Every business has its high and low periods. We all wish for our businesses to make a lot of money and succeed. Unfortunately, it can take new businesses a number of years before they finally see any major profits. As a business owner, you may feel discouraged at waiting for your business to take off because you’re working 12+ hours per day and seeing no results. This may make you want to give up and throw in the towel, right?
Do you believe in your business idea? If so, then you should not give up unless you have no other choice. If you have the financial stability to sustain your business and its operation, then keep it going for as long as possible. Some businesses take longer than others to get off the ground. You simply need to increase your motivation so that you’ll work harder toward making it a success.
The big question is how do you stay motivated as a business owner? Below are 5 highly effective strategies for staying motivated so that you don’t give up prematurely:
1. Create Goals
Business owners tend to lose their motivation whenever they fail to create goals for themselves. After all, if you don’t have any goals to work towards, then how will you ever get the motivation to do anything? You can’t expect your business to succeed if you don’t know what you want to accomplish with it.
There are three different types of goals to set. You can set short-term goals, mid-term goals, and long-term goals. Short-term goals take between 2 weeks and 2 months to complete. Mid-term goals take between 12 months and 24 months to complete. Long-term goals take over 24 months to accomplish.
For example, short-term goals could include purchasing supplies or leasing a building. Long-term goals could include expanding the business to a second storefront or achieving one million dollars in net revenue after 3 years. With goals like these, it is easy to stay motivated and push yourself to achieving them.
2. Avoid Things That Waste Your Time
It is so easy to waste time in the 21st century. We have access to smartphones, laptops, virtual reality devices, tablets, and smart “IoT’ technology that keeps us plugged into the internet. You can watch television and movies or listen to music with just a few clicks or taps. Unfortunately, this can limit the productivity of an undisciplined person.
If you find yourself watching too many pointless videos or browsing social media when you should be working, then do whatever you can to avoid visiting these time-wasting websites. When you wake up in the morning, you should immediately become productive and then continue that productivity until you go to sleep. If you must take breaks in between, then do so without subjecting yourself to a distraction. Read a book, eat your lunch, or anything that won’t make you lose track of time.
Does it seem like you work endlessly without any reward? That is how running a business feels to many new entrepreneurs. Don’t let this feeling drain your motivation because there are little rewards you probably don’t notice. Keep track of your achievements no matter how big or small. When your business makes its first sale, write down the date and time in a journal. When you receive your first positive comment from a customer, write that down too. By keeping track of the smaller achievements, you will notice a pattern of accomplishment. This will fuel your motivation to achieve much bigger things.
4. Set Deadlines
You must set a deadline for everything you want to accomplish. It is not enough to create goals if you don’t have a deadline for them. Otherwise, they’ll just be looming in the air without knowing when you’ll complete them. A deadline helps avoid procrastination and encourages motivation so that you can get more work done. This not only applies to you, but everyone else who works under you too.
5. Maintain a Positive Environment
Negativity is the killer of motivation. You cannot stay motivated and grow as a person if you have negative people in your environment. This applies to both your home and work environments, but especially in business. If you have employees who are not committed to the job, then get rid of them immediately. A positive environment makes you feel more enthusiastic so you’ll try harder. That is what you should strive to achieve within your organization.
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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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