The lack of motivation is usually not caused by the lack of ideas – in fact, most people find that they have plenty of great ideas (or one large, really awesome one), but still seem to lack that motivation to actually get them going.
Because stress. That’s where it’s at.
But stress can be both good and bad. A reasonable amount of stress usually sparks most of us and keeps us going. Once our stress cup overflows, though, we’re doomed. Or at least our motivation is.
So what does one do when motivation is playing hide and seek? One goes out to find it, of course!
Here are 6 steps to help you find motivation when it feels like your idea, your project, or even your whole life (figuratively speaking) is falling apart:
1. Take a break
It’s okay to let your body and brain relax – in fact, it is absolutely necessary. When we take on too much, we often get to the point where there is so much we need to do, that we end up not doing any of it instead (procrastination is unfortunately one of my closest friends); motivation is slipping through our fingers. And to keep disappointing yourself when not accomplishing anything, is not the right way to get it back.
So take a well-needed break. Sometimes that break only needs to last for a couple of hours, other times you need days or even weeks to recover. And that’s okay, let it take the time you need. And don’t feel bad – we all need to take a break from things every now and then to recharge.
Okay, so once you’ve taken that well-needed break and you feel your energy levels rising back to it’s great-potential-state, it’s time to restart! You should do this by easing into things, though. Remember what got you into that rut in the first place? Well, you want to avoid doing things the same way.
So ease into it. Take things one step at a time. Don’t take on too much, but start with only essential things.
3. Set goals
The best way to ease into things is by setting goals. To start off, you’ll want to set small goals that you know you can easily reach. You want to make SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based.
Also set one or maybe two larger, long-term goals for where you would like to be or what you would like to have done in a few months time. Important, though, is to let your smaller goals automatically lead up to the big goal. That way the big goal won’t seem as far away or as unattainable, because every goal you reach will slowly lead you to the biggy.
Oh, and a keyword: rewards. Remember to reward yourself when you reach any of your goals. Our brain loves rewards, and it’s a way to help it keep motivation up.
4. Feed off of others
It’s now time to get inspiration and input from other people (friends, family, strangers on the street, books, blogs, etc.). This is oh-so-important to get your motivation back. No man is an island, they say and I agree. When it comes to projects or ideas, getting help and inspiration from other people will actually help you get started, because everyone’s brain works in (mysterious) different ways. Something they think of straight away might not at all have occured to you.
In short, other people will help you see things from a different point of view, and most likely a lot clearer, too.
5. Capture the moment
When inspiration and motivation eventually strikes, don’t let it slip away! Sit down and feel the magic happen; let it work with you in that wonderful flow only motivation can create. Let it take the time it needs, let go of other things around, and just let your brain run its course.
6. Keep the balance
Don’t overwork yourself. Once you find your balance of work and play, try to keep it. Best way to do this is to always reflect on what works for you and what doesn’t. If you end up facing a challenge that isn’t in your style, come up with ways to avoid things like that from happening again.
Planning and organizing is essential, but all of this is very personal, as well. Some people need to plan every little detail for things to work for them, while others only need a simple, overlooking kind of plan. Find out what works for you and stick to it.
And if you ever at any stage feel like your stress levels are rising above manageable, be sure to rethink your goals, your system and your approach sooner rather than later. It’s totally okay to change approach half-way through (successful people do it all the time!).
What do you do to stay motivated? Have I missed anything important in this list? Please, join in and let me know of any great ideas of yours!
And good luck to you and your new best friend motivation!