It happens to the best of us. Everybody goes through times where motivation is impossible. You may have a to-do list a mile long, a house that needs repairs, and a family waiting for dinner. Procrastination starts to take over. You start to fail at making time for your hobbies and fall into this trap of work and responsibilities. Yuck!
The human mind does not have an endless supply of motivation. Knowing your goals and prioritizing each based on what you want to do first is a good start. There are also plenty of self-help books and speakers who can give you further advice. The most recent book I read that changed my views on creative living was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Do some soul searching. Start (or in my case restart) a journal and write down your hobbies and interests. Do some research on each one. Try them out until you find one or more that you find yourself wanting to do.
Below are simple tricks to follow when setting goals and rediscovering motivation:
Set a Goal and Visualize
Professional athletes use visualization and sensing techniques before a competition. They focus only on their goal of a positive end result and nothing else. Use all five senses of sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound to visualize the end result of your goals.
Find Your Why
Write down at least three reasons why you want to achieve a goal. This helps you stay grounded and focused. Dig deep and look inside for those intrinsic values that make you want to go for it. Extra credit: Write your goals down in a journal or notebook. Studies show that when we actually write, the brain is more active and connects more to the process. Typing has become so second nature that the brain does not engage with the task at hand as well as the written word.
Break It Down
Once you have set your goals, break them down into smaller, measurable tasks and set deadlines. If you focus on the goal as a whole, you will become overwhelmed and likely to give up too soon. Establish steps you need to take to complete your goal and focus on each step one-at-a-time. Check in with yourself weekly or monthly to see if you are completing each step. Use a paper checklist and physically cross off each step as you go. This goes back to visually seeing completed tasks and gives you a sense of ownership of your goal.
If you are anything like me, I like to have a plan. I get frustrated when a plan has to change or something causes me to postpone a project or goal. Humans are predictable but they can also be messy. Be kind to any change that comes your way or if a plan did not work out. It is okay if something does not go right or you make a mistake. Acknowledge these changes or mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Mistakes can lead to great results.
Get Help When You Need It
You are not Superman or Wonder Woman and cannot do everything by yourself. As much as I like to think I can do it all, there are times when I need to consult a specialist for more information. Follow up with experts such as accountants, tax preparers, marketers, and consultants. It will save you time and any hassles or fees down the road. “Get the right tool for the right job.”
Check In Internally
There will be times where your motivation level is gone and you want to give up. It may be from criticism from others or fads that change opinions of your goals. Does that criticism or opinion really matter? Does it completely alter your reasoning for completing a goal? This also goes back to having your “whys”. Why do you continue to take steps towards this goal? Why do you continue to work towards this goal?
When the Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him most about humanity, his response was, “Man…he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Don’t forget to live and enjoy life!