You guys, we've almost tackled the first whole month of 2016! This means two things could be happening right now: You're either killing it with your goals and becoming an industry leader, or you're already looking for ways to stay motivated at work for the remainder of the year. No judgement either — we all know how rough that comedown is from the first week high of "new me" promises and goal-packed to-do lists. But now that the last of the confetti is swept away and the sequins are retired till next year, you're starting to slide back into your old 2015 ways and want to pump the breaks on the old unmotivated habits. The good news is, being inspired and excited about your work goals doesn't have a shelf-life of a couple of January weeks. With a couple of easy to follow tips, you can keep that enthusiasm and drive all year long. All it takes is appreciating and enjoying your surroundings, believing in your own skills and contributions, and not over-working yourself to the point of burn out. It doesn't sound too hard to follow, right? Below are seven tips on how to stay motivated at work all year long.
1. Push Yourself Right Out Of Your Comfort Zone
If you keep doing the same tasks, jobs, projects, and routines you always do, chances are you'll quickly lose your motivation and slip right into a comfortable rut. in order to avoid that, devote some time each month to tackle something that takes you out of your comfort zone.
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, president of Equinox, pointed out to Fortune, "If you always do work that your comfortable with that’s fine, but eventually you will start to lose your motivation. Sometimes actually pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone can be inspiring."
If you're a writer, try pitching a story for a bigger publication, if you're a project manager ask if you could try an innovative campaign, if you're an art director try working on a side project that's completely different than the one's you do at work. Get your hands around something new and challenging, and you'll keep your drive and your curiosity going.
2. Commit Yourself To Do The Best Work You Can Possibly Do
You know those weeks where you coast through work and just barely make it before deadlines? It's time to stop those — that mediocrity is exactly what's draining you. Instead, channel your most excited, dedicated Leslie Knope and come into your nine to five ready to knock whatever goals you have straight out of the park.
Siimon Reynolds, performance coach for CEOs and contributor to Forbes agreed, "I have found that by simply making the decision to do everything as well as you can (in the time available), you not only get better results but your self respect, self image and personal motivation skyrockets." Commit yourself to be the kind of professional you'd be inspired by, and you'll see changes.
3. Take Mini Breaks, And Often
If you power straight through work for hours and hours, you're going to hit a burn out point that's going to be hard to bounce back from. Instead, career writer Yun Siang Long from job development site Careerleaism suggested taking a 10 minute break for every 50 minutes that you work in order to keep yourself refreshed and motivated.
Long elaborated, "For me, what works is taking a quick 10 minute break for every 50 minutes of work. Even machines needs rest once in a while." But use those 10 minutes wisely — listen to a motivational podcast, get creative, catch up on an industry leader's blog, get yourself a fancy cup of tea that'll get you excited to keep working — use this off time as your pump-up time.
4. Have Moments Of Appreciation Sprinkled Throughout Your Day
Create special moments throughout your day that'll have you smiling and feeling happy to keep on working. They don't have to be big — just focus on making the little things extra special. For example, instead of brewing black tea, get yourself a box of fancy, fun flavors. Decorate your space with prints that make you smile, drink coffee out of a pretty cup you got at an Anthropologie sale, or buy yourself a planner that makes tackling to-do lists fun. These little bursts of "aww yes" throughout your day will keep you feeling motivated.
Jessica Stillman, career and entrepreneur writer, told career development site The Muse, "So, for example, if you’re a coffee lover, design yourself a little ritual for when you prepare your beloved brew, the perfect way, in your favorite cup, and you’ll squeeze more joy out of one of life’s small pleasures." When you stay happy, you stay motivated.
5. Repeat After Me: You're Unstoppable
You might fail, you might burn out, you might want to throw in the towel and just nap all week, but keep this in mind: You're unstoppable. It doesn't matter how many snags you run into, as long as you remember that you're an unstoppable powerhouse, you won't give up.
Reynolds agreed, "I believe that by changing your view of yourself to ‘unstoppable’, then when you experience the inevitable obstacles of life you remain positive and effective." Get that war paint, you're stickin' to this.
6. Be Your Own Cheerleader
When you come across a rough patch at work or a super stressful month, it can be easy to come home feeling drained and defeated. Usually when times get tough we have to resort to skimming through our work, and you don't feel like you've put your best foot forward. In order to keep your motivation high, become your own cheerleader. Remind yourself exactly why you're in your line of work, and what about yourself makes you kick butt in it.
Reynolds offered, "...spend two minutes every morning reminding yourself of why you are (or can become) superb at your career. Get a pad and pen and just write all the reasons why you’re damn good – your experience, your training, any positive personality attributes, etc." Once you list down how creative, innovative, and clever you are in what you do, you'll be hard pressed not to believe in it.
7. Create "What I Accomplished" Lists
How awesome does it feel to push back from your desk and see your to-do list satisfyingly marked up and crossed out? When every little thing gets ticked off and completed, it deserves a little shimmy in your computer chair. But then there are days (or weeks) where you feel like you're working long hours but not really getting any closer to your goal. To put it all into perspective, leadership expert Erica Dhawan from career development site The Muse, suggested making a list. Take a moment each day to create a "what I accomplished" list that goes over which big tasks you finished.
Dhawan explained, "If you’re feeling like you’ve been spinning your wheels, try this: At the end of each day or week, make a “Got Done” list (the opposite of to the to-do list!), where you outline all of the tasks you've completed." Seeing how much great projects you're making leeway on and how much you've accomplished in a busy week will keep you wanting to only do more.
Staying focused doesn't have to be impossible or a drag — keep your mind centered on the positive, and you'll be surprised how fast things perk up!
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