“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” — Confucius
The Best Strategies for Staying Motivated
How badly do you want to achieve your goals? How much are you willing to sacrifice in the short term to gain in the long term? Are you motivated enough to keep pushing, even when times seem bleak and all hope might be lost?
Are you willing to give it all up just so that you can live a life on your own terms? Your friends? Your social life? Your car? Your house, even?
Okay, so maybe that sounds a little bit extreme to you. But, motivation is a serious subject. People that want to achieve their goals know that a large part of their chances for success boil down to their ability to get and stay motivated consistently.
When you lose your motivation, you lose the ability to achieve your goals.
Staying motivated is partly the secret to success. It’s not the whole formula, but a large part of it rests on the shoulders of motivation.
No matter what goals we set or how detailed our plans might be, if we can’t find the motivation to take massive and consistent action, success is largely fleeting. But, when we can stay motivated and push through, breaking the bad habits that tend to hold us back, literally, anything is possible.
I don’t write any of this as some cheerleading rant. This isn’t a personal mantra. This is real, based upon hard facts. Find the best strategies for staying motivated, even through the toughest of times, and you’ll find the road to success.
Personally, I struggled with motivation. I’ve fought through major failures, setbacks, upsets, and strings of defeat, one after another. Through it all, staying motivated was hard. There were times when I thought I had completely lost the desire to move on.
But I stayed committed, even though it was hard and I wanted to throw in that proverbial towel and give up. Yet, my story isn’t unique. Research studies indicate that entrepreneurs will average 3.8 failures for every success.
However, for anyone trying to overcome failure, staying motivated can be the furthest thing from the mind. Yet, without that same motivation, we’re stuck in neutral, and even forced to live life in reverse, filled with regret, anxiety, fear, and animosity.
Luckily, I was able to employ methods to help me stay motivated, even though things seemed pretty bad, and you can too.
Below are 27 motivational strategies to help push you push through to achieving your goals.
#1 – Eliminate procrastination
Procrastination is the silent killer. This is the number one ailment to sap our motivation. If you want to stay motivated and achieve your dreams, you have to eliminate procrastination from your life. It’s not easy. But it’s necessary.
In a post in the not-so-distant past, I spoke about the top 5 ways to stop procrastinating. I discussed doing things like setting clearly defined goals, using time management techniques, and implementing the 15-minute rule, just to name a few.
In fact, the 15-minute rule is a great technique that you can use anytime you’re feeling a lack of motivation to do something or you’ve been putting it off for too long.
To implement this, simply set a timer for 15 minutes. Use your smartphone, smartwatch, or any other device at your disposal. Agree that you’ll do whatever task it is for those 15 minutes, at least. Then you can stop.
What’s the point of this? Momentum. After 15 minutes, you’ll likely find yourself continuing to follow through. The difficulty is simply getting started.
#2 – Cut out distractions
Staying motivated involves your ability to limit distractions. Television, Internet, cell phones, games, and excessive socializing count as distractions.
If you’re serious about your goals, then you have to get serious about just how you use the time that you do have. Create blocks of time where you decide to turn everything off. This includes shutting down the smartphone, home phone, Internet, and anything else that can interrupt you.
This also means you have to limit some of your social time. We can’t stay motivated if we’re constantly engaging in activities that don’t help to move us towards our goals.
#3 – Change your location
Sometimes, to stay motivated, we need to just change our location. We’re all creatures of habit, but picking up and going to a place where we can be more productive is helpful at times.
When J.K. Rowling was writing the first Harry Potter book, she would sneak away to coffee shops while her daughter napped. It took her 6 years to finish that first book, but she couldn’t do the bulk of the work at home. She needed a place to escape to where she could focus and concentrate.
Find a productive place you can go nearby. It can be a coffee shop, a restaurant, a public park, or any other place that will help foster your creativity, eliminate some distractions, and motivate you to get your work done.
#4 – Go for a short run
Sometimes, a short run can get the blood flowing and take us from a sedentary state to one that’s primed and ready to take action.
If running isn’t your thing, find some other short burst of exercise you can do for at least 15 minutes. The point? Get active. Get the blood flowing through your body.
