This article was last updated on December 30, 2015
Sometimes, getting motivated and staying motivated is easy. If you are feeling emotionally and physically well, if life in general is working out for you, and if you have support from friends and family, your motivation is no concern. Unfortunately, if you take away one or more of these blessings, getting motivated can seem nearly impossible. After all, how can you be motivated when you feel helpless and hopeless? Where do you find motivation when you feel like giving up? It’s one thing to face the challenge of building yourself up and to keep yourself going when you face some minor setbacks. It’s another thing altogether to make progress when you feel as if everything around you is crumbling and that nothing is within your control.
Here are some good news. It is possible to get motivated and make progress when you are truly broken. It’s difficult. It takes effort and pushing the limits of your comfort zone, but it can be done. If you have hit a physical, mental, or emotional wall, take a look at these 7 secrets for getting motivated.
7 Secrets For Getting Motivated When You Have Hit the Wall
Set Standards for Yourself Based on Where You are Right Now
You won’t stay motivated if you are constantly down on yourself because you are not making the progress that you think you should be making. This is why it is so important to remember that forward momentum has to be measured in relationship to where you are, and what you have to overcome. If you are coming from a place of emotional or mental exhaustion, something as simple as getting up, getting dressed, and tidying up the house is a small victory. Taking a walk, checking your emails, and getting in an hour or two of work is a major triumph. If you judge your progress and accomplishments based on what you would have been able to do when you were whole, you’ll just feel defeated. Determine the minimum that you can accomplish in a day. If that’s what you accomplish, then consider that a good day. If you accomplish more than that, consider it a great day.
Select One Overall Goal
After you have determined your daily minimum capabilities, don’t sabotage yourself by fragmenting your energy between multiple goals. Pick a single goal to work towards, and only invest your extra physical and emotional energy towards that goal. For example, if you try to get your finances in order, organize your household, lose 15 pounds, and tackle a major work project, in a fragile state, you will only exhaust yourself. The wall you have already hit will become bigger and more insurmountable than it was before. Instead, select just one of these tasks and make it your goal to accomplish that task before you move on to anything else. Then, you can base your daily to-do list around activities that allow you to slowly work towards reaching that goal. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when selecting a goal:
- Am I confident that I can accomplish one positive step towards this goal every day?
- Will working towards this goal uplift me spiritually, physically, or emotionally?
- Will I beat myself up if I don’t meet this goal as quickly as I would like?
- Will I receive emotional support or guidance as I work on achieving this goal?
- Will I face external roadblocks when working on this achievement?
- Is there a chance that I will sabotage myself?
Focus on Positive Outcomes
Sometimes, it can be hard to avoid falling into a negative pattern of focusing on how difficult it will be to accomplish your goal. You may find yourself focusing on how emotionally drained you are going to be at the end of the day, how physically exhausted you are going to feel, or that you are only making a fraction of the progress that you would like to be making. This can put you into a tailspin of negative thinking and negative self talk that is very damaging. Keep your motivation up by keeping your mind focused on the positives. For example, if you are working towards a fitness goal remind yourself that your tired body and fatigued mind are signs that you are working hard and developing strength and stamina.
Find an Ally
There’s no greater motivator than a supportive friend. If you have a friend or family member who is supportive of your goal, but also understanding of your struggles that can go a long way towards helping you get motivated. Just be sure to select a loved one who will help you reframe your negative thoughts into positive thoughts and who will point out your victories when you are unable to see them. A friend who is simply sympathetic may care dearly about you, but they may not be the right person to keep you motivated.
Ask for Help
If there is something physically, mentally, or emotionally going on within you that is keeping you in a broken state, the best thing you can do for your health and motivation is to seek help from a professional. They can help put you back on the path towards feeling and functioning better. If the roadblock you have hit is directly related to achieving your goal, you may be able to find a professional to help you with that as well. Depending on your goal, this could be a physical trainer, a cleaning service, a budget counselor, etc.
Simplify Your Life
You’re already working hard on your comeback. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed with extraneous or stressful obligations, objects, tasks, and relationships. If maintaining a relationship with somebody requires an excessive amount of energy, take a break. This is true if these relationships tend to be ripe with conflict. If you have belongings that cause you stress or add to clutter, purge them or simply box them up and get them out of your sight. If you have items on your list of things to do that are frustrating and not absolutely necessary, cross them off of your list. Set your priorities based on your emotional and mental well-being, not another person’s idea of urgency. Seek to increase peace and serenity in your daily tasks and interactions.
Take Care of Yourself and Treat Yourself
Much of the motivational advice that you will read suggests treating yourself after you have accomplished a goal. Now is not the time for that. If you are trying to stay motivated in spite of being in a devastated state, you must make an effort to keep yourself feeling physically and emotionally well. This means making sure that your basic, physical, and emotional needs are met. It also means taking extra steps to boost your self esteem and to provide yourself with small moments of happiness. So, don’t wait until you have accomplished something to reward yourself with that massage, or relaxing night watching movies and reading in bed. Give yourself these little gifts now. When you are emotionally and physically on solid ground, then you can go back to challenging yourself.
Featured photo credit: Garry Knight