6 Practical Ways to Stay Motivated
In my last blog, Need Motivation? Just Answer These Questions, I explained that motivation is the stimulation to act, and that since change is the result of things actually happening, what you are really looking for when you’re seeking motivation is a stimulant that will compel you to TAKE ACTION and DO something. I provided 12 questions to get your action muscles twitching and encourage you to DO something to get your change underway.
So now you’ve entered the change process. What’s that you say? Things aren’t going exactly as you planned? Obstacles that you didn’t expect are presenting themselves, and you’re feeling weary and doubtful that you can make it through to the last threshold of change and bring about a lasting new normal? Buck up, friend. Here are six practical ways to keep going when the going gets tough as you navigate your way through change.
1. Make your change course part of your present identity. You are leaving the status quo and making your way to a new normal. You may feel that you are a person without an identity right now. You have left behind the person you were in your prior normal, and you may be unsure who you will be when you arrive at the end of your change process. All of that may be true … and none of it matters. Who you are right now is a person traveling through a process. That’s your current identity. Own that reality and you will feel a stronger sense of self-empowerment that will keep you motivated to move forward.
2. Give yourself a trigger for each step on your path. One of the stressors of change is a loss of familiarity. So it’s helpful to create a new familiarity for yourself. This comes in the form of a trigger that will compel you to take each next step in your process. One example of a trigger that I use is walking around the block right before I’m ready for my next action step on the way to a new normal. As soon as I return home and step over the threshold (I use the threshold as a change metaphor frequently because it’s very fitting), it means to me that I am a different person from when I left, and the person I am when I return across the threshold is ready for the next step. Find your own trigger and make it your familiar, and it will motivate you to keep on keeping on each step of the way.
3. Find the things in the change process that make you happy or amuse you. Along the path of your change process, you will have many experiences that elevate you and even make you smile or chuckle because they amuse you. Latch on to those things and re-play them often in your mind as you walk your change path. When you arrive at your new normal, those experiences will be your best memories of the process you’ve just been through, and they’ll help to keep you motivated until you get there.
4. Hang around with people who are doing what you’re doing or who have succeeded at it already. Get rid of the naysayers – they haven’t supported you before and they may even be the reason you’re in your change process in the first place. Instead, look to associate with people who guide, support, and encourage you. Those are the ones who will keep you motivated so the other folks become nothing more than background noise.
5. Understand how the change process works so you don’t get frustrated and abandon your vision. As I explain in my upcoming book, The Change Course, change is a process of predictable milestones, which I call thresholds. Overcoming doubt, resistance, denial, and negativity is part of the process. There are going to be ups and downs, highs and lows, as you make your way to your next new normal. Respect that reality, and when you’re in a downswing, you’ll be motivated to keep looking up.
6. Get back on the horse. As the saying goes, “Fall down seven, stand up eight.” Motivate yourself to keep going even when you get roughed up, even when you aren’t motivated to keep going. The end is in sight. You won't get there if you stop, but you will if you keep on keeping on.
What are your thoughts and experiences around staying motivated? The Barbara Dershowitz Community of Change wants to know. Share your message below.
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