How to stay motivated

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which you may not like at all, yet you find motivation to complete even them because you recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal. How did it feel after that first jog around the block? Or when you finally walked the stairs at work without losing your breath? The more you accomplish, the more you’ll believe in yourself. If you get a little way towards your goal then flounder, there’s a good chance that you’ve not broken your project into sensible chunks or milestones.
Sometimes, your project is already segmented for you – for instance, if you’re studying a degree program, you’ll have a certain number of classes that you need to take in order to graduate. You might want to create a list of these and put it in a prominent place, so you can cross off each one as you complete it.
Other times, you need to come up with meaningful divisions. Maybe you’re trying to write a book. Your “chunks” could be individual sections or chapters – or specific pieces of research that you need to complete.
Whatever your goal is, you’ll get there faster if you spend some time learning things that can help you. And the more you learn, the more confidence (and hence motivated) you’ll be. Don’t fall into the trap of learning without doing, though. I see this a lot with would-be writers who’ll read about writing – or attend courses and seminars – but who rarely finish work on an article or a short story. Every time you learn something new, look for ways to apply it to your project. Whatever your project is, you’re probably motivated by the end result. You’re thinking of how great it will be to see your book in stores, or to get that qualification which will help you take your career to the next level.
Don’t lose sight of that big picture. It can be hard to stay motivated when the tasks on your list seem relatively mundane – editing a chapter of your book, for instance, or memorizing some facts before an exam. Create a reminder of your ultimate goal to keep you going.