How to Maintain Your Motivation When Everything Seems to Go Wrong

When things are going right in your life, it seems easy to maintain your motivation.

Then, there are times in your life when it just seems like your world is falling apart. A relationship ended. Your business failed. You experienced a health scare. Unfortunately, that’s a part of life. The thing to keep in mind, as Rocky Balboa would say, “it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

How to Maintain Your Motivation

Of course, that’s easier said than done when you’re at your lowest point. But, here’s twelve ways that you can maintain your motivation so that you can get out of this rut.

Take a timeout.

This may sound counterproductive. But, when you take time out you’re relaxing and giving yourself a chance to develop a clear picture of the situation. It’s more challenging to reevaluate a situation when you’re in the thick of it.

So, go for a walk, have lunch with a friend, or just watch your favorite comedy. It won’t solve all of your problems, but you’ll start to feel better and more energized. Most importantly, it will give you chance to recharge, refocus, and reflect so that you can move forward.

Try something new.

When things aren’t working, then it’s time to try something new to maintain your motivation. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight for the last month and have only lost one pound, then it’s time to try a new diet or exercise program.

As it turns out, when we try something new, we activate parts of the brain that aren’t normally used. This releases dopamine and serotonin reactions. In the end, your mood will improve and you’ll be driven to continue trying out new things.

Need some ideas to start? Try out a new restaurant or food. Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been. Join a book club, take a class, or volunteer.

Visualize yourself succeeding.

“Like a professional skier envisioning every twist and turn of a ski run before making it, imagining yourself on the other side of a problem even in the abstract can activate a powerful belief in your ability to succeed,” writes Alex Lickerman M.D. in Psychology Today.

“Even if today you have no idea how to win, a belief that you can—even a ‘blind’ belief—can be empowering if it’s a belief in yourself.”

Small fixes lead to bigger things.

Think about that leaky faucet in your bathroom. It keeps dripping and dripping for months. Then one day it bursts.

If you had taken the time to make one small fix, you would have avoided a much bigger problem.

The same is true when it comes to how to maintain your motivation. Think about any quick and easy fixes that you need to resolve. Jot them down by priority and start doing them. It’s winning those battles that will lead you to succeeding in the war.

Be grateful.

Even though it may appear that everything is going wrong, the truth is that there are some good things going for you. For starters, you’re healthy and alive. And, that’s something to be grateful for each and every day.

But, if that’s not working for you, then start a gratitude journal. This is where you jot the five or so things that you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as the meal you had for lunch to something deeper like the birth of your child.

There’s no wrong way to do this, but you should specific, personal, and positive. Studies have also found that it’s more effective to write in your journal three time per week instead of every day.

Set intentions every morning.

There’s a reasons why successful people have a morning routine. Instead of jumping out of bed and rushing out the door, it starts their day off on the right foot. They have time to meditate, reflect, exercise, and plan their day.

They also set intentions every morning.

These are simply guiding principles on how you want to live your life. Unlike goals, these come from your heart. So, when set intentions you’re aligning your heart and mind.

When forming an intention, focus on these thoughts:

  • What matters most to you?
  • What would you like to build, create, or nurture in your life?
  • What would you like to let go of?
  • Who would you like to forgive in your life?
  • How do you feel when you are your happiest self?
  • What makes you proud?
  • What word(s) would you like to align yourself with?
  • What fears would you like to release?
  • What are you grateful for?

Best of all? When you feel those negative thoughts creeping in again, revisit your intentions. It’s a simple way to overcome those thoughts.

Reintroduce yourself to your goals.

Sometimes it’s not that we’re surrounded by problems. It could be because we’ve been set up to fail.

That may sound harsh. But, it’s the truth.

You’ve taken too much work, and as a result both your personal and professional live suffer. You chose not to take that online course, which resulted in your getting passed over for a promotion. You never took the risk and started you own business.

Instead of swimming against the current, think about how you can ride that wave. Start by allowing yourself to dream and visualize yourself accomplishing your biggest dreams. And, then define your goals based on those thoughts.

The most important thing to remember is once you have a goal in mind, assign realistic deadlines. This way it will be easier to keep track of your progress.

Get support.

Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if you seek out help. Sometimes this could be venting to a friend or your spouse. Other times reading an inspirational or self-help book. And, if things are really bad, you may want to talk to a professional.

Surrounding yourself with an amazing support system isn’t just about venting or complaining. It’s about catching their positivity and having them force you out of your comfort zone. You may even get inspired by them, like picking-up a healthy diet or getting a new business idea.

Simply put, when you’re in a funk, rely on your support system. It’s good for your physical and physiological health.

Share your knowledge.

What better way to give yourself a self-esteem boost than proving that you have something to offer others?

Let’s say that you’re a web designer. You could volunteer your services at a local nonprofits that’s in need of a new website. If you’re an accountant, then start a blog that provides tax advice for small business owners.

For me, I’ve blogged extensively about the failure of my business. I also worked with the Open to Hope charity. Doing both lifted my spirits and helped me gain a new, positive perspective in life.

Again, it’s a small step that will push you into doing something bigger.

Start cleaning.

Perhaps the quickest fix is to start cleaning. Organize your office. Scrub the dishes. Clean your entire house from top to bottom.

“Cleaning your physical environment isn’t a fix-all; however, tackling some housekeeping is a good exercise in conquering tasks and gets a productive energy flowing,” writes life coach Diane Passage for the Huffington Post.

Get started on something.

There’s something called the Zeigarnik Effect. It’s based on research from Soviet psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik and was later confirmed in 1992 by two psychologists.

The jest is that we want to finish a goal once we start it.

Again, start with something small, like planning a vacation or doing yoga for five minutes every morning. Eventually your mood will start to increase so that you’ll be ready to conquer more challenging goals.

Remember, this too shall pass.

Finally, keep in mind that even though everything seems wrong, it’s only temporary. Life has a funny way of turning things around. You just have to be patient and work your way there.

As Ann Landers once said, “Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself, the most comforting words of all; this, too, shall pass.” While it seems simple, it can be a good way to maintain your motivation.

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