How to Keep Motivated and Moving Forward

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There are many reasons why you might not be motivated to do a particular task or dive into a particular project. Before we dive into strategies to overcome a lack engagement for anything in particular…

First, check in with yourself.

You might have a lack of motivation because one of your needs has not gotten met.

If you are tired, hungry; if there’s an emergency in another part of your life, your lack of motivation is signaling that you need to put your attention somewhere else for the time being.

Stay Motivated by Taking a Break

This will also include taking breaks to clear your mind, getting some fresh air and getting your blood flowing. Regular movement doesn’t have to be a workout. It can mean maybe walking across the building to use the restroom. If you work from home, you can do a loop around the neighborhood or even do a quick but physical household chore.

This also includes taking days off to renew your energy. Whether it’s the weekend or a vacation. I often hear people say they feel a renewed surge of energy and motivation after taking a vacation. That’s because rest is required for motivation.

The Principle of Diminishing Returns

The principle of diminishing returns states that consistent effort without opportunities for recharging over time will produce fewer and fewer returns. If you were to work 5 hours straight without breaks you are likely your most productive in the first hour or two. By the third hour you might be flagging. By the last hour, while you might be producing some results, they are fewer and they take more effort on your part to produce.

If instead of working 5 hours straight you had taken a 10-minute break every hour, you would have produced more results in 4 hours and 10 minutes than you had in 5 hours.

Don’t underestimate the power of short breaks, days off, and unplugged vacations.

Only Say Yes to What Matters Most

I also find that I’m feeling completely unmotivated because I said yes to something that I didn’t want to say yes to. In this case I need to have a conversation with myself as to whether or not I need to have a conversation with the person I said yes to. I need to decide to stick with it or let the other person know I said yes when I should have said no.

Change your language. Saying or thinking I have to or I should, is not motivating. If you are going to do the task or fulfill the promise, change your language to I get to, I want to, or I choose to.

That being said, if all that’s going on is you’re feeling somewhat stagnant, here are some things you can try to boost your motivation.

Design Specific Goals that Are Intrinsically Motivated

The activity is a reward in itself. So, when you doing an activity, such as creating an episode of your podcast, tap into what that activity does for you just in the doing of it.

Drafting a podcast and thinking of the women who will benefit from this information puts me in touch with my purpose, my Why, and that fires me up. Even though, overall, writing and creating content is an energy drain rather than an energy booster for me.

If the activity is tied to an external factor, such as meeting a deadline or giving yourself a reward for completion, it will likely get done. However, check in with yourself and gauge how motivated were you to do the activity. Did you procrastinate? Did you have to expend a lot of energy to muster the motivation to getting moving?

If that’s the case, you likely would not claim that you were highly motivated.

Intrinsically Motivated First

I will admit, I am someone who is externally motivated to do what I say I’m going to do. If I agree to do a piece of project for someone it will get done because another person is counting on me. But I’m not motivated to do my best work if that’s all that is motivating me.

I will be much more motivated to excel at my work if the task is tied to something that is important to me. That may sound selfish but you have to be honest with yourself. If you were in this scenario, it may be your colleague’s success is highly motivating. That will be because of the relationship that you have with your colleague. But if that driver isn’t there, you can probably find something that is important for you to tap into.

Whatever the activity is that you’re resisting, check in and see what intrinsic value the task has for you.

Tie Your Task to an External Reward

Now that I’ve extolled intrinsic motivation, let’s give external rewards their due.

External rewards are great when you want to keep your momentum on a long-term project or initiative. To keep moving or keep the quality of your work high throughout a long initiative create milestone incentives throughout.

The key here is to make sure the incentives are tied to the results you want to achieve. There is a difference between speed and quality, individual contribution and collaborative effort. Know what you want to incentivize. And, make sure the incentive is in harmony with the result you are looking for.

For instance, if the goal is to get ahead on projects before the holidays hit, giving yourself extra time off before the holidays will work against your goal. In this case, buying yourself fresh cut flowers to brighten up your workspace or getting a massage on the weekend might be great rewards for you.

