Using Motivation to Power to the Next Level

By Alisa Beckwith-Ayilliath

There you are with a project due by the end of the week and you’ve not taken the first step to start even though it’s Wednesday; or perhaps one day the realization hits that you’ve been working toward the same goal for two years with no forward progress. Even though you know you have to complete the project or goal to get to the next level, you just can’t find the will to do it. Welcome to the dreaded slump fed by a growing lack of motivation. It’s something we all experience at some point and it doesn’t matter how much you love your career or are passionate about a dream; without a good healthy dose of motivation to drive us when we need it, nothing will flourish.

The “Psychology Today,” website defines motivation as “literally the desire to do things.” What a simple definition for something that’s arguably one of the key factors between success and failure. How many times has lack of motivation halted dreams? How often have you seen the best of intentions seem impure because the person who starts a project with gusto suddenly seems to run out of steam when the real work starts? Blame it on motivational deprivation. In other words, they’re just not feeling it anymore.

Everyone has the ability to change the course of action when we feel a lack of motivation leading us to hit a wall. However, before effective change can be created, it’s important to first recognize when and why motivation was lost. Whether it’s fear of our abilities, lack of enthusiasm for the task or simply sheer boredom, once we’re able to break down the hurdles, it’s motivation which will put us back on the right track.

Getting motivated enough to do something that’s dreaded doesn’t come in a one motivator fits all solution. Everyone is driven by different motivating forces but over the years, I’ve found the most successful forms of motivation come from embracing the simple things in life. Below, are the five motivators I’ve used most frequently. Hopefully, one of them will be helpful in getting you through your next motivational rut.

  1. Go to your happy place. As much as you may want to, I don’t mean zone out. I want you to find and remember your happiness. I keep a “joy jar” and “home of happiness” box. Both are filled with reminders of special moments and things for which I am grateful. From copies of memes that gave me belly laughs, photos, and motivational quotes to cards and trinkets from friends and slivers of papers with handwritten memories, each make me smile even on my worst days.

  2. Honor the power of words. The power of words to give courage through some the darkest hours or to poison and kill the greatest of dreams amazes me. Surround yourself with a vision board and/or quotes that strengthen and courage, while reminding you, you can do anything. Keep your favorite motivational quotes displayed where they can be seen often like your computer monitor or door of the fridge. Sources of inspiration are everywhere but two of my favorites are Pinterest and Twitter.

  3. Beware the company you keep. Let’s face it, there are a lot of negative Nellies in the world. They eagerly wait on the sidelines to nix dreams or say ‘I told you so’ when things don’t pan out as anticipated. They are family, co-workers, people masquerading as “friends” or complete strangers, and you need to run away before their negativity impacts you. Surround yourself with encouraging and positive people who not only want more for themselves but also for you. True friends and/or a good mentor remind you to laugh, give tough love when needed and reminders of all the reasons it’s important to move forward with your goals. Most importantly, they are lifelines in moments of doubt and fear.

  4. Dance it Out. Yep. Dance...even if you think you can’t dance. It’s amazing how a dance break can change a mood and give energy to pull through when it’s needed most. I recommend keeping a personal playlist packed with songs that make you want to move. Each song on my playlist has an irresistible beat and lyrics that give the motivational fuel I need to push through a project, the day or simply a rut. Feel free to email me if you’d like a list of songs on my personal pep playlist or you’d like to share yours.

  5. Take 10…or 15. Taking a short breather away from what you’re trying to avoid can ironically help hit the reset button and get you motivated to start anew. Just don’t take too much time away because the longer you stay away from a goal, a dream or a project, the more difficult it is to jumpstart your motivation and the easier it becomes to avoid it all together.

**Bonus motivator** Reward yourself! You’ve done it. There may have been days where so much motivation was needed that you had to pull out all the stops in one day… a dance party, a call to a friend or mentor, and a re-read of every motivational quote under the sun but you finally chipped away at your goal and achieved it. It’s important to acknowledge your hard work and reward yourself for it. Whether it’s a getaway, a new pair of shoes or lunch at your favorite restaurant, take time to bask in the moment of success and use it as a motivator for the next phase of your dream.

Alisa Beckwith-Ayilliath is owner of Love My Voice, a Voiceover and Media Consulting firm. She’s a self-described former cowardly lion who has found her roar.

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