ways to stay motivated

7 Ways to Stay Motivated When Things Don’t Go as Planned

It’s easy to stay motivated when everything is going to plan. It’s much more difficult to be enthusiastic about your goals when things aren’t going so well. But how you choose to deal with disappointment is what sets the truly successful people apart from those who almost made it.

We’ve all had those days when things don’t go as expected. When despite your best efforts you fail to hit the personal or business goals you’ve set for yourself. And you’re left thinking “where’s the point in working so darn hard when the universe is obviously plotting against me?”

The thing is, disappointment is always felt deeper by those of us who dream big. When you’ve put your all into a particular goal or a project, seeing things go wrong is a major blow.

Now at this stage, many articles would tell you to pull yourself together, plaster a smile on your face and try again. But don’t worry, I’ve been there too. And the truth is when things haven’t gone to plan, the last thing you feel like doing is starting again, at least not straightaway.

So before you jump back into the saddle, you need to take some time out (even if it’s just ten minutes) to restore your confidence and reignite your desire for success.

Here are seven ways to get your mojo and your motivation back – even when things aren’t going to plan:

7 Ways to Stay Motivated When Things Don’t Go as Planned

  • Remember every failed attempt is a step closer to success

Don’t see failure as a negative. Sometimes you have to tick off a long list of ways not to do something before you hit on the one thing that works.

You’ve probably heard the famous quote from inventor Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Take solace from Edison next time you find a way that won’t work.

Whenever you try something and it doesn’t work out how you hoped, don’t view it as failure. View it as a learning opportunity. Take a look at what you did and think about what you could do slightly differently next time. You probably don’t even need to start over, just a small adjustment could bring very different results next time.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Yep, that’s Edison again. Smart chap.

  • Seek inspiration from others

Reading about other successful people is a great way to stay motivated. Especially when you find stories of people who refused to give up when things didn’t go their way.

Seek out inspiration from others in your field and find the stories that resonate best for you.

Great examples include Sir James Dyson who had to tweak the design for his first vacuum cleaner over 5,000 times before it entered production. Or JK Rowling who was famously rejected by 12 publishers before securing her first book deal. Or Oprah Winfrey who was fired from one of her early jobs as a television reporter. Here is a video you can start with. 

YouTube video

Thanks to the internet, motivational stories are only ever a click away. So grab yourself a drink, sit back and enjoy some downtime reading uplifting stories about how others succeeded after experiencing disappointment.

  • Try something different

If something’s clearly not working, it’s important to know when to change tactics. Don’t see this as giving up; simply trying a new approach. A fresh start in a slightly different direction could be all you need to get your motivation back.

For example, if you’re struggling to finish your novel perhaps it would work better as a collection of short stories. Or if you’ve failed to get a job in your dream industry, investigate whether there are any volunteering opportunities that could get you the experience you need. Not hitting your sales targets? Try a new marketing approach.

  • Remind yourself why you’re working so hard

When things don’t go to plan it’s natural to feel like quitting so this is the time to remind yourself exactly why you’re working so hard.

Perhaps you dream of owning your own home, retiring by 50 or taking the family on the vacation of a lifetime. Put a picture or message that represents your dream above your desk or set it as your screensaver. It’ll be a great motivation booster when you’re feeling low.

  • Take a break

If you’re feeling dejected, you need to do something to prevent spiralling into negative thoughts. Sometimes the best way to do this is to take a break and go do something you love. Even if it’s just watching your favourite funny TV show or enjoying a coffee and cake.

Not only will you feel better after treating yourself but you’ll also find your brain starts working on solutions to any problems you’re dealing with. New ideas often appear when you least expect them.

  • Talk to someone

If you spend much of the day alone, it’s easy to lose motivation. Pick up the phone or meet a friend for lunch. Tell them how things are going. They might have a suggestion that you hadn’t thought of. And sometimes, simply sharing your troubles can help you find clarity and a way to move forwards.

Be careful who you choose to talk to though. Avoid the friends you suspect will tell you to give up on your dreams. Instead seek out those positive buddies who will give you a kick in the right direction.

  • Keep a list of your achievements

A great motivation booster is to remind yourself of the times when you got things right. When you worked hard and your efforts paid off.

Keep a list of your achievements so you can remember them when things get tough. Whether it was receiving praise from a client, hitting a sales target or beating your personal best on the running track; keep a note. Then when things aren’t going so well, you can take a look at the list and remember you do achieve great things and you will again.

So there you go. Next time things don’t go to plan; you’ll have a whole host of strategies to help you get your motivation back.

Photo credit: Unsplash.com

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