Or, if the team goal is to reduce spending this quarter, rewarding the team with an outing that costs money will work against your goal. However, depending on where your team is on hitting other goals, there may be some wiggle room to reward them with extra time off.

Incentivizing the right behavior with the right rewards can help you or your team stay motivated against those long-term initiatives.

If you’re getting value, can you share this episode?

I don’t know about you but I have discovered amazing music, books, TV shows, movies, restaurants, and podcasts for sure, because a friend told me about it.

Our network, made up of friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances, are a vital source of information and access to resources. If you find the content and suggestions from this podcast valuable, could you do me a favor? Could you share it with a friend or colleague?

Typically, the best way to share a podcast is to share a specific episode that made you think of the other person. You can share an episode right from your podcast app or you can send the link to webpage found in the episode description.

My goal is help millions of women to grow and feel calm and confident in their leadership. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me to do this. I thank you for helping the women in your life be the confident leader she is meant to be by introducing her to this podcast.

Break Your Work into Smaller Pieces

A big goal or project is overwhelming. The smaller you can break a goal down, the easier it is to keep moving.

How many times have you had something on your to do list and you procrastinated on it because you thought it was going to take forever to complete? Only to discover, once you did finally do the task, that it didn’t take nearly as long as you thought it was going to take.

If you’re like me your next thought might have been, “I should have done this a long time ago.” But instead of doing the task and moving on, you and I had to live with the burden of having it hanging over our heads for quite a while. It might have even started making us feel bad for not getting it done.

Your mind loves small wins

If we believe a task is going to take a lot of time and energy, our minds will come up with all sorts of reasons why we should do something else. The reason for this is our minds really, really like small wins.

Small wins in and of themselves are motivating. A day we are checking off a to-do list full of small task feels incredibly productive. Versus a day when we move 5 projects forward but can’t check anything off. That day might be experienced as unproductive.

Do you have days when you’ve been busy all day but can’t remember getting anything done.

The solution to this is to break whatever you are working on into smaller tasks.

How I Got Motivated to Produce Podcast Episodes

I’ll go back to the example of producing an episode of this podcast. I used to have a task called “create podcast episode” for my solo episodes. I would dread the day this was on. Typically Monday. It was not uncommon for that task to get pushed to Tuesday. Then to Wednesday and so on, only to complete the episode somewhere between Friday and Sunday.

That task has now become:

  1. set up folders
  2. gather the 3-4 research articles
  3. read the research articles
  4. draft an outline
  5. write the post
  6. write intro, midroll and outro
  7. record episode
  8. Save in folder and create task in Asana for editor

Then there’s an entire other list of tasks that involve graphics, WordPress, social media posts, hashtags, etc.

Progress is Motivating

It’s a lot more motivating to see progress versus seeing a task that lingers undone. You also get motivated when you see how close you are to getting done. I definitely am motivated to keep going when I realize that with just a little more effort I’ll be done, .

Breaking the overall goal of creating a podcast episode down gave my mind some ease. I don’t dread a day when I see gathering research and reading articles on my to do list. I get an enormous amount of work done that day by digging right into it, . I’m not distracted by trivial things as a way to reduce stress.

Be Social, Get Motivated

Talk about your projects and goals with other high performers and achievers, and find out about theirs. Exchange best practices and struggles.

There are so many benefits to exchanging information. You may get new ideas and solutions for your own work. Contributing ideas and advice will give you a confidence boost. You possibly can trade off the work that you struggle with, but the other person excels at, and vice versa.

Also, tapping into how our work output and performance impacts others can be highly motivating. Being a positive role model for your team can give you a boost of energy.

If you need help staying motivated, let’s chat!

If your last promotion left you feeling unstable in your leadership role, or you are looking to develop into your next role, I invite you to consider working with me. You will be support you through the transition, and confident in your leadership once again. Schedule a meeting to chat with me.

Going to ask your company to sponsor you to work with a coach? This checklist will help you to prepare for that conversation.

As always, I hope this was of value to you, and here’s to your success!


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