If you’ve ever tried to tackle a long-term goal, it’s highly likely that, at some point, you hit a wall. Your solid weekly weight loss suddenly plateaued. Your clean house was ransacked by tiny humans you created. Something unexpected blew up your budget after you worked so hard to stay on track. Your side hustle had you stumbling over next steps. Your organized home became a mess again.
Regardless of the problem, we all struggle at times with losing motivation. The excitement wears off, the unknowns pile high in front of you, and overwhelm sets in. Suddenly, the goal seems far off or totally unattainable. You find yourself thinking, “I have no motivation right now” or “I just don’t know where to start.” Maybe the opinions of others have created doubt in your mind and now you’re questioning your path, or if your dreams are even attainable.
If you find yourself wondering where that motivation and fire went that you used to have, take heart. Here are some creative ways to jumpstart your goals and help you reignite your motivation!
1. Remember Your Why
What made you want to start this goal in the first place? Were you sick of never having enough money to make ends meet? Tired of seeing a mess everywhere you turned? Wanting to journey down a new, more creative path? Something sparked your interest in pursuing your current goal. Remembering why you started down this path is often a big motivator in helping you get back on track.
When I first started becoming interested in minimalism years ago, my why was to have a home where I could host company at a moment’s notice. I was sick of cleaning the house for hours just so we could entertain friends or family. I wanted our home to be a comfortable spot to gather and I didn’t want to have to spend hours tidying it up so that it was presentable.
2. Celebrate Small Successes
You might not be where you want to be, but you’re further along than where you started. Spend some time writing down your wins. When motivation is scarce, revisit your list and be encouraged at how far you have come.
When I first started blogging, I remember being so excited that someone I didn’t know found the Slow Motion Mama Facebook page and liked it. Once my site went live, I was shocked when someone from Norway visited my blog. Someone across the world found & read my words! I could hardly believe it.
Track your accomplishments, no matter how small. All those little successes add up, and it’s amazing how they help you regain your motivation.
3. Action Creates Motivation
We’ve all probably heard that the key to working out is getting dressed, lacing up your shoes, and taking the first few steps. You can give yourself permission to quit once you have done those things, but 9 times out of 10, you won’t quit because you’re already moving. The action of getting ready to workout has created the motivation to do it.
This same principle can be applied to any situation. Set a timer to clean for five minutes. Allow yourself the opportunity to quit once it goes off. More often than not, you’ll keep going.
Grab a bag and begin decluttering the space you’re in. Give yourself permission to quit once you have gathered X amount of items or you have filled the bag. I bet you’ll continue even after you reach the goal. Why? Because often getting started in the hardest part.
Once you put your body in motion by engaging in an action, motivation often follows. The trick is to just start!
4. Surround Yourself with Inspiration
Spark your motivation by regularly being inspired. One of the most successful spurts of decluttering I had occurred the first week of January, 2019. It was a culmination of two things: starting my #decluttertheyear group on Facebook and watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Surrounding myself with constant reminders of my why helped me rid our home of nearly 700 items in one week!
Consider what inspires you and regularly take a dose. Maybe it’s reading success stories of others who have gotten out of debt or looking at pictures of homes that have been streamlined and decluttered on Pinterest. Find a podcast or two that inspires you to get moving and take action.
5. Do It Daily
Newton’s First Law of Motion says that an object at rest will remain at rest until a force is acted upon it. We also know that it takes more force to move an object that is at rest than it takes to move an object that is already in motion. So what does this have to do with motivation? It’s easier to motivate yourself to accomplish something when you are already moving toward a goal. It’s less challenging to work on a task a little bit each day than it is to work on a task you set aside a week ago, a month ago, or a year ago.
In my journey to launch my blog, I stopped and started three times. Every time I took time off, it became harder and harder to motivate myself to pick it back up. Time has a way of convincing you that you’re too far removed from the process, too far behind to ever catch up. It was much harder to write a blog post after six months off with a new baby than it was to write again after a few days off.
To avoid the motivational struggle of restarting, create a routine of doing something daily to work toward your goal. A routine will also automate your actions because the daily tasks will simply become part of your day.
If you’re trying to stay on top of your finances, track your purchases and expenses daily (I use Mint for our monthly budgets). If you’re focusing on decluttering, create a goal to get rid of at least one item daily. If you’re trying to create a side hustle, commit to working on it daily for at least 15 minutes or more.
