By David Joel Miller
Do you keep running out of motivation?
At the beginning of a new project or a new relationship, we all think we have plenty of motivation. Down the road, the motivation runs out and the forward progress stops. Here are some reasons you may be short on motivation and ways to overcome those obstacles.
What is keeping you from staying motivated and how do you overcome these obstacles?
The task is bigger than you thought.
Ten minutes jobs often take all day. At the start, we think things will be easier than they really are. When launching out on a new endeavor spend some time planning all the parts and how long each one will take. Having a written plan can reveal some of the steps you are not thinking of and can help you get a more realistic idea of how long something will really take.
Doing one large task straight through may be more than your daily ration of motivation will cover. Try breaking the task up into “chunks” bit size portions. Do a small part of this larger task each day and make it a point to notice the progress you are making.
Underestimated the time needed to complete this project reduces motivation.
If you underestimate the number of steps involved in getting this project completed it is likely that your time element is way off. Having taken a closer look at the steps involved you can devise a more realistic plan.
Wearing yourself out reduces motivation.
Failure to do good self-care and reward yourself along the way can take all the joy out of moving towards your goal. Trying to do too much too quickly is a formula to use up all your motivation.
Try to work in bursts with frequent breaks or days off in-between.
Lack an essential skill interferes with your motivation.
Not having the needed skills makes everything you do harder. In life, as in business, we sometimes need to add more skills to our repertoire. Developing a needed skill can result in accomplishing more in less time.
When things are not working, your working harder will wear you out while accomplishing nothing. Do not try to push over a stone wall by pushing harder. Get a bigger bulldozer.
If you are short on motivation you may need to work on yourself.
If you have “anger issues” or suffer from depression, an unhappy relationship, substance abuse, or another personal problem you need to get help for these issues.
Take a good look at yourself and you may see it is those personal issues that you have avoided working on that are interfering with your progress. Remove those obstacles and your motivation can spring back.
Develop the most essential tool for very job – you.
It is hard to stay motivated if you are working now for something later.
It is hard to stay motivated now when all the payoffs are way off in the distance. Set small goals along the way and reward yourself as you reach them. Breaking up the task into its elements makes it more manageable and giving yourself small rewards along the way keeps you motivated.
You won’t stay motivated if your heart is not in the task.
If you are doing something to please another and this not what you want, you will continue to run out of motivation. Just because you “can” do something does not mean you “should” do it. Pick goals in life that are consistent with who you are and what you want. Look for things that you feel passionate about and your motivation will stay high more of the time.
Small rewards will not motivate you.
Low motivation comes from having rewards at the end of projects that are not big enough. Make sure that the goal you are working towards really matters to you. Do not set your sights on getting a particular job if you do not want to work there once they hire you. Avoid getting a degree in something that you will not enjoy doing, no matter how well that field may pay.
Especially avoid going after a partner just because they are popular and other people want to them. For rewards to motivate you then need to be the kind of rewards that are special to you.
Not liking the process interferes with motivation.
You may want to lose some weight but if you hate the gym or find the exercise you are doing painful you will not keep it up. Pick life activities that you enjoy doing and the work will motivate you. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Look for people you love to be around and you will stay motivated much longer.
Using pain to motivate you won’t work.
Pain only works to motivate people to avoid the activity. If you want the result you can put up with the hardships along the way because you use the reward at the end to motivate you.
Trying to beat yourself into motivation is setting yourself up for failure. Our brains are wired to avoid pain and the more you beat yourself up trying to make yourself do something, the harder it will become to stay motivated.
Do not use pain to try to force yourself to be motivated.
Have you experienced difficulty staying motivated? Have you used any of these motivation-enhancing methods? What other ways have you found to keep yourself motivated and moving forward?
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books
Try these tips to improve your motivation.