I have a confession. I am a serial starter.
I love to start new projects. I love to set a plan, get new gear for the project, and work out how and when I am going to achieve my goals.
What I don’t like doing is grinding through the project when success seems impossible or improbable. That’s the “unfortunate middle” phase we talked about in the second post in this series on goal setting.
Now we know how to move through this tough phase, but we’re still going to have to spend some time there inevitably. So how do we maintain our motivation when chances of success seem slim?Find out how to maintain motivation when chances of success seem slim.Click To Tweet
Here are 12+ motivational strategies to make you stick with your goals even when it seems like there’s a slim chance of success.
1. Focus on the Little Wins
Sometimes the wins are few and far between. Or extremely small. I get it. It’s hard to count the little wins, or even see them at times.
For example, I’m going to make another confession. I have made a total of 82 cents blogging. And I blog A LOT. I spend 4 hours a day on it on top of being a full-time SAHM. It absorbs nearly all of my free time and I make next to nothing doing it.
I also don’t have a ton of readers relative to other bloggers despite all of this work. But here’s the thing. I have some readers. And I have far more than I started with last year. I have readers who are involved, invested, and engaged with my content. I love my readers.
So that’s my small win, and I cherish it. That 82 cents is a small win too. Getting an article published on another bigger blog was a small win. My blog redesign (even if only a few see it) is a small win because it took so much time and effort but I saw it through.
Each of these small wins stacked together make me feel pretty good about my blogging journey. So I keep on, and reminding myself of these little wins is a powerful motivational strategy.Small wins stacked together make me feel pretty good about my journey and stay motivated. Click To Tweet
2. Get a Support Network
We talked last week about why you need a mentor to help you move through the unfortunate middle of a project. But you also need a support network to help you maintain motivation in that tough phase when you feel like quitting.
Find a group of like-minded friends who are ideally working on the same or a similar project or goal. All of you will want to quit at one point or another. But it is highly unlikely you will all want to quit at the same time. That way you can cheer each other on, buck each other up, and point out those small wins to each other when you’ve lost perspective.
For blogging, I’ve joined two “mastermind” groups on Facebook. It’s amazing how much support and motivation I get from seeing my fellow newbie bloggers’ grit and determination.
So if you can’t find a local support network, reach out online and find your tribe. The Reining in Mom Facebook page is a great place to start! Ask our tribe of Thrivers if there’s anyone else working on your goal who would an accountability partner. You’d be surprised at the results!
3. Stop Comparing Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle
Just stop comparing, period. This is the one drawback to joining a support network. You will inevitably see someone who has been working for less time achieve better results than you have.Stop Comparing Your Beginning to Someone Else's Middle. Just stop comparing, period.Click To Tweet
But here’s the thing. You have no idea where that person actually started. If your goal is weight-loss related, maybe they started with a far higher metabolism. If your goal is work related, maybe they’ve done this before or have other experience that gave them the edge. Maybe they have fewer responsibilities or life events going on that gives them more time to work on their goals.
Whatever it is, know that you have no idea why they’re doing better than you are. Just put your blinders on and focus on the next right thing for YOU to do for your goal.
4. Adjust Your Expectations
Dovetailing on not comparing, we need to adjust our expectations to fit reality. Don’t expect to achieve your goals as quickly as the person with 8 hours of free time and no other obligations.
Think about how long it actually takes to do something. Take losing weight, for example. How long did it take you to gain the weight? A year? More? Don’t expect to lose it in 6 weeks if that’s the case, especially if you don’t have 4 hours a day to spend at the gym.
Having expectations that are appropriate to your circumstances is a great motivational strategy.Having expectations that are appropriate to your circumstances is a great motivational strategy. Click To Tweet
5. Engage in Basic Self-Care
As I found out last month, nothing kills motivation faster than burning out.
While it may seem like time engaged self-care is better spent applied to your goal or project, it’s not. If you don’t do basic self-care, you won’t be able to apply any time to your project because you will burn out.
What does basic self-care look like to you? For me, it includes meditation, getting 7 hours of sleep a night, exercise 3x a week, and eating healthy without sugar.
