Do you ever come up with an idea, get really excited about it and then find it on the chopping block in a few days?
Perhaps you got intimidated by the competition or you told yourself you couldn’t it. Whatever the case, keeping the momentum and motivation to work through what’s important to you can be difficult.
Surprising Secrets to Staying Motivated
Today I want to share 3 surprising secrets that you must keep in mind in order to stay motivated.
Realize Your Limits
When you start feeling unmotivated you get down on yourself. You look around and think, “well how do all these other people do it? They must be so much tougher than me.”
That’s not the case. We as humans all have a limited willpower. Fooling yourself into thinking you can simply “push through” unmotivated feelings will only cause you more strife.
In a famous experiment by Stanford professor Baba Shiv, he asks a group of people to remember a two-digit number and another group to remember a seven-digit number. Afterwards, they were given two choices of snacks, either cake or fruit. Those who had to remember a seven-digit number chose cake 63% of the time, rather than the 2 digit group who chose cake 42% of the time.
What this study proved is that when our willpower has been worn down, it makes it that much harder to make good decisions and keep on persisting.
Now that you understand your limited willpower, use it to your advantage. Figure out which time of the day is more productive for you. If you’re not sure, measure it.
Simply set an hour aside in the early morning and one in the evening and see how much you get done and compare the two. You may realize that you’re just not a morning person, and that’s fine. Embrace it!
Now you know you should schedule doing your work at night and you’ll feel better about it. Use your mornings to do things that you enjoy like sleeping a bit more or meditating.
Create A Goal Bigger Than Yourself
It always helps to look towards a mission bigger than yourself. The top, innovative companies know this, that’s why they always have a meaningful goal or mission statement. At Google for example, it’s “don’t be evil.” It helps employees rally around a common goal and see that their day to day work is tied to something much more important.
Take a tip from the top dogs and do this yourself! If you’re just starting a business you can create a goal of something really meaningful, like helping others solve their pain points or perhaps you’ll commit a portion of your profit to charity.
When times get tough and you feel like giving up, simply channel your goal that’s bigger than yourself. Think of all the positive ways you can impact the greater good of society and sometimes that’s all you need to encourage you to keep on going.
Make It A Habit
Due to our limited willpower and the number of things we need to get done in a day, it’s helpful to make your new project a habit. Break down what you want to achieve into micro-goals then find ways to create a ritual for when you will get stuff done.
For example, I just started a blog and I make it a point to work on writing every Saturday for at least 4 hours. I have it scheduled on my Google calendar and I have a ritual of grabbing a coffee, sitting at my desk at the same time every Saturday. I’ll admit, the first few Saturdays were really tough, but now I’m so used to it since I’ve made it a part of my life! It’s easy to say “no” to friends who invite me to lunch or going out because it’s hard-wired into my life’s routine.
Committing and setting a specific time and day to work is a great way to get clear on your life’s priorities and it also helps you maximize the time you’re spending away from work. I now enjoy my Sundays so much more because I know that I put in great work on Saturday so I feel guilt-free when I’m enjoying a “lazy Sunday.”
Check out how to manage your attention and managing time will take care of itself.
Staying motivated can be really difficult, but by understanding your limits, having a goal bigger than yourself and creating positive habits you can get through the tough times.
Do you have any suggestions on staying motivated? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.