Keeping yourself motivated is hard. It is probably one of the greatest hurdles most professionals face in achieving success. Whereas motivation is a sparkling fountain at the start, that well can quickly dry up after just a few weeks of persistent effort.
So how do you effectively self-motivate to distinguish yourself as a high-achieving professional? How do you push onwards when you just don’t feel like it?
Design Goals, Not Chores
When salespeople have targets, they are more likely to close deals. Those with daily exercise commitments are more likely to increase their fitness levels. It all comes down to setting goals.
Specific goals are much more useful than abstract ambitions. Your first step to motivate yourself, therefore, should be to formulate specific and achievable goals.
Focus on the Work You Find Enjoyable
It might seem obvious, but work that is enjoyable to you makes it much easier to self-motivate. Professionals should therefore keep their own morale for the work in mind when they choose new jobs or roles. Often, this is an overlooked element. Take on projects based on your own intrinsic motivations, and you’ll be likely to get better results and stay motivated.
Offset tedious tasks with those that you do enjoy and find rewarding. You can, for example, listen to music whilst tackling emails in your inbox, or do boring chores with friends or colleagues to make them more entertaining.
Find Effective Rewards
Another way to stay motivated is to keep focusing on the reward for a task’s completion. For instance, you could create external motivators for yourself, such as promising yourself a vacation for finishing a project. Make sure you reward yourself for the quality of a task, and not just its speed or quantity. Otherwise, you might leave yourself open to mistakes or to neglecting essential aspects of your work.
Goal achievements can sometimes license professionals to give in to setbacks. Don’t fall into this trap!
At Linea, we support organisations with leadership mentoring as well as design incentives and programmes to motivate their employees. We can help to establish targets and set rewards to make long-term projects more sustainable.
One of the hardest things about motivating yourself is doing so over the long-term. A project is exciting when you first start, but there can be a slump in the middle where contributors tend to fall away or stall their efforts.
You can break this pattern by dividing your goal into smaller sub-goals. For example, weekly instead of quarterly targets. This returns some urgency to smaller tasks and gives you less time to succumb to the slump.
Think Back on the Progress You’ve Made
Consumers in loyalty programs spend more when they are closer to earning a reward. This is because feeling closer to the end-goal makes it easier to put in more effort for a ‘final sprint’.
Take advantage of this by thinking of your starting point further in the past. For example, consider the initial proposal of the project at the start, rather than the first action taken towards it.
Alternatively, focus on what you have already done up to the midpoint of a task. Then turn your attention to what you have left to do. Emphasising steps you have already taken makes it easier to take some more. It’s good to remind yourself that you’ve already had the resilience to come as far as you have!
Rely on the influence of others
With Linea Connect, we focus on bringing professionals together, resolving challenges through connection, and best practice promotion.
We are social creatures, we always look to see what others are doing and how their actions influence our own. When we see a highly motivated co-worker achieve great things, it might inspire us. However, it can also leave us feeling less motivated in ourselves.
The key is to never passively watch ambitious individuals. Instead, make an effort to talk to them about their motivations and the goals they’re trying to accomplish.
Giving advice can also be an even better motivation than asking for it. This boosts confidence and spurs action. It also motivates people to lay out precise plans for others, which in turn helps them formulate a strategy for themselves.
Finally, by aiming to be the person you want to be for the people you love, your social circle can be a great motivator. A parent can find work more motivating when they think of the benefits it will provide for their child. Finding the motivation to complete a goal might also make you more vibrant around your friends.
Sustained motivation is one of the most significant challenges for any professional. Whilst they rely on themselves to produce great work, employers can work wonders in helping their teams stay motivated. By fostering supportive relationships between their team members, setting goals and rewards, and removing challenges, we believe teams can achieve more.
Our mission is to limit challenges and challenge limits. We help our clients break out of the slump and find ways to motivate and push for excellence in their projects.