Have you ever dreaded doing what used to bring excitement and hope into your life? You’re not alone.
I remember waking up one day and wishing I could just go back to sleep, where I wouldn’t have to deal with my humongous to-do list. I felt guilty about my apparent laziness. Don’t I love what I do for a living? I asked myself. Is it time to change careers—again?
Instead of heading to my computer, I went for a long walk in the woods to mull over my feelings. The fresh air helped me clear my mind enough to realize the roadblocks that were killing my motivation.
Here are 7 motivation killers and how you can get rid of them so that you can regain the passion you thought was lost forever:
1. Being in a rut
If you can accurately predict what you’ll be doing every hour of every day, you’ve fallen into a rut. As master motivator Tony Robbins says, “one of the 6 basic human needs that make us tick is uncertainty/variety.” To bring variety into your life, you can brainstorm new projects or try different activities where you’ll meet new people.
In my case, I joined a couple of networking groups. As an entrepreneur who works in isolation, it was refreshing to interact with new business contacts who had a different take on what I could do to grow my business.
2. Seeing no results
Discouragement is a sure motivation killer. What to do? Instead of focusing on what is not working, focus on a solution to make things work.
To change my perspective, I remembered Einsteins famous quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, instead of continuing to complain about my failing advertising campaigns, I focused on the changes I needed to make to create successful ads.
Finding possible solutions to your problems will energize you and motivate you to keep going. Also, switching to solution-oriented mode will instantly bring variety to your days, which will further boost your motivation.
3. Comparing yourself to others
People tend to brag on Facebook. And while it’s nice to see your friends display their wins, it isn’t nice to feel that everyone you know seems to be doing better than you. Facebook envy is real, and it makes you feel that there must be something wrong with you.
But this isn’t a phenomenon exclusively related to social media. Negative emotions will arise every time we insist in comparing ourselves to others.
What did I do? I decided to compare my present achievements to what I had accomplished in the past. That’s when I realized I had made such amazing progress! Take an inventory of how much you’ve grown and learned throughout the years. This exercise will reignite your motivation!
4. Feeling overwhelmed
What do you do when you feel you have so much to do that you don’t even know where to start? You lose the desire to start in the first place. If you’re working on a large project or managing several responsibilities simultaneously, you’ll be susceptible to losing your motivation. In my case, my gigantic and never-ending to-do list was the culprit.
What to do? Break large projects into small chunks, and only focus on one task at a time. Lao-Tzu’s famous quote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step” has become common wisdom for a reason. If you feel as though your goal is manageable, your motivation will return.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene
5. Seeking constant approval
Doing something to meet someone else’s expectation is another motivation killer. That’s why most people who lose weight before a wedding, gain it right back. Also why you’ll tend to hate a career you’ve chosen to please your family or impress your friends.
I proclaimed my independence from the good opinion of other people and decided to just be myself. I felt free and much more motivated. Will you proclaim your independence as well? Take a few moments to think about the reason you’re doing what you’re doing, and make sure the only person you aim to please is you.
6. Receiving negative criticism
Nothing worse than hearing your hard work isn’t good enough. After posting what I thought was an epic blog article, I received social media comments that were less than nice. But instead of feeling demoralized, I told myself that I couldn’t let someone’s negative opinion stop me from pursuing my passion.
Move your attention away from the negative comments someone might have shared about you and your work. Instead, determine whether there is something you can learn from the negative feedback, and then choose to view negative criticism as proof that you had the courage to put yourself out there. You’re a hero, and heroes quickly regain their motivation, regardless of what others think or do.
7. Fearing failure
Anticipating failure is the strongest motivation killer. Why start if we’re going to fail anyway? Taking action feels like a waste of time. Besides switching your focus away from negative thinking, the best solution to overcome fear of failure is to achieve a small success. If you have tangible proof that you can be successful, your fear will slowly disappear.
For example, when I feel fearful thoughts creep in, I take quick action to do something that has a high probability of success within a short period of time. I’ll design a new webpage, create a new image for social media, or write a new blog article.
When I see the product of my efforts, I feel reenergized. Decide to eliminate the fear of failure from your life, and think of something small you can achieve today.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You will encounter roadblocks that threaten to kill your motivation, but if you remain vigilant and focused on your ultimate goal, you’ll be able to overcome every challenge. Next time one of these roadblocks appears in your life, remember that in the end, your level of motivation depends on only one person; you.