The number of Americans who love their job is dwindling. Research indicates that only 30% of workers in the U.S. feel truly engaged and inspired by their careers.
48% said they don’t even like their job, and 18% said they were actively disengaged at the office because they hate what they do. Based on these stats, you might think unhappy employees would simply get out and find a different job.
However, that solution would only suit a fraction of the many dissatisfied employees in the workforce. In actuality, the majority need to discover what’s preventing their engagement with their job and make an appropriate change.
It begins by identifying the cause of your lost motivation. Unmotivated employees are 10 times more likely to be dissatisfied and frustrated with their job.
If this applies to you, here are 4 reasons you’re losing motivation and how you can fix that:
1. You feel insecure in your job
Whether the company you work for is going downhill or you feel as if your boss is constantly breathing down your neck, job insecurity can take all the fun out of working. Your energy gets expended in circulating rumors with coworkers, sweating over visits to your boss’s office, and failing to concentrate fully on your tasks.
Solution: Communicate directly and frequently with your superiors to determine the state of your job and the company. If you know what’s coming, you’re more likely to work securely, even if you’re having to search for another job on the side.
“I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.” – Ken Venturi
2. There’s no vision driving your career choice
As much attention as we pay to it, money is really only a small portion of most workers’ motivation. Often, people are inspired to work hard because they have a purpose, and they hold a vision that leads them closer to success.
People like to feel that they’re progressing toward something bigger and better in their lives, or they’ll start to feel bored about what they do.
Solution: Set attainable goals for yourself and check them off regularly as you go. Your goals might include improved performance in the office or a change in your personal life that moves you closer to a happier, healthier you.
3. The people in charge don’t seem to know what they’re doing
When you believe the company owners or your managers are incompetent, you lose confidence in them. It’s difficult to perform your job with full vigor, and it’s easy to feel like work is a joke, when you find yourself in that situation.
Solution: Unless your boss approaches you for advice on how to improve his or her leadership skills, you probably shouldn’t offer any recommendations on how he or she can improve. At this juncture, you’re probably better off looking for a job with a boss you can get behind.
4. Your coworkers are unpleasant
Sometimes the pay and type of work don’t matter so long as you have a great set of coworkers. The people who work at a particular company often are the make-or-break factor in whether your job is tolerable, or even rewarding. When you’re stuck among unpleasant colleagues, it’s difficult to get sufficiently motivated to do anything productive.
Solution: If you don’t like the work or the pay, it may be time to look for another position. If you love the work and don’t want to leave just because a few people give you sour looks, change your attitude or work on conflict resolution within the office.
“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” – Oprah
The outcome of your efforts isn’t going to be certain, but it’s worth a try to keep a job you love.
What are some other reasons you might be losing motivation at work? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
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How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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