Sometimes, tackling a project or task can seem like a trek through a desert.
You start full of hope and motivation, focusing on the distant mountains where the goal of your journey lies. But with time, the pressure gets to you. Like the heat of the sun it beats down mercilessly, and with every step, the going gets tougher.
Before you know it, all your motivation has evaporated into thin air. You’re left with neither the energy nor the desire to move on.
You know what you should do. You know what you want to do. But you just can’t seem to muster the drive to propel you on.
Identify the Ultimate Benefit
One of the first steps to refresh your withered motivation is to identify why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Think about the ultimate benefit of reaching your goal. That may mean that “cleaning my house” could become “getting the house ready for a party.” Can you see why that is more motivating?
When you boil it down to a benefit that stirs a deep desire to succeed, it’s amazing how quickly you may be able to summon the energy and willpower to go after it. So, stop focusing on the daily grind of the matter and start thinking about the real reason for what you need to do.
Present Your Plan Visually
This means more than visualizing in your mind. It means to actually put what you need to do and your progress down in a visual form.
To help you have a sense of forward movement, you can use something as simple as a whiteboard or a calendar and a marker. Set a daily goal, and then mark it off with a big X or a huge check mark. This creates a visual chain that you’ll have in front of you every day.
The visual representation of taking daily steps helps build momentum for accomplishing the final goal.
Enjoy the Experience
While visual encouragement and seeing the benefit of a goal are important, they’re often not enough. Sometimes, you may clearly understand the long-term or ultimate benefits of something you need to do, and yet, you still can’t motivate yourself.
That’s when you have to shift away from the intangible benefits a focus on the present. They key is to learn to enjoy what you’re doing in the moment. Finding pleasure in the activity you’re involved in—even if that’s cleaning—can help you turn the tables.
So, think about how you could make even dreary task fun. Perhaps a little music could help.
Allow for a Judgment-Free Zone
Often, motivation can evaporate simply because of your own high expectations. Being upset that you’re not getting done what you need to get done can zap you of energy quickly.
The remedy? Give yourself a break!
Sometimes, getting movement going again after everything comes to a standstill is just a matter of learning to relax. Get out of your head and stop judging yourself for not moving. Lower your expectations and allow yourself time to just be—without pressure.
If you ease up on yourself for a bit, you’ll find your footing again soon enough and shift to focus on something more positive, and productive.
Look for a Different Perspective
Staring at a wall is not going to help you move the wall. Meaning, if you’re thinking only about one thing for far too long, you’re bound to feel unmotivated.
That big goal will not be accomplished by you worrying about accomplishing it. Have you ever noticed that no matter how long you ponder on a solution to a problem, it doesn’t make it easier to solve?
So, when you’re cooped up in your office or in your house, think about a change of perspective. In particular, a change of scenery. Get out of the building—mentally and physically—and look at the matter from a different perspective.
You’ve probably experienced it before. The moment you physically and mentally step away from something and stop thinking so hard about it, the solution suddenly comes to you or the inspiration hits you. And with inspiration comes motivation!
Create a Place Where Stuff Gets Done
Your environment has a lot to do with your motivation. Getting organized may not necessarily be your strength, but think of it like this. In a kindergarten classroom, for example, they have various areas for different things—playing, learning, reading… even resting. Why not mimic that for your office or home?
Organize your room into different task areas—a specific place where you can focus on whatever it is you’re trying to achieve at that moment. There may be an area with a computer, one that allows you to simply sit down with a book to read, one that lets you do something that’s fun (perhaps hands-on), and one for relaxation and rest.
When you learn to focus your efforts in these specific places on what they’re designed for, you’ll begin to associate these areas with those things. Having some places where stuff gets done and others where stuff doesn’t get done is important for refreshing your motivation.
At times, the biggest problem with motivation is that you may believe you can’t do a good job. You’re so locked into making the first steps perfect, that you procrastinate in taking actions because you know they won’t be.
That’s when it’s time to remind yourself that in order to do great work, you have to start with doing poor work first. You just can’t wait until everything fall together perfectly to take action with project, task, or other goals in your life.
You have to take a leap. Put yourself out there. And get started!
Remember, everybody gets into a rut at times. So, when you feel like your motivation has just been evaporated into thin air, don’t just lie down and give up. Use the above-mentioned tips to improve your situation and refresh your motivation.