In need of a motivation boost?

Days are getting shorter, headlines are grim.

Most of us have days (or weeks) where we could do with a bit more personal motivation.

It can feel harder then ever to stay focused on what you want to achieve. Whether this is career changing, applying for jobs, or just getting your current job done.

There is no quick fix to raising your own motivation. It takes, time, effort and patience with yourself. Some things may help give you the boost of motivation you need, other things won’t.

It’s completely natural for motivation and confidence – in both yourself and your career – to fluctuate. You will have good days, bad days, and some days, you will feel like you haven’t made any progress at all.

It can feel frustrating and disheartening, but it’s important to remember there is always something you can do if you want to give yourself a bit of an energy boost.

Here are my top tips to create momentum when you just don’t feel like it:

Tip 1: Recognise and acknowledge your feelings

Stay self-aware and notice when you start to you feel demotivated or have low energy when it comes to your career. For some people, this is noticing more self-doubt or self-criticism appearing. For others, it might be self-sabotage through persistent procrastination.

Recognising and acknowledging you are having a low ebb of motivation helps us label our feelings, enabling us to take corrective behaviours to get back on track.

Try freewriting or keeping a journal to capture your ups and downs. Writing can have a significant beneficial impact on our psychological wellbeing. 

Tip 2: Remind yourself of your ‘Why’

What was it that originally caused you to pursue the career path you are on or aiming for? What is your end vision? Sketch out your ideal day in 12 months’ time and pin it up somewhere you can see it every day. Use it to inspire and motivate you, but not to criticise your progress with.

When your mind draws you to ‘past negative’ (e.g. Why haven’t I achieved this yet? Why have I been so slow?) shift it to future positive (How can I achieve this? What small step can I take right now?).

Negative thought patterns are common, and rather than fighting and engaging with them, aim to consciously turn your attention to the future, and what you want to do next.

Tip 3: Take a small step right now

Motivation is often thought to be a pre-requisite to taking action towards your goals. When we feel stuck, we site lack of motivation as a valid reason to explain why we haven’t done something. Many coaches believe this is a myth, and that we shouldn’t expect to feel motivated before we take action towards our goals.

If we push ourselves to spend a small amount of time on our goals (even 5 minutes) we’re more likely to either continue working on it for longer than we planned, or at the very least break the negative cycle of beating yourself up for your lack of progress.

Decide what micro-step you can take towards your goal and take it right now.

Tip 4: Do something for other people

Sometimes it can feel easier to motivate ourselves to take action to help other people. This is a great thing to do, and it can also boost our own mood, making us feel more motivated to do something proactive for ourselves afterwards.

Try a random act of kindness, texting a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while, or donate your money or time to a charity. Send positive vibes online by trying some anti-trolling.

Further reading

Do you ever feel like starting?

Why You Procrastinate (it has nothing to do with self control) – NY Times

100 ways to motivate yourself  or free audiobook on YouTube  by Steve Chandler

The  5 second rule: Transform your life, work, and confidence with everyday courage   by Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins on Why Motivation is Garbage

How to deal with rejection

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