“Beginnings are easy. But midway I am demotivated.”
I hear this all the time. I face it too. The dream is exciting until it starts to get rocky or it starts to malfunction. People don’t turn out the way we expect. Work doesn’t turn out the way we expect. Soon, the euphoria fades. In no time, you have tuned out of your dream. You wonder how to go on. You even start asking, ‘Is this worth it?’
This sudden flagging in enthusiasm does not affect just your work. It affects your diet, your exercise routine, your diploma course, the book you’re working on, and even the relationship you’re in.
Once you let your motivation slide, things die a slow death.
Hemingway once famously said, “When you stop doing things for fun, you might as well be dead.”
So how does one pre-empt an early motivational or spiritual ‘death’ and stay focused and motivated? How does one continue to have fun?
1. Remember the why: Don’t forget the passion and the vision that got you in the game in the first place. The reason why you’re doing this. If you’ve forgotten write it down and post it on your wall. If you can’t find a reason, rethink your involvement.
2. Is this meant for you: Sometimes we hit a wall simply because we are the wrong person to solve the problem. Are you the right person for the task? Can you delegate?
3. Reduce expectations: This is going to sound like a contradiction but it’s important to understand this and live it: Set high goals but expect things and people to be average. Lowering expectations is emotional insurance against unhappiness and stress. But, make sure everyone knows the goal and has everything they need to succeed. Then tune out!
4. Be realistic and celebrate your success: Don’t boil the ocean. Do a little bit every day. Measure and applaud improvement. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
5. Be careful about your habits: Your success is not determined by what you do once in three months but by what you do every hour of every day. Choose productive habits. If you’re spending 3 hours on social media, you can’t complain your business is not growing. Choose social media or choose business development while at the work place. You can’t have both!
6. Ask for help: Have a tough goal, like losing 5 kilos in 2 months? Don’t do it by yourself. Consult a nutritionist. Find out which foods to eat and which to avoid. Hire a personal trainer. Don’t work hard. Work smart. Accept that in some cases the right knowledge and advice may lie outside of you.
7. Prepare for setbacks: Be prepared for early failures. Setbacks are normal. Tell yourself it is going to happen. Then when it happens, you are not unhinged. Edison said he learnt more from setbacks than from successes. This is true. Don’t view setbacks as tragic. View them as part of the journey of growing and learning.
8. Be flexible: Have a plan but be prepared to change or modify the plan when the situation changes or when new knowledge comes to light. In the long run, the adaptable overtake the intelligent. Remember, ‘plans are not important but planning is.’
9. Celebrate milestones: Sometimes, you are so fussed about reaching your goal you forget how much progress you have already made. Take time to look back on how far you’ve come. Ask people for feedback. These things will motivate you tremendously and make you less anxious or defeatist!
10. Let go of things that are not in your control: This is simple enough but we don’t do it. Because we want to control people and things. And because we lack the wisdom to tell what is in our control and what is not. Instead of reacting to situations with anger or fear, try to still yourself and understand situations more deeply. Then you will spot the true nature of the problem. This will enable you to sift what is controllable from what is not controllable. Then just focus on the controllable, and stop stressing!
Everyone loses interest. But if we were to work only when we were inspired, nothing would get done! Bridges would not get built. Innovations would not see the light of day. Relationships would wither away and die. You are not here to hit the target only when you are inspired. You are here to rise above the situation and motivate yourself, so you may eventually hit the target.
Relax. Be mindful. Understand. Don’t be so stressed about outcomes. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the details. Have fun. Look ahead.
That’s the culminating way to stay motivated!
About the Author:
Sandhya Reddy is a leadership & transformation coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that enables everyone from CEOs to work-from-home parents to achieve their goals by replacing self-imposed limitations with enabling stories.
Many of us in our thirties experience a disquieting realization: what brought us to middle-management may not take us to senior-management. This is true. To chart a new career path, one needs to think and do things differently. This is where Sandhya can help. She is a coach. Life coaching, executive coaching, business coaching, personality development, leadership coaching… they are all part of her forte. Her Executive coaching programs helps tomorrow’s leaders set new goals, make new plans to achieve those goals, get that elusive promotion through a blend of knowledge, action and image-building, enhance influence among the leadership team, be more productive, get more out of one’s team, and be known in the company as an indispensable performer and future leader.