Even the most motivated of us experience ‘energy slumps’ from time to time. Getting excited about something new is usually easy, but staying motivated when you aren’t quite feeling it can be harder.
Motivation can turn a good thought into action. Being motivated clarifies your goals, sets your priorities and leaves you feeling more successful. Pretty amazing, right?
The thing is, motivation rarely comes naturally or easily – it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It can be particularly difficult for those experiencing a mental illness, such as depression. Although it can be tough, it's important to try and find the motivation. And with the right tools and support at your side, you can work towards boosting your motivation level, even when you aren’t feeling your best.
Tips to get (and stay) motivated
Different people find motivation in their own way – there’s no one size fits all for finding that secret energy switch. However, there are a few strategies you can use to help keep you motivated to achieve your goals.
Find your inspiration
Finding inspiration is one of the best ways you can get excited about your goals. If you’re struggling to get motivated, remembering why you’re working so hard for something will help focus your attention and reignite your passion. Read over your goals and connect back to why you want to achieve them so much.
While study can be a drag, think about where it can take you. You may have dreams to be a teacher one day, or a scientist. Keep that end goal in your mind, even when you’re not feeling too excited about school.
Still not feeling it? Try reading uplifting stories about people you admire doing amazing things. Touching base with inspiring people and stories will positively shift your mood and get you back on track.
Revisit your goals
Your goals need to reflect what you really want out of life. By regularly revisiting and evaluating your goals, you’re making sure you’re really driven to achieve them. If your ambitions change, make sure they’re reflected in your goals – this will help to keep your motivation levels high.
Did your passion switch from being an artist to becoming a mathematician? You may need to change up your goals to match your new direction (e.g. less painting and more algebra practise).
Take it one step at a time
A lack of motivation can also happen if you’ve got too many things going on a once. When revisiting your goals, make sure you’re focusing your attention on a couple of things at any one time.
Remember, you’re only human – there are only so many things you can do each day. Trying to do too much will only stress you out, affecting your motivation even more.
Use positive talk
Don’t get down on yourself if you’re not feeling motivated. Being kind to yourself can have a huge impact on your mental health.
When negative thoughts do come up, try squashing them with positive talk. Simply replacing a negative thought like, ‘I can’t do this’ with, ‘Yes, I can! I’ve got this’, can make all the difference.
Depending on what your end goals are, there will be baby steps you need to complete along the way. Every time you reach a mini milestone, reward yourself! Take yourself out to lunch, buy yourself a little treat or simply take a moment to step outside and enjoy a quiet moment in the sunshine.
Rewarding yourself helps put large goals into perspective and energises you to reach the next step.
It’s hard to accomplish something by yourself. Having a solid support network can help you stay on task and pick you up when you’re not feeling your best.
Looking for more support to stay motivated? Try joining a class or finding a mentor who has experience you’d love to learn from. Everyone needs a cheer squad in their life. Use yours to give you a motivation boost when you need it most.
While we all experience low motivation from time to time, if you’re struggling to feel good about things a lot of the time, it may help to talk to someone.