“You can make excuses…or you can make progress”.
We’ve all been there. That point in your life when you no longer have motivation for a project you were once passionate about. Zero motivation, I like to call it.
Despite the challenge or goal that lies ahead of us, we just can’t seem to get motivated to take the next step. Well, don’t worry, today’s post is about exactly that – and how to work around those “zero-motivation” days, weeks, or months.
3 Ways To Re-Motivate Yourself
While there are a multitude of ways to get motivated when you set a new goal, I believe one of the hardest parts of reaching your goals is getting “re-motivated” as I like to call it. You know, when you were on a track with a goal or task you have to finish, but it just doesn’t seem as important to you anymore?
Re-motivating yourself is difficult for 2 reasons:
First, you have to be “de-motivated”, of course. De-motivation is so deflating as it feels like the purpose of your goal and the reasons behind your plan of action have disappeared. What was the reason you started again? Take a second to remember.
Remember that feeling of hope, success and desire to achieve you had at the beginning? Try your best to grab hold of that feeling again.
Second, re-motivating ourselves can be difficult because we’re prone to “sabotage thinking“.
That’s when the thoughts in your head completely crush your plans for success. You know what I mean, right? The doubt creeps in there, your plans aren’t clear and the reasons to work towards your goal get fuzzy.
In a short post, mental health professional Julie Beck provides a list of ways to keep yourself motivated. Recognizing and destroying sabotage thinking is high on the list. While most of them are ones I knew, I hadn’t really thought of sabotage thinking as a major obstacle, but it’s one to watch out for.
Here are three of my all-time favourite strategies for re-motivation:
Getting focused is one of the toughest parts of staying motivated. Well, maybe that’s not true right at the beginning, when you still have passion for the project you’re working on and haven’t faced the major hurdles yet. Halfway through? Nearing the end? If the main goals in your life are anything like mine, it gets harder as it goes on!
So, staying laser focused is my first tip. (If you need strategies on how to do so, check out my strategies to focus).
2. Celebrate the Small Wins
So, the key way I’m making it through my PhD when other priorities seem to lead to a more fun future (ahem, this blog, for example) is by celebrating the small wins.
Now, hold on:
Shouldn’t you celebrate the big wins? Well, of course. The small ones are important for motivation, too, though. Without them, you continue to lose yourself in work, and forget to set milestones, not only goals. For example, I set mini-goals for the article I’m writing, like completing a section. Then – reward time!
Does it seem a bit childish? A bit like giving a kid an ice-cream cone or half an hour of television time for finishing their homework? Sure.
So what? It works.
When you can see those little rewards in front of you, you seem compelled to follow them. Remember to tell your accountability buddy where you’re at, as well. (In case you’re wondering, that’s simply a friend who you ask to nag you and check in to see where you’re at. Social pressure helps sometimes!)
3. Imagine Your “Ideal Self”
Well, this one is actually a new motivation trick for me. At least, thinking about it in this way is definitely new. I’m all for visualizing the future and where I’ll be, but until reading a few articles this morning, I hadn’t thought of it as an “ideal self”.
Actually, I just read an article on language learning motivation that discusses strategies for re-motivating yourself to learn a language. Students in Korea learning English tried a variety of strategies, such as changing study habits, finding new, interesting media to watch on the topic, and imagining their ideal “English” self. That’s the part I found the most interesting. Imagining your future self. It really helps with visualization! (See Kim & Kim, 2017 if you’re interested in the study).
What’s your ideal self? How are you working towards re-motivating yourself towards accomplishing your goals? I’d love to hear from you – it is so incredible when we have people share their experiences with all of us here. I read and respond to every post! 🙂
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. Photography fans, the photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in Split, Croatia last month.
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