I’ve been through seasons of life that have been completely slow. And by slow, I mean that I really didn’t do much of anything. I made a point of not making many commitments.
Then there have been the crazy busy, chicken-running-around-with-its-head-cut-off seasons that cause life to shift into overdrive.
Life is currently feeling a bit like the latter at the moment, but sometimes I can feel my resolve to do ‘all the things’ cracking and my motivation slipping. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like doing anything at all!
Let me first clarify – it’s important to rest. You should definitely do that. What I’m talking about here are those times when you really need to get something done and you just don’t have the will power to start. Or you’ve got a big project looming over your head with no clear direction. What then?
How do you stay motivated, even when you don’t feel like it?
Set Real Goals
What are real goals? Simply put, real goals are ones that are a. obtainable, b. realistic, and c. things that you actually want to do.
Sometimes when I set goals, I’ll set one thinking, “maybe I’ll get to this” or “It would be nice if I could do this.” No. Those are not the right kind of goals to set.
Your goals need to be concrete. They need to be realistic, because if you have a million and one things going on, and you set a huge goal for yourself during a particular week or month, chances are you won’t finish it. And when you’ve worked really hard, barely sleeping and letting other things fall through the cracks just to reach that highly unobtainable goal, and then you don’t reach it, you begin to feel discouraged. You put off setting other goals because you feel like you failed.
I’m not saying that lofty, huge, slightly unobtainable goals don’t have a place in your life – they definitely do! What I am saying though is that you need to set yourself up for success. And you have to be sure that the goal you are pursing is really something that you want to do. If it’s not, and it’s just a nice ‘thought’ or ‘maybe’ goal, don’t waste your time or energy on it. Focus on the things that are important, and set yourself up for success by developing a plan.
Which brings me to my next point.
Develop an Action Plan
Your goals and dreams don’t just happen. You have to make them happen.
By developing a solid action plan. Here’s what I mean by that. Say you have a goal to write a book in 2016. That’s a pretty huge goal, one with lots and lots of elements. And it’s so easy to look at a goal that huge and be like, “how in the world could I ever do that? Where do I even start?”
First, think about what goes into writing a book. There’s the writing, the editing, and assuming you are self-publishing, you’ve also got the marketing and the publishing bit to think about.
Now, take a step back and look at each chunk. Give yourself enough time for each. Let’s say you want your book to be 80,000 words. If you think you can write 5,000 words a week (1,000 a day on weekdays), that’s 20,000 a month, so give yourself 4 months for writing. Then give yourself 2 months for edits and revisions. Then 2 months for setting up and growing your author platform, 2 months for publishing, formatting and tweaking, and 2 months for marketing.
The end goal is already looking more obtainable.
You’d also want to break each 2 month chunk down further into specific goals and tasks, giving yourself an even more detailed plan to follow.
Once you have your goal broken down into smaller chunks, commit to sticking with it. But what about those times when you just…can’t?
This is why I mentioned earlier how important it is to really want your goal. You have to be passionate about it, committed to completing it, or it won’t happen. Things will come up, they always do, and you will be faced with a choice of whether or not to keep going.
So, before you even get to the goal, think about your ‘why.’ Why are you doing this? What is your primary motivation? Think big here. Do you want to write that book because you’ve always dreamed of being an author? Think about how it will feel once you’ve accomplished the goal. Visualize yourself as a published author. Remember your ‘why.’
Then, when you get to those times of questioning – which, inevitably you will – you can pull out your ‘why’ and remember why it is that you’re doing this in the first place.
Don’t give up. If you’re feeling less than motivated, remember to set realistic goals, break those goals down into manageable chunks, and then visualize and focus on the ‘why.’ You can do anything or be anyone in life – you just have to be committed and passionate, and you have to want it badly enough!
What are your tips for staying motivated? How do you set yourself up for success?