Staying Motivated

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When motivation runs dry, how do you keep going?

When the goal you’re working toward reveals itself to be much further away than you thought, how do you keep stacking bricks anyway?

How do you embody consistency in the times when consistency gets so hard?

If I had the answer for this I’d be creating an online course and running tons of Instagram ads, so be thankful that I don’t.  

I do have some ideas, however. 

First, a consistent system can work twice as hard as raw, internal motivation. And it can do this on auto-pilot. Each morning, I have a consistent system that I try to stick to: wake up at 7:30, drink two glasses of water, walk to get coffee, make breakfast, write a to-do list, make my bed, put a bottle of water on my desk. After I’ve done all these, I can essentially trick myself back into the motivated state I wasn’t in when I woke up. And on mornings when even the system doesn’t work, I set a timer for 45 minutes, and tell myself I only have to work until the timer goes off. About halfway through that timer, I’m motivated again.

Motivation can be tough to sustain if you’re only relying on what’s within you. Channeling inspiration from other people can be an effective way to regain some of the motivation you’re missing. When I call a freelance friend and ask them what they’re working on, learning, and excited about, I often find a rush of encouragement and perspective. This helps me get motivated again. 

Also, this may sound corny, but there are a few Seth Godin podcasts and Gary Vee videos that just fire me up. When I rewatch these I can remember how I used to feel, and get excited again. When I used to write music more often, I would listen to interviews with my favorite artists and that would help motivate me. There’s a wealth of content already out there, focused on what you love. Go find it.

If we commit to being consistent, we’re also committing to carrying on despite how we feel. Which can be so difficult. I’m not proposing we disregard how we feel when things get hard. I am proposing that we save the emotional energy we would use to convince ourselves to keep working, and instead, use it to really wrestle with what’s going on inside of us.

And along the way, we can keep doing the important work that helps others.

I hope this was helpful for you, please share it with a friend who you think will find it valuable. 

Joshua Reese