6. Redefine Success
So maybe you didn’t get your book published, make your goal weight, or get your dream job. That doesn’t mean everything you did was a failure.
What did you learn in the process? How can that skill be useful somewhere else?
For me, I know that even if this blogging thing never takes off, I have learned so much about writing, marketing and building community that I can take that into anything else I end up doing.
7. Get Some Perspective
Sometimes our motivation is sapped because we’re mired in minutia. We need to step back and look at the big picture to regain our motivation.
Ask yourself why you wanted to do this big hard scary thing in the first place? Was it to feel better physically? Or to better yourself mentally? If you can see that you’re achieving that goal even if your main goal is still a distance away, then it will help you to stay motivated because what you’re doing has purpose.
8. Watch Your Self Talk
You are not a failure. You are not stupid for trying something hard and scary and outside of the box. You have not wasted anyone’s time or squandered your children’s youth by working on your goal.
You are your own best friend so don’t treat your friend that way. Make sure you’re cheering yourself on just as you would your partner or friend.You are your own best friend so cheer yourself on just as you would your partner or friend. Click To Tweet
9. Eat the Frog
Do the hardest thing, the thing that scares you the most, as your first task. Anticipation and fear of the unknown is the biggest motivation sapper around. So getting that scary task over with is a powerful motivational strategy.Fear of the unknown is the biggest motivation sapper. So eat the frog and get that task done first!Click To Tweet
If you let something scary fester, it will grow larger and seem more insurmountable with passing time. Just like ripping off the band-aid, just get ‘er done.
10. Do the 5-5-5 Every Night
Combine the motivational strategies getting perspective, staying on course, and eating the frog by doing the 5-5-5 every night. Write down 5 things you did well that day, 5 things you need to work on, and your 5 top priorities for tomorrow.
This will help you get perspective, course correct if you’re going astray, and really focus on what needs doing rather than what you’re afraid of doing. You’ll also identify your morning “frog” the night before so you’ll have no excuse but to eat it.
11. Chunk It
Breaking my projects down into manageable chunks has been a revolutionary motivational strategy. If I just write down: work on blog, or do social media marketing, then I’m totally overwhelmed. Each of those tasks involves about a million micro-tasks that could take eons to complete.
On the other hand, if I write down draft outline for new post, or find 4 videos to share on Facebook, I know I can do that. I also know roughly how long that will take and that I’m not biting off more than I can chew. Being specific keeps the overwhelm at bay.
12. Use the 80/20 Rule
Previously, I was like a dog after a squirrel. Every time I’d start to immerse myself in a task, something would dart in front of my vision in the form of an email or Facebook notification, and I’d totally break my stride.
The problem was that every task seemed to have the same importance and everything seemed equally urgent. This was totally unsustainable.
So I wrote down absolutely everything I could think of that I needed to do for my blog. I then numbered them in order of priority with each task getting its own number. No ties!
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. That means that your top 20% priority tasks are the ones that are going to move the needle on your project. You can pretty much let the other 80% languish and just focus on the top 20% because that is what matters.
When I did this, I had 30 tasks on my list. I highlighted the top 6 and those became my top priority. This was much more manageable and I saw great results.
13. Prepare for Motivation to Fail You
Every good project starts with so much enthusiasm that it’s hard to imagine motivation will ever fail you. But it will. Because every good project is also hard to accomplish. It’s challenging, And there will come a point when you can’t see the finish line and aren’t even sure you’re still on the race course.
Plan for this. Know that motivation will leave you and you will feel adrift. Pin this list for when that happens and get your groove back before you’re tempted to quit!
Don’t quit before the miracle happens. Every challenging project will sap you of motivation at one time or another. But if it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth the struggle! So push through with these tips and make it to the finish line!
How do you stay motivated when it seems like there is a slim chance of success? I’d love to hear in the comments!
P.S. Sharing is Caring! Please share this article with your friends on social media if you found it helpful!
P.P.S. This is part of my month-long series about goal setting and achieving. Check out the other articles in this series below:
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