A huge obstacle to goal-achievement is what I’ll call “goal burnout”. It’s the moment where one feels as if all motivation to complete a task or goal has vanished. A common example is senioritis for college students. They’ve been there for three or four years and are simply drained from all of the work, effort, and stress that has been on their plate. Even though graduation is right in front of them, it seems like it’s light years away. I know of a few that indeed gave up. That always blew my mind: why would you make it this far only to turn back when you have only a year or two left?
Everyone has the ability to be dedicated and passionate with their work. However, we can often lose motivation, destroying excitement, passion, and interest. How to you keep the energy going? Here are a few ideas to keep consistency as you move forward.
This might seem backwards, but when you have a goal that doesn’t have a set or at least a loose time limit (such as starting a small business) it’s easy to push progress to the side to deal with other life issues. Set intermittent goals you want to achieve that lead to the main goal and put a time limit on them. Write down the exact day which you want to achieve it. Pressure can create an environment that forces motivation upon us.
Stop Playing the Comparison Game
You might look around you and be completely confused how everyone else is very capably moving forward. It’s nice to try to emulate success, but the problem is that none of us are mind-readers. Most successful people go through the same fears, stresses, doubts, and burnout that we do. You might not see it, though. Instead of comparing yourself negatively, look at ways you can emulate the success of others. See how they made it work and learn. Focus on what you need to be doing and how you can achieve that.
A consistent work setting can create a stimulating environment. Monotony may set in over time, however, and it may be time to get some fresh air. Moving around, going to the park, a museum, or any other place you find energizing may help get you out of your slump. A change of scenery can often take the much-needed pressure off of you and in-turn bring you back to your old, ready-to-take-the-world-on self.
The Best Time to Work
All of us have a period each day where our mind is most motivated to complete a task. That may be when we first wake up or right before we go to bed, but figuring that out and setting aside that time can help us stay on track and keep the motivation pumping. You want the work you put into whatever your project is to be the highest quality; work on it when you know that you can provide that.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were your goals. Errors, screw-ups, missteps, and general unpredictability in life will happen. Prepare yourself to make mistakes. You can’t make every move perfectly. You won’t be successful instantly. Relax and understand that mistakes are not the end of the world. In fact, failure can often be a positive. Learning from your mistakes and how to handle them in the future will give you a leg up in your future endeavors. So be ready for things to not always go your way.
Of course, if your work desk is covered with disorganized and scattered papers, then it might be time to have a cleaning intervention. Keep your data readily available and easy to access. That might mean keeping a notebook ready, but keeping all information ready to go. Have times, dates, and other important information readily available. Keep track of all relevant data. Being disorganized in general shows a lack of motivation – keep yourself prepared for whatever may happen by avoiding this. Organization starts in the mind – maintain a schedule. If you have a consistent time which you work on your project, you may find yourself more motivated to complete it during those hours than if you were forced to hastily get the ball rolling.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Envision yourself succeeding. Watch yourself achieve your own goals and what that success will look and feel like. Imagine the end results of what you are trying to achieve – in your mind you must see no other option other than success. It’s very easy to get distracted from the main goal and to lose sight of it. Remember that even an inch forward is progress and that you are closer to the end. Force yourself to see what you want and tell yourself how much you want it.
The main secret to motivation I’ve found (as I mentioned briefly at the beginning) is consistency. Staying consistent to your original plan and you’ll find yourself able to power through even the most boring and mundane moments that you encounter. All of these play a role in that sense of consistency – stay organized, think little about others and more about what you are (or should be) doing, and keep your goal readily available in your mind. Start intelligently and you’ll keep it that way.