“Visualize your highest self and start showing up as her” – Unknown
Last month for the first time in a long time I slacked hard on my goals.
I think it stemmed from some recent changes in my life.
I noticed that the slacking-off started right around the time I began working at my new job. Noticing this change, the analyst in me started to kick in. I began asking myself why such a positive change would have such a negative effect on my motivation.
Before I got my new job I was a receptionist in a plastic surgeon’s office. I was underpaid and overworked (like most recent college grads) but, more than that, I felt that the job just wasn’t a good fit for me.
I had started the position in January 2018 and within a few months, I knew it was not what I wanted to be doing. I figured I would stick it out for a year because hey, it was a paycheck and money was very tight. Suffocatingly tight.
In the midst of my angst and agitation over my present situation, I hatched an idea. I thought, “what if I start a blog? That way I won’t feel like I’m completely wasting away in a dead-end job.” The blog’s purpose would be to give me something I could work towards, my own piece of control in a world that felt totally out of my control. I thought maybe it would be a means to an end, and a way out of my unhappy situation.
Every day, I would come home and write because I believed that if I could create enough traction somehow, someway, it would be an end to my problems. I thought
“if I could do this, if I could really make a living out of this, it would change everything.”
Just like that, I was like a dog with a bone.
My dedication became a force of nature. Working on my blog was the first thing I did when I got up in the morning and the last thing when I went to sleep at night. Even though all the rough patches I found a way to shovel through the shit.
- When my cable and wifi got shut-off because I wasn’t able to pay the bill; I found an alternative way to get connected to the internet so I could continue writing and posting.
- When my credit card was 3 months past due; I still found a way to pay for my blog hosting service.
- Even when I was writing day in and day out with barely any traction and no chance at making a dollar I didn’t quit. I just kept writing.
I wrote for the goal setter within me. I told myself it’s too late to turn back now.
My shitty job and penniless lifestyle were what motivated me to keep pursuing my goals. It was my why, and my why not. It was the only thing I had to hold on hope for.
In the last year, things started to make a turn for the better and when I finally got the new job it was like the sun had risen. I felt so lucky and fortunate to be hired for such an amazing company. My bills were in check, I cleared my debt and things started looking up.
But, with all of my good fortune, I lost something important. My sense of motivation.
Motivation can come from all different avenues and sources, mine came from desperation and the desire to leave my receptionist job. You know what they say, you don’t get rid of your problems you only trade-up. I traded up my unfulfilling job for a great one but lost my motivation in the process.
It’s true, I have way fewer complaints now than I did a year ago, but how does one get that dogged determination back? What do you do if you’ve pulled yourself up out of the dirt but haven’t yet achieved what you set out to do? How do you stay motivated?
I’ve realized that it takes a lot of fine-tuning and self-awareness to set goals and see them through to the end.
It’s so easy to get psyched up and motivated about a goal in the beginning, but the tough part is getting to the end. It means overcoming obstacles when things get hard and adjusting your plans when things change.
I’ve been in both situations so I am speaking to you from the position of both desperation and adaptation.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Come up with a powerful reason why
In order to stay on target with your goals, you create a reason to push on. Come up with a case so strong that even when your situation changes, for better or worse, your goals are unaffected. If your goals are truly important to you, if it’s something that you really want, start by explaining and justifying to yourself why you have to have it. This is completely and totally personal to you and your goal.
It was hard for me to get motivated about my long-term goal when this positive change happened. I got this new job that I loved and I wanted to settle in and be content. I wasn’t happy at my last job so it was always a big motivator for me to push on and try to create this side hustle. It had motivated me to write more, network more, work more hours and push myself harder. Getting a job that I enjoyed made that motivational aspect disappear.
I had to go back and reevaluate all the reasons why I started in the first place and understand that if this was a goal I still truly wanted to accomplish my circumstances should not change the desire to create a successful, profitable, blog.
Small steps every step of the way
You can’t make your dreams come true in a day. If you aren’t ready to take small measurable steps and be patient you aren’t ready to achieve big goals. Those who succeed do so with time and persistent effort.
I question all the time whether or not I’ll succeed at my goals. I constantly ask myself if I truly have what it takes to make big things happen. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that, I don’t know if I would give up in the face of adversity. What I do know is that until that day comes, I’m going to continue to take the small actions and get better day by day.
Change is inevitable and what is going to help you stick to your goals is the ability to be adaptable to change.
Part of the reason that I started to slack off was that I didn’t know how to manage my time anymore. I started working on a different schedule, I was using more brain power at work so I was too tired to think by the time I got home. I wasn’t sure how I was going to continue at the pace I had been going.
I realized that when changes arise you have to adapt and sometimes that means changing systems that you have in place. My problem was finding the time to create enough content to post once a week. I sat on this problem and brainstormed it out.
I always find it funny that when you really want to make something happen answers will start to magically appear. The more you want it, the more you will think outside the box to get it.
I thought about my content problem (or lack thereof) and decided the best way to save time is to not have to come up with all of my own content. Then I thought, “well I’ve always wanted to do interviews on the blog and now would be the perfect time to implement this”. It was the best way to save time while adding value and being true to my brand.
Being adaptable and not just sticking to what I knew allowed me to save time and bring something new to the table.
Most people when they fall down they never get back up, they say “oh, I got burned, I’m never going to try that again.” Being uncertain is uncomfortable and stressful. Most of us will avoid putting themselves in that kind of situation, it’s in our nature.
When I started my blog, part of me wanted to keep it a secret because I thought “who am I to do this? Who is going to care about anything I write?” It felt awkward and embarrassing not knowing what to do or how to do it. The more you put yourself in that position the faster you grow, because you fail constantly and those failures teach you how to be better.
Then, eventually, you look back on everything you’ve done and you’re like wow, I never knew I could do that before.
Learn to say no
My new struggle with my better life is learning when and how to say no, “Carly do you want to go out for Margs” the answer is never not yes. Even when I know it should be. I have a weakness for social outings and margaritas.
In the back of my mind, I constantly remind myself that every time I said yes to something I am saying no to something else. Yes to margs means no to writing. Yes to hanging out with friends means I’m taking a backseat to my goals. Yes, to spending time with my boyfriend means I’m dropping the ball on something else.
Saying no is not easy but, it becomes easier when you start to think of your goals as meaningful. You’ll start to realize that saying no to everyone else is really just saying yes to yourself more often.
Convince yourself that what your doing is important
In order to persist, you have to believe in yourself harder than you ever have before.
This is by far the hardest step towards staying motivated.
For some reason, it’s so much easier to convince ourselves that it’s more important to build someone else’s dream than it is to work towards our own. If you disagree and think “well that’s just not true”, remember that you are spending 40 hours a week working on someone else’s goals. I’m not saying your wrong to work hard at your job, but it doesn’t change the fact that that’s what you’re doing.
My problem is that I talk myself out of why my mission is important. I try to convince myself that it’s a waste of time and I should just quit. I have to say to myself “that’s not true” and push that voice to the side. I remind myself that this thing, even if it’s not important to anyone else, will always be important to me.
If you are truly able to convince yourself that your goals are important and that the success of your goal is crucial, you will never need another reason to keep pursuing your purpose.
If you want the true secret to staying motivated, the real key is having the ability to be honest and upfront with yourself. Then using that awareness to focus on and pursue what you think is important. Despite the self-doubt telling you that you can’t do it, despite what your friends might think about it, and despite it being something that goes against the grain or all odds. You will find your motivation when you start living with the belief that you can have, do, and be, whatever you set your mind to.