Motion creates emotion, and powerful emotions can arise from strenuous activity, enough to help you get and stay motivated to follow through with whatever you need to do.
#5 – Meditate
Meditation is the art of being present, and it has powerful and transformative properties that help to align your physical self with your spiritual self.
Often, we lead hectic lives, but meditation centers us, helping to remove the clutter in our minds, and renewing our sense of spirit and motivation.
Staying motivated is difficult work, but meditation helps to cleanse the mind, giving us a fresh perspective to approach our goals with gusto.
#6 – Do yoga
Yes, even 15 minutes of doing yoga can help you get motivated. In fact, this and other physical activities are all great motivational strategies because it helps to move the body and oxygenate the blood.
Yoga also helps to release positive endorphins into the body that help to stimulate the mind, helping to battle the stress hormones that prevalent in the mind and body.
We tend to lose our motivation because we have so much going on in our lives that we get overwhelmed. Yoga helps to eliminate some stress while allowing us to regain focus and clarity.
#7 – Dispel your fears
There are over 60,000 thoughts that run through our minds in a given day. We’re unaware of most of those thoughts as they take place in the subconscious mind.
The problem? The large portion of our thoughts are fear-based. What happens if so-and-so happens? What will I do if XYZ occurs? What if I lose my job? What if I can’t earn money?
We ask ourselves fear-based questions without even consciously being aware of it. For that reason, if we want to get and stay motivated, we have to dispel our fears.
Take out a sheet of paper and write down all of your fears. Then, write down why you’re afraid of those things. Finally, create an excuse as to why each of those reasons aren’t true. Reference past experiences where you’ve pulled through or accomplished something you didn’t think was possible at the time.
There’s real power in bringing subconscious fears into the conscious realm and dispelling them.
#8 – Watch a YouTube video
Sometimes, it can be as simple as watching a YouTube video. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, motivation, or anything in between, YouTube is a great resource.
The best part? You can do this just about anywhere.
Often, when we’re working tirelessly towards our goals, especially when we hit some roadblocks and suffer some major setbacks, it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. Keep that in mind and don’t give up. Keep pushing and do whatever it takes to find it within you to slowly inch forward.
#9 – Watch a TED Talk
I am literally addicted to TED Talks. I can’t seem to get enough of them, and that’s the general consensus amongst most folks. You can find some fascinating, inspiring, and motivating videos on TED Talk.
There are years and years of archives, so no matter what you’re searching for, you’ll likely find it. This is a great motivational resource, and one that I turn to often.
#10 – Set goals with milestones
A major source of motivation stems from setting goals the right way that also include milestones. Milestones offer up short-term markers on the route to achieving our goals.
If you’re feeling your motivation wane, get back to the basics and set clear and specific goals that are measurable and include milestones. Sometimes, we need to step back and look at just what it is that we want out of life.
The reason your goals have to be specific is because the mind will only gravitate towards the specific and real thoughts rather than the obscure. The more specific your goals are, the more motivated you’ll be, and the more likely you’ll be achieve success.
#11 – Visualize your future
Once you have your goals, you can get and stay motivated by visualizing your future. What will life be like when you achieve your goals? Where will you live? What will you do for work? What will you enjoy in your free time? What places will you travel to?
Spend some time visualizing your future by writing out a detailed description of how life will be like when you achieve your long-term goals.
#12 – Revisit the reasons for your goals
Reasons why you want to achieve something can be a powerful motivator. But they can’t just be superficial reasons; they have to be deep and profound.
In life, we’ll always do more to achieve something that we wholeheartedly have profound reasons for. If you didn’t set reasons for why you wanted to achieve your goals, then now is the time to revisit those goals and establish deep-rooted reasons for wanting to see them through.
Goals lose their meaning when the reasons we want to achieve them are no longer important to us. If you want to get motivated and stay motivated, find deep-rooted reasons.
What are some examples of deep-rooted reasons? It’s certainly not money or fame – those are superficial reasons. Things like family, freedom, and security are deep-rooted reasons.
Look at your goals and write out a full page on the reasons you’re willing to do absolutely anything possible to achieve them. Yes, a full page each.
