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5 Steps To Stay Motivated In Times Of Uncertainty

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staying motivated in times of uncertainty

It was a Saturday morning, sunny and relatively warm even though it was the middle of winter. Driving toward the highway, I reminded myself to rehearse my elevator pitch a few more times before that morning’s networking meeting.

But before I could rehearse my pitch, I spotted a “Going-Out-of-Business Sale” sign at one of my favorite shops. I sighed. Another business who had failed! I thought of the somber statistics I had read on several Internet sites: on average, 8 out of 10 businesses are doomed to fail. A chill settled in my gut.

What if my business became one of the losers? What I failed? And if I had such a high chance of failing, was it even worth it to spend my Saturday at a networking meeting? Why bother? That’s when I realized that the uncertainty of my future was putting my motivation—and confidence—at risk.

If you feel that your uncertain future might be hurting your motivation, you might benefit from these 5 steps:

1. Create a list of positive and negative scenarios

I wrote 5 possible scenarios, ranked from “Life Is Perfect” to “What a Nightmare!” My immediate reaction to the worst-case scenario was that the chances of it happening were ridiculously low, which made me feel safer.

You, too, might realize that a disaster scenario, while probable, is not the most likely to materialize. This encouraging realization will allow you to keep going with a much more positive mindset.

See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” – Dalai Lama

2. Write the possible consequences of each scenario

Listing all possible scenarios isn’t enough. I expanded my list by imagining what would happen if each of the 5 possible scenarios came true. This objective assessment was a powerful way to pinpoint potential obstacles to overcome in case of a least-desirable scenario. It was also a gauge of the delightful results I would realize if things went according to plan.

Start with the worst possible scenario and work your way up to the best. If you end this exercise by imagining the wonderful life that awaits you if you’re successful, you’ll spark positive momentum to skyrocket your motivation.

 

3. Devise a plan to avoid possible problems

Lack of foresight is one of the most common precursors of failure. Knowing this, I listed all the action steps I need to take to avoid the 2 worst case scenarios. Because I knew the problems that could potentially arise, I was in a great position to prepare for these challenges and avoid them altogether.

It’s your turn to be proactive. Create a comprehensive list of action steps you will follow to avoid possible issues in the future, and leave time in your schedule to execute these action steps. Seek outside help if you need it.

Being prepared will not only minimize your chances of failure, but will motivate you to keep working hard to achieve what you desire.

 

4. Create a worst-case scenario strategy

Having an exit strategy is a key to succeed in business—and in life. I asked myself, “What will I do if the worst happens?” I created a detailed “Plan B” that would also allow me to use my gifts and live my passion.

What would you do if things went wrong? Don’t focus on the unwanted results. Instead, place your attention of alternatives that would, in the end, also lead to fulfillment and satisfaction. Keep the end goal in mind but also keep an open mind.

This is a powerful exercise that will temper your feeling of uncertainty. You will feel safe and encouraged. You’ll know that a deviation from your original plan is not a failure. Instead, it’s an opportunity to explore a whole new set of possibilities.

 

5. List the times things worked out exactly the way you wanted them

To no avail, I tried to find a time in my life when my future was 100% predictable. That’s when it hit me. Life is never certain, and that’s what makes it exciting!

Remember that you have learned and grown as a person because of life’s endless surprises. Some of those surprises will be pleasant, and some will not. But in the end, you are who you are today as a result of your life experiences.

In a few words, certainty is an illusion. This is a profound realization that will help you look at the future without fear.

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill 

Follow the 5 steps above to keep your motivation reserves healthy and plentiful, and continue taking daily, focused steps to design a successful and fulfilling life!

How do you stay motivated in times of uncertainty? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Cloris Kylie, Marketing MBA, helps coaches, consultants, and service-based professionals to attract the right clients so that they skyrocket their impact and revenue. A sought-after speaker, trainer, and author, Cloris has been featured on various television and radio shows, including the #1 podcast for entrepreneurs, "Entrepreneur On Fire." Cloris's articles have been published on websites with millions of followers. Visit her website here https://www.cloriskylie.com and get her free eBook to build authority and grow your audience here: https://myplatform.info/free-pdf-ebook.

Motivation

How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals

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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.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

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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Motivation

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Why “No Pain, No Gain” Is More Powerful Than You Realize

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