Most of us have a ton of dreams or goals, whether it's in our personal life or at work, but the hardest part is finding the drive to get to where we want to be. Luckily, there are a number of habits that can help you stay motivated, and making these a part of your daily life can help you reach the success you desire. It's perfectly normal to sometimes feel lazy or uninspired, but it's up to us to find ways to keep your motivation going.
"It is so common for people to experience a drop in motivation in life because our lives our cyclical," says women's leadership coach Amanda Sowadski over email. "But the reality is that there is a purpose behind a drop in motivation. This is really a chance to turn inward again to reassess what's working, what's not working, and how to of course correct it."
We all have different ways of reaching our goals, but there are certain helpful tips that can get anyone out of a slump. If you feel like you need a boost in your work ethic or just need a spark of creativity, consider adopting these 11 habits that can help you stay motivated as much as possible.
1. Taking Care Of Yourself
If you're not feeling your best, it's going to be hard to push yourself to be the best. "When you are nourishing your mind, body, and soul, you refill your own wellspring of motivation," says Sowadski. "It's so much easier to stick with eating healthy or keep working on that big launch at work when you come back to your own center and remove some of the external stress."
2. Figuring Out "Why?"
"If you want to stay motivated you've got to connect with the reason behind your effort," says Sowadski. "To really understand your 'why,' ask yourself 'What's important to you about your goal?' And then keep asking that question until you've gotten to the heart of the matter. Likely there is a very big reason you want to keep going, and knowing your motivating factor can give you that extra boost to stay focused on the prize."
3. Being Proactive
If you find that you're finding it hard to be inspired at work, take initiative and come up with some ideas for new projects for yourself. "Ask your supervisor to take on a new project that piques your interest and benefits your employer," says health coach Robyn Lanci over email. "You'll feel better about going to work and your boss will appreciate the initiative you took."
4. Starting Off Small
"When we decide we are ready to make a change, we can sometimes get a little ahead of ourselves and aim too big," says health coach Jill Ginsberg over email. "When we fail to live up to our lofty standards, it can definitely take the wind out of our motivational sails. Instead start small. Your goals should help you grow and stretch while still being attainable."
5. Spending Time Around Helpful People
We can't do everything on our own, so it's important to surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up, not bring you down. Sowadski recommends the following exercise: "Write down at least five people to be on your support team and give them each a role," she says. "For example you may have one friend who is great at giving you advice to keep you on track and another friend who is a great listener. You don't necessarily have to tell them what their role is, but this exercise helps you know who you should reach out when you are feeling less than your best."
6. Getting In Sync With Your Period
"Women have been gifted with a built-in down time," says Sowadski. "During our periods, we are supposed to be turning inward and reconnecting with our motivation. If we honor this ancient wisdom and slow down, we build up our motivation reserves. This doesn't mean life comes to a stand still, but it means we get an opportunity to check in with our minds and our bodies."
7. Celebrating Small Victories
One of the best ways to stay motivated is through positive reinforcement. "Too often we look at what we are doing wrong, instead of what we are doing right," says Ginsberg. "It’s no surprise then that many of us find it challenging to stay engaged in our goals when we rarely provide ourselves with praise. Instead, remember to celebrate each small success." Even if it's as small as finishing your to-do list early for the day, don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back.
8. Reframing Your Setbacks
Everyone experiences failures at one point or another, but it's how you deal with these setbacks that can help keep you on the right track. "Look at anyone who successfully stays motivated over long periods of time and you will notice they view their setbacks in a healthy way," says Sowadski. "Instead of seeing a very normal, and temporary drop in motivation, as a failure they realize that each perceived failure was a learning opportunity. We are often so hard on ourselves that we forget to appreciate what we have gained from all the work we've already done."
9. Visualizing What You Want
Take the time to paint a clear picture of what you want to accomplish, and visualize yourself getting there. It may sound kooky, but visualization can help you reach your goals by stimulating your brain. Research from the journal Neuropsychologia even found that practice something mentally is almost as effective as doing it in real life.
10. Working Towards A Reward
As part of your goal setting, come up with little rewards for each goal. Research from the University of Southern California and Harvard University found that even offering meaningless small rewards increases human motivation, according to Psychology Today.
11. Creating A Plan B
Things don't always work out the way we want them to, but preparing for bumps in the road ahead of time can help keep you on track. A study from American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that women who foresaw potential obstacles in their attempts to become more fit were more successful at reaching their goals than those who didn't prepare for problems along the way.
Everyone experiences drops in motivation from time to time, but knowing how to pick yourself up can make all the difference in your success.