#13 – Manage your time effectively
One easy way to lose motivation is to be a poor manager of your time. Stay motivated by organizing your time and limiting the time-wasters.
We’re all guilty of this to one degree or another. No one wants to work all the time. But, when you can effectively manage your time, you’ll find yourself making far more progress.
Time is the great equalizer because we all have the exacta same amount of it. No one has more time than the other person. No matter where they’re from, what they do, or who they know.
The most popular time management system is the Eisenhower system, named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower but later popularized by Dr. Stephen R. Covey. The system breaks all of our activity down into four quadrants:
- Quadrant 1 – Important & Urgent: Crises & Emergencies
- Quadrant 2 – Important but Not Urgent: Long-Term Strategic Goals
- Quadrant 3 – Urgent but Not Important: Distractions & Interruptions
- Quadrant 4 – Not Important & Not Urgent: Time-Wasting Activities
Your goal? Stay in Quadrant 2 as much as possible. In order to do that, you should audit your time. Write down every activity that you do in the day and categorize it under the four quadrants. After one week, see how much time you were spending in each quadrant.
You can stay motivated by taking care of Quadrant 2 activities that will help advance you towards your goal, first thing in the morning or day. Get those out of the way first, always.
#14 – Contribute to others
Sometimes, to stay motivated we have to contribute to others. Often, we’re so entrenched in our minds and in our problems, that we forget about everything else going on in the world. We forget about all the problems and tragedies that befall many others.
By contributing, you gain perspective on your life and learn to appreciate the things you have rather than what you don’t. In turn, you get more motivated.
There are always people out there who are far worse off than ourselves. When you contribute, you also develop a deeper sense of self and connection with others and your community.
#15 – Gratitude List
What are you grateful for? It’s easy to come up with things that we’re unhappy about in our lives, but what about the things that we’re happy for?
Motivation can come from some unlikely places, but it can also come from very likely ones. When you write out a gratitude list, you detail the things that you don’t take for granted in your life. This has a profound affect on your attitude, state-of-mind, well-being, and desire for motivation.
Some people who are successful and blessed with so much are still so unhappy, while others who have so little are completely happy. How is that so?
Happiness is a state-of-mind. We can all be happy if we look for the things that we’re grateful for. Thoughts are things and what the mind focuses on, the mind will get.
List out everything that you’re grateful for in your life. Are you grateful for your family? Maybe your health? Maybe your friends? Or maybe for the simple fact that you’re alive? Whatever it is, list it out.
#16 – Listen to music
A simple but effective method to get and stay motivated is to listen to music. Of course, it has to be the right music. What music motivates you? What music inspires you?
You can get motivated by created a motivational soundtrack. Find songs that you love, and listen to them for at least 15 minutes. While you listen, visualize your future. What things will you achieve? How will your life be like when those goals have materialized in your life?
There is real power in music. Learn to leverage it for your benefits.
#17 – Take a test drive
Many people have money-related goals, and staying focused and motivated can often be hard. Yet, when we can see, feel, and touch the things that we’re pursuing, motivation is easier to come by.
Head to your nearest dealership and test drive your dream car. It doesn’t matter whether you intend to purchase it right away or not. The test drive instills the motivation to keep pursuing whatever it is that you desire in life.
This is powerful because thoughts are things, and our subconscious minds do far more in the way of goal achievement than we can imagine. When you take a test drive, you take the intangible and make it tangible.
It has a powerful way of, not only motivating, but also steering us towards that which we desire.
#18 – Go to an open house
Similar to the test drive, going to an open house allows you to see, touch, and witness your goals firsthand. Find your dream home and go see it in an open house. In fact, take an entire Sunday and tour open houses in your favorite neighborhoods.
There’s an enormous motivational effect that occurs when you do this. It’s far easier to see the potential outcome of our goals when we can witness it firsthand rather than merely visualizing it in our mind.
Visualizing is a powerful technique, but seeing it in real life helps to transmute that thought into reality.
#19 – Research vacations
Travel is a source of motivation for many. Most dream of traveling to far-off places and exotic destinations. If you love to travel as much as the next person, research some vacations that you could go on. Even if you can’t afford to go now, do the research and plan something a year or two years out from now.
