Life rarely works out as planned. There are situations and circumstances in each of our lives that are out of our control and lead to moments of anger and despair. There are times when we start a journey to make big changes in our life only to end up failing miserably.
During those times, it’s hard to even function—much less stay motivated to push forward in our lives. It feels easier to give up and hide under the covers. Those moments and that failures hurt, but offers some of life’s greatest lessons if you can just push through the pain.
I was homeless. I dropped out of high school. I lost my father and grandfather. I chased a big dream and experienced devastating failure every step of the way. I used the five ways below, to find a way to stay motivated to push forward despite wanting to give up. I hope they can motivate you as well.
Here are 5 ways to stay motivated despite wanting to give up:
1. Take a step back and put things into perspective
In that moment, you’re full of raw emotion. You’re angry, depressed, and tempted to react physically. Before you do something you’ll regret later, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Spend a few minutes breathing deeply and focus on being in that moment with a clear mind. Calm down and refocus on what would be your best way to proceed. Realize that no matter how bad it feels, you can and will recover. You’re still alive and have a chance to make things better. Ask yourself if what you’re going through will even matter five years from now?
2. Focus on the things you are grateful for in your life
It’s been proven that an attitude of gratitude and its benefits are not a myth. When you focus on what you’re grateful for, it’s hard to stay focused on the negative. You quickly see that life has blessed us, and despite what you’re feeling, you have a lot in your life that could be much worse. In that moment of frustration, start listing off three to five things you are grateful for in your life. Let the gratitude replace those other emotions.
“Gratitude opens the door to the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universes. You open the door through gratitude.” – Deepak Chopra
3. Get lost in music you enjoy listening to
Science has shown music’s ability to calm and soothe human beings. There are songs each of us loves, and that has the power to brighten our mood. When you’re feeling frustrated or unmotivated, pull out your smartphone and find some music you enjoy. Spend 30-minutes ignoring all the things you need to do and let the music get your mind right.
4. Consume content that inspires you
We live in what is called the “Information Age.” Today, we can be inspired by podcasts, articles, books, and videos. The cool thing is that we can get all of this inspiring content through our smartphones. Your daily routine should include time to find the content that inspires you, and absorb and implement it in your life. In moments when you want to give up, go back to your favorite piece of content that inspires you.
5. Write down lessons that you can use later
As I said before, the moments that frustrate us can be times to learn. We learn valuable life lessons that only failure can teach us. If your life was perfect, and everything always went right, you wouldn’t develop the character traits you learn during hard times. After you have taken a moment of peace, and listened to music, start thinking about the lessons to be learned and avoided next time. Write down those lessons.
“If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.” – Zig Ziglar
As you read this, I’ll be speaking at conferences in Spain and Morocco. I have a full schedule of travel all over the world this year. I’m working on my third traditionally published book, and I live in Maui, Hawaii. I found a way to make it through the hard times and now wake up every day living my dream life. I feel confident you can, too.
Getting and staying motivated starts with consistently doing the “inner work.” You should spend time each day and week understanding yourself better and spend time becoming the best version of yourself. By consistently working on improving yourself, you’ll have the strength to battle self-limiting beliefs.
This is your life, and you only get one of them. At that moment that seems overwhelming, you have a choice to make. You can give up or choose to get back up and do whatever it takes to reach your life goals. Too many people will choose to give up—life is too short to join them.
How do you stay motivated during hard times?
A Step by Step Process That Will Help You Make the Impossible, Possible
We have all been there, looking at something and wishing we had it. The girl, the car, the money, the family, the lifestyle…but then we tell ourselves “Yeah, but that’s not me”. The people who get that are cut from a different cloth and we keep telling ourselves that until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We waste the wings we got believing the entire time that we can’t fly and that it’s impossible for us. We don’t even see our wings most of the time. (more…)
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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It’s Thursday, 8 PM. I’m relaxing at home, doing normal things, and scrolling social media. Tomorrow is a big day. There are lots of things to do with moving pieces of furniture because I’m moving to another city. On top of that, a repairman is coming to my house at 8AM, so I’ll have to get up early. (more…)
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