Our motivation can have a huge impact on so many different areas of our lives; from losing our passion for what to do next in our lives or careers, to discovering what really inspires us to set goals and plan our future, we all struggle from time to time. When we lose our sense of motivation, things that once were simple or clear can suddenly seem difficult or even impossible to face.
When we are feeling low or stressed, reconnecting with our motivations can seem even tougher. Motivation comes from within ourselves. It’s our purpose or reason for doing things – whether that’s running your own business, launching a new blog or committing to a new, healthier way of life. Stemming from our values and beliefs, the stronger and more defined these are, the stronger our basis for our motivation to grow is.
Having trouble understanding your own motivation? Try asking yourself these six questions to help get inside how your motivation works for you.
We all have different motivations to do things. There isn’t a right or wrong reason for our motivation but, generally, external motivators (like money, perceived success, praise or recognition) can be less powerful than internal motivators (like kindness to others or environmental consciousness).
We share seven simple ways you can assess your motivation, challenge your doubts, and get back on track towards your goals.
1. Ask yourself why
Take a breather and ask yourself why your motivation may be wavering. Have your priorities changed? Are you trying to essentially achieve the same thing, or have your end goals shifted? Mind mapping can help you to get your thoughts down in one place.
Reevaluating your project or goals can help you improve your productivity, as you refine what it really is you want to achieve. A lack of clarity or feelings of uncertainty can make us question what we are really trying to achieve, ultimately leaving us feeling more lost than motivated.
2. Embrace listing
When we become overwhelmed by the bigger picture, our energy levels can take a hit. If the task at hand seems too big and you find yourself spending more time worrying than facing things head-on, try breaking things down into smaller, easier to manage tasks.
If you’ve got a lot to do, or you’re feeling like you aren’t sure where to start, it can be easy to feel heavy and bogged down. If you already have lists that aren’t helping, try breaking tasks into even smaller multi-step lists. This can not only give you a small boost and a sense of achievement along the way, but it can also help you to track the progress you are making.
It may not feel like you have achieved a lot, but every step forward (however small) is one step closer to your goal. Studies have shown that our brains love having ordered tasks, and many of us perform better when we have a to-do list.
3. Get technical
If you’re not a fan of paper lists and want to stay firmly in the 21st century, there is a whole plethora of apps and websites (free and paid) offering software that can help. From making things easier to track on a day-to-day basis to looking at the bigger picture across your team and beyond, there are apps and sites that can help you organise your thoughts, goals, progress and more.
Trello can be great for teams or individuals to track project tasks, collaborate together and keep each other updated on their progress. Evernote is a good option for personal to-do lists and can be used in your browser or as an app. Looking for a way to stay in contact with colleagues while working remotely? Slack can be a great option for connecting on both a personal and professional level.
4. Be inspired
Motivation may come from within but inspiration can strike anytime, anywhere. Open yourself up to inspiration or begin actively pursuing it. Discover advice from creative, life and business coaches, as well as entrepreneurs and extraordinary individuals with these inspirational podcasts.
Take advantage of your commute time, or set aside just 30-60 minutes once a week to listen to motivational speakers, inspiring stories and tips from others in your field through podcasts, blogs or TedTalks.
If you’re looking for a good way to get your head in the game each day, The Daily Boost podcast offers new tips around daily life, personal and professional growth, reducing stress, setting goals, work-life balance and more. If you’re worried your motivation may be taking a bit of a hit due to confidence, Courage & Spice: The Podcast for Humans With Self-Doubt can be a great place to hear inspiring stories from those who have overcome mental health struggles to do big things.
5. Pause and reflect
Rediscovering or being motivated doesn’t mean going at things full-tilt without slowing down or stopping. Take time to reflect on your achievements. Look back on the last three months, six months, and the last year. How much have your goals and achievements shifted, progressed or changed over this time?
It can be easy to forget the little (and big) victories and milestones when it feels like we’re racing for some far-off end goal. Giving ourselves the space to remember and acknowledge how far we have come can be not only inspiring but humbling, too – and it may help you to rediscover new ways in which you hope to continue to grow in the future.
6. Be held accountable
Whether you are starting a new project or looking to reinvigorate an existing area of your life, share your goal with someone and ask them to help hold you accountable. It doesn’t have to be big or scary; ask them to check in to see how you are doing once in a while over a coffee or a quick chat.
When it feels like we are being held accountable, it can feel like we are getting a bit more of a push towards our goal. What we’re working towards is no longer just a dream, it’s something you’ve got to clearly figure out the steps towards achieving.
Try asking a friend, a colleague, or a partner; discover what works for you and try to stick to it. You may begin feeling more motivated once you have someone to share your progress and challenges with.
7. Consider coaching
Although our motivation can only come from us, a creative, business or personal development coach may be able to help you uncover why you’re feeling unmotivated, as well as to discover and tackle whatever may be draining your motivation. With the support of a coach, you may be able to identify and overcome obstacles that are holding you back, uncover and explore what is motivating you, and equip you with the tools you need to stay on the path towards achieving your goal.
Regular sessions with a coach can offer a sense of accountability, along with guidance in setting personal targets and goals. A coach may be able to help encourage you, increase your self-awareness, and discover how you can tap into your own motivations.