactly where you should be at any given time.
Lose the Negativity–Surrounding yourself with downers? Don’t. Every office has its share of negative people. Those who, no matter what happens, will only see the bad side of anything. Their outlook is infectious. If you know people like this, limit your time with them or end it completely if possible. If you have friends who love to focus on the negative, perhaps it’s time to look for some new friends.
Gain the Positive–Once you get rid of the negative influences in your life, fill that void with positive energy. We are most like the people with whom we spend the most time, so choose to surround yourself with upbeat and positive people. Their influence will really change your outlook.
Develop yourself–Spend twenty minutes a day engaging in some type of personal development. It can be reading, watching Ted Talks, or listening to audiobooks–whatever excites you. When you make personal development a part of your daily routine, you can’t help but feel more inspired and motivated. But here’s the key–after you feel motivated, do something with what you’ve learned. Create an action plan and add it to your to-do lists. Or try out just one idea spontaneously. Personal development is great, but without corresponding action it will do little to increase your motivation.
Sometimes the best thing you can do if you feel your motivation has gone south is to stop. Take a break and get out of the smaller picture. Look at the big picture and remind yourself why what you are doing is important. Why do you want to build that business or lose that weight? What will it mean for you in the long run. We all lose track of the big picture from time to time, especially when events in the smaller picture sap our energy. When that happens and frustration sets in, step back and take a breath. Revisit your big why–why you started and what it will mean for you when you finish. Reconnecting with the big picture is one of the best ways to rekindle the spark of your motivation and get moving once again.