The physical act of researching and planning a vacation helps to make a transformative shift in the mind. We go from goals that are intangible, to realizing just what our goal achievement can bring us.
Similar to the test drive and the open house, researching and planning a vacation helps to bring a more tangible element to the achievement of our goals.
#20 – Drink coffee or an energy drink
This motivational strategy is simple and straightforward. Drink coffee or an energy drink to give yourself that extra perk to take massive action.
If you’re not a coffee or energy drink drinker, try herbal remedies that will help boost your energy levels.
You could also ensure that you get plenty of sleep so that you’re motivated enough in the day to follow through with your personal goals.
#21 – Create a weekly plan
Create a massive action plan to help boost your motivation levels. When you create a plan towards your goals, you make them that much more real.
No matter how small the actions in your weekly plan might be, as long as they get you just a little bit closer to your goals, then they should be included. Small actions add up to big returns when strung together.
While creating a plan is great, you should also track your progress. When you look back, it can help to motivate you on just how far you’ve come. It’s hard to lose sight of that when you’re reaching towards your goals. Build some perspective and enhance your motivation by constantly creating weekly plans.
#22 – Make a daily to-do list
Create a list of action items that you can do today, or right now even, that will help move you towards your goals. Getting in the habit of creating to-do lists is an effective way to stay motivated towards achieving your goals.
You can combine this with the effective time management skills to help you achieve your goals without losing motivation. When we can effectively manage our lives with lists and the goals that we’re aiming towards, it’s far harder to lose sight of what we’re after.
When we fail to create lists, it’s easier to get sidetracked.
#23 – Listen to an audiobook
Find a motivational or inspirational audiobook that you can listen to. Audiobooks are a great usage of commute time and time that would otherwise be wasted on something else. Whether you’re exercising or traveling to work, find some audiobooks you can turn to for increased motivation.
You can select from a number of motivational authors such as Anthony Robbins, Jim Rohn, or of course, myself. Check out Breakthrough, How Not to Give Up, Move Mountains, or the Art of Persistence if you feel so inclined.
#24 – Go for a drive
Sometimes, in order to get some perspective on our lives, we have to just go for a drive. Going for a drive helps us to get away from the chaos, momentarily.
When we drive, we tend to delve deep into thought. Our subconscious minds are hard at work trying to reason and rationalize our actions, behaviors, and emotions. But those drives are important to our well-being.
As you drive, think about all that you’ve accomplished thus far. Mentally step away from all that’s going on in your life and try to focus on the good rather than the bad. Fill yourself with a sense of spirit and motivation to achieve whatever it is that you set out to achieve.
#25 – Read an article about a successful person
Sometimes, reading about other successful people who’ve been through similar circumstances is a great way to avoid losing motivation. The information is out there right at your fingertips.
People like J.K. Rowling, who was so poor she was living on government assistance, or Oprah Winfrey who was similarly poor and abused both mentally and physically as a child, are inspirations to many others.
Henry Ford’s first two businesses went bankrupt, while Stephen King’s initial novel, Carrie was rejected by 30 separate publishers and even thrown into the trash one time before his wife recovered it.
#26 – Find a mentor
A great way to avoid losing motivation is to find a mentor. Mentors can help us in so many ways. And while there’s no one specific way to find a mentor, you should certainly get out there and locate one that can help push you and inspire you to achieve your dreams.
Whether it’s a successful business person that you meet through a friend, or someone in your family even, find someone who can help coach you along.
Keep in mind that success won’t be easy no matter what. It’s easy to lose motivation for anyone. But turning to a mentor can help to bring all that hard work you’re doing into perspective.
#27 – Create a vision board
A vision board is a great way to keep motivated. What are your goals and your dreams? Find pictures and print them out. Go online and locate images that best represent your goals or cut them out from magazines.
Buy a cork board or some other board that you can hang in your home or office and pin the photos that inspire you. Cut out motivational sayings and quotes that go along with it. Whatever it takes to help you from losing your motivation.
Pictures can be powerful motivators. Find the ones that best represent what you’re working so hard for and pin them up somewhere you can see them every single day.