Whatever your goal, incremental, daily tasks focused around that goal will help you keep your motivation toward accomplishing it.
6. Focus on Others
If your daily mantra of “I have no motivation” is getting you down, consider shifting your perspective to how accomplishing your goal can benefit others. Scientists conducted a research study on motivation and the effects of exposure to beneficiaries. They discovered that the group of employees that had direct contact with the beneficiaries of their work demonstrated significantly greater persistence and job performance than the group that did not. In other words, the employees that had a direct connection with those who benefitted from their work were more motivated to be successful in their jobs. Knowing they were making a difference in someone else’s life made a difference in their motivation at work. If you are lacking motivation, consider focusing on how your work will benefit your audience or those around you.
7. Experiment to Create Novelty
Sometimes the monotony of the daily grind is enough to zap your motivation. If the mundane is getting you down, consider injecting some novelty into your day to jump-start your motivation. A great way to introduce some novelty is through experimentation. Try incorporating a new challenge into your journey to your goal.
When I was pregnant with baby #2, I felt an urgent desire to declutter our house and get it in shape. I got the idea to #decluttertheyear and became highly motivated to tackle my long term goal. While I had been decluttering regularly, this new annual decluttering challenge was like an injection of adrenaline into my efforts. It created novelty and increased my drive to gain results.
Consider simplifying your wardrobe by participating in a Project 333 challenge. If saving money is your current goal, try a no-spend challenge for a week or more. You can discover experiments online for virtually any goal. Determine what you want to accomplish and then find a challenge that gets you excited to tackle it!
8. Imagine the End Game
Think of what life will be like once you’ve accomplished your goal. Envision the freedom you will have when you are out of debt. Imagine the serenity and peace you will feel in your home once you aren’t being suffocated with stuff. Picture the freedom you will have when your side hustle becomes your full-time gig. Whatever you’re working toward, keeping your eye on the prize and visualizing your success is a great way to motivate yourself along the journey.
9. Bribe Yourself
We’d like to see ourselves as mature, functional adults with completely rational brains, capable of understanding the intricacies and value of internal motivation. Reasoning and logic should be enough to accomplish our goals and spur us on, but sometimes, they’re just not.
Sometimes we are motivated by external factors like toddlers who work for candy. If you find yourself saying, “I have no motivation” just a little too often, consider giving bribery a try (I am the queen of motivation through bribery. If I have a show I really enjoy watching, I’ll only allow myself to watch it if I’m on the treadmill. Works every time!).
While it may seem silly to give yourself arbitrary rules and constructs to grow your motivation, sometimes it’s simply what it takes. Reward yourself with something when you hit a milestone goal. Treat yourself to a splurge when you stick to a new routine. Sometimes staying motivated means bribing yourself to press on through challenges in order to gain a reward.
10. Create a Plan and Track Your Progress
When I was wanting to create a new routine of going to the gym regularly, I downloaded a calendar app that allowed me to put a check mark on each day of the month that I accomplished my goal. While it may seem silly, seeing all those red check marks on the calendar was motivating. I could visually track my progress. Seeing all those marks in a row motivated me to continue so that I didn’t break my streak.
When Ryan and I were dating, we agreed that we wanted to live a life of adventure. We didn’t want to settle for the routine American Dream. We wanted to take chances. To live a life that was extraordinary. To travel the world and see all of God’s creation. In an effort to track our travel, we bought a scratch-off map. It has been exciting to see all the paces we have gone & it motivates us to visit different places so we can scratch off somewhere new. Whatever your goal, creating a visual representation of the steps can be motivating.
Consider what you could create to visually track your progress. Maybe you could design a thermometer to track your debt payoff or net worth. If you’re tech-savvy, download an app that tracks items that you have decluttered from your home (I share the one I use here). Create a vision board to showcase your goals for the future. Stay motivated to accomplish your goal by creating a visual representation of your plan and your progress. This visual will be a continual reminder of what you desire for your life.
End the “I have no motivation!” Mantra
Staying motivated is often easy at the start of a journey; the excitement of what lies ahead ignites your spirit and encourages you to get going. Eventually, however, the newness wears off and the doubts creep in. Life happens and the fire of your motivation may start to smolder.
If you find yourself thinking “I have no motivation” every time your mind turns to your goal, give these tips & tricks a try. Change your mindset, find your motivation, and accomplish your goals!