Jeanette wakes up in the morning, eyes squinting at the sharp light coming in through her blinds.
She thinks about all the goals she’s set for herself this year—because she had promised herself this was going to be the year to make some major business moves.
She groans again.
Those goals she was so excited about at the start of the year have now become distant dreams.
She’s made some progress on them, but not a lot. And, nothing seems to be going right.
She feels like a failure. And she feels stuck. She’s tired, drained, and frustrated.
Have you ever had a day like this?
I know I have.
But you know what?
It’s completely normal to have a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month. Heck. Even a bad year.
Sometimes we can bounce back from these setbacks easily, but other times we can feel totally helpless like Jeanette.
If you’re struggling to keep moving on your goals and dreams, then don’t fret.
The following 3 self-motivation techniques are ones I often use to stay committed to my goals in the face of crippling defeat, whether real or imagined.
Read on to learn how to keep yourself motivated when nothing feels like it’s going your way.
Flood Your Life with Inspiring Things
Inspiration is around you all the time, waiting for you to pick it up like a pretty pink flower in a sea of green meadow.
The thing is, when we’re not feeling our best, everything feels 10x harder.
Inspiration can be in plentiful supply, but you might have a tough time finding it, even if it’s waving its hand at you screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!”
So, what to do?
Well, you need to flood your life with inspiring things—anything that would normally fill you with joy and energy.
One of these inspiring things could be the spark you need to get out of your funk and re-motivate yourself.
Once I press play, I don’t necessarily feel an instant spark of inspiration (it’s not magic after all), but as I continue to listen, something happens.
I start to feel less funky. I start to feel a little bit like myself again.
And so, motivating yourself isn’t necessarily about taking big risks or doing something crazy.
It’s more about going back to your roots, and taking a small step in the right direction over and over again until you find what’ll unhook you from your stuckness and inspire you once more.
Get Yourself an Accountability Partner
If you flood your life with inspiring things and you find your inspiration to keep on with your goals—great!
But sometimes you still need a bit more to keep yourself motivated. I get it.
And so that’s where an accountability partner comes into play.
I am all about accountability. I think it’s one of the most important skills you need to cultivate and exercise as a leader.
Because without accountability, we will have a difficult time making significant progress toward our dreams.
We can set all the goals we want and be filled with tons of energy and inspiration, but it’s all too easy to get stuck, succumb to self-doubt, and stop making progress.
And so, that’s why I keep my accountability partners close by.
My accountability partners help:
- Keep me honest.
- Motivate me when the going gets tough.
- Ensure that I’m remaining committed to my goals and the pursuit of my dreams.
They check-in with me to see how I’m doing more generally, and they also check-in to see how I’m doing on the goals I’ve set.
But most importantly, my accountability partners do not judge.
They may offer critical feedback, but they do not aim to harm; their goal is to support me, and I support them in the same way.
It’s an accountability partnership, really, a two-way street.
And so, when you’re having trouble keeping yourself motivated all on your own, an accountability partner can help set you back on the right path.
Use this handy list of questions to help you identify your accountability partner today:
- Who supports your dreams no matter how crazy?
- Who listens to you when you share your most vulnerable moments?
- Who can you turn to when you have an issue?
- Who do you call when you’ve made a mistake and need help?
- Who knows you sometimes better than you know yourself?
If the same name or couple names come up as answers to these questions, then go ahead and ask them if they’ll join you on your accountability journey!
(Self-Care Sidenote: If you’re really struggling to feel better, please know that there are many psychologists out there ready to help you work through whatever it is you may be experiencing. Find someone to talk to in your area today.)
Reflect on Why You Started
At the end of the day, we’ve chosen our goals and dreams for a reason. Or maybe, they’ve chosen us.
Whatever way you slice it, there’s something that sits at the very foundation of our motivation, and it’s your why.
It’s the reason you’ve set yourself on a particularly ambitious path toward your dreams.
And it can be part of the reason you feel let down by a bad day because you somehow think you’re failing to achieve your why in the process.
But our bad days can also easily obscure our why because they entice us to self-critique ourselves like crazy, nit-picking every single little thing that’s not good enough.
Your job is to push yourself out of this negative mindspace.
You can do this by using inspiring things and an accountability partner to support your self-motivation.
But you can also slow down and dig into some self-reflection to rediscover your why.
Revisit it as many times as you need to so that you can firmly remind yourself of your purpose—it’s why you started whatever you’re doing, after all.
The bad days might get you down sometimes, but you must never allow them to swallow up your why.
It’s the engine that’ll power you through your darkest days.
And it’s what’ll help you see the soft morning light coming in through your blinds in a fresh and motivating way.
Jacqueline M. Baker
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