6 ways to maintain motivation and see your goals through
This year has not be easy for a lot of us. In times like this, one of our greatest collective challenges, it can be really hard to stay on track. Maintaining motivation is not easy to begin with; it’s even harder when new challenges keep getting thrown your way when you’re not even over the first one. And that stuff is exhausting. It can drain the drive out of you faster than you can try to reel the energy back in.
But if we just succumb to it, if we let our energy drain away and watch our motivation hop on the next train out of our brains, what are we left with? Not something that makes me feel good, I can tell you that.
When we get into moments of low motivation, there are a lot of strategies to boost it back up. Here are some of my favorites.
6 Ways to Maintain a Motivation Mindset:
Maintain Motivation Step 1: Return to Your Why
Remember when we talked about this in the goal setting post? This is why (no pun intended) that step was so important.
When you find yourself empty of the motivation to keep stepping toward your goals, go to the place where you wrote down your why.
There is always a reason you set your goals. A reason why you want to accomplish them badly enough that you spent the time to speak it into the universe.
What is that reason? Read what you wrote, and if you didn’t write anything yet, write it now. Inspire yourself again, and get excited about what accomplishing that goal will look like.
Maintain Motivation Step 2: Move Your Body
One reason you might find yourself lacking in motivation is because you are dealing with mounting stress (and let’s get real, who isn’t currently?). Stress can have negative effects on our brains that can lead to a dip in serotonin or other important brain chemicals for mood regulation and motivation. So for this step, we are really combating the stress that is getting in the way of us achieving our goals.
When you get up and move, your body immediately sees a decrease in cortisol levels, or stress hormones, and an increase in endorphins, an instant mood booster. This can be any type of physical activity. Go for a walk, hit the gym, do just a quick couple sets of jumping jacks in your office.
Whatever activity you choose, once you get your heart rate up, your brain will immediately feel the benefits.
Maintain Motivation Step 3: Embrace Your Doubt
When I find myself with a lack of motivation, this is usually about the same time that self-doubt voice gets louder in my brain. All the reasons I think I shouldn’t or can’t achieve my goals start to become louder than why I want to. I start going down a path that is not going to help me get anywhere other than hiding in my bed in the middle of day. Running from your doubts is only good as long as you can keep them at bay, but they usually find a way of catching up eventually.
So, instead, flip the game.
Stop running and address them head on. Thank them for showing up and doing their job, and then find a way to move forward. Give yourself the space to understand why you might have these doubts, and then define how they will not hold you back, and why you are truly capable of achieving these goals.
Self doubt only exists as a subconscious, evolutionary way to protect you from doing something out of your comfort zone.
But we are no longer cave people who need to be protected from venturing out at night. Stepping out of our comfort zone today is the only place we will see real growth. And our world is now safe enough that we will not have to face a sabretooth tiger to do just that.
Maintain Motivation Step 4: Shift Your Perspective
One of the hardest parts about having low motivation is that all you can focus on is that you have low motivation. It becomes this cyclical, self-fulling prophesy that you will never be free of. Unless, you distract yourself. In order to find motivation again, you need to forget you lost it in the first place.
This is usually where I get in my car and go for an aimless drive, blast Dave Matthews Band, and allow my mind check out for a little bit.
Eventually, I find myself naturally getting back on topic, and the drive turns into a super successful brainstorm. Or I just end up having fun.
A quick list of ways to distract your brain:
- Go for a walk
- Play with the kids or pets
- Make a really yummy meal
- Write (something unrelated if this is where your motivation is stuck)
- Watch a really great show or movie
- Take a relaxing bath
- Have a glass of wine
- Organize something in your house you have been avoiding
- Go shopping (Goodwill or TJ Maxx are my favorite places to get distracted)
Do anything where you can take your focus away from the problem that you are trying to solve. The less you focus on what you lack and just allow yourself to just enjoy life, you will find yourself naturally coming back to a motivation mindset without even putting in direct effort to do so.
Maintain Motivation Step 5: Forgive and Adjust
If you have been following along in my blog so far, you know that this is one of my main pillars. When you are on your goal achieving journey, you will most likely run into road blocks where you can’t just barrel through.
Ignoring the need to adjust, like trying to ignore your fears, are only going to keep your motivation down.
Take some time to reevaluate where you are at, and if the plan you set then still applies today. Be honest with yourself. If you set a deadline that you can’t meet, even with all the motivation and energy drinks in the world, then change it. Give yourself that forgiveness if you need it. It is better to adjust your plans than to abandon them altogether. Unless that is what you find you need to do. And then, forgive, adjust, and establish a better goal in its place.
You are capable of achieving whatever it is that you decide is most authentic to your life. Give yourself the space to use these strategies, and your motivation will come back stronger than ever.
Maintain Motivation Step 6: Visualize Your Success
Sit and put yourself into the shoes of the person you will be when you accomplish your goal. How does it feel? What do you see yourself doing? How are you going to celebrate when that goal is accomplished? Take your time letting this feeling wash over your whole body. Visualize yourself taking the steps to achieve this goal.
See yourself embodying the version of yourself with the motivation. Tell yourself you are motivated. Let the inspiration wash over you. Take time to slowly come out of this visualization, and define the first step you are going to take to get back on track to achieving your goal.
Do whatever is the first idea that pops into your mind, even if it wasn’t exactly what you had put on your to do list. That will be the one most authentic to where you are at, right now.
What keeps you from maintaining motivation?
What challenges do you think get in the way of your motivation? What strategies are you excited to try? How did they work for you? Let me know the next small step you are going to take to get back on the path to achieving your goals!