16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump
By: Andy T. Hansen
Even the most motivated of us, you, me and even Zig Ziglar… can feel unmotivated at times. In fact, sometimes we get into such a slump that even thinking about making positive changes seems too difficult.
But it’s not hopeless… with some small steps, baby ones in fact, you can get started down the road to positive change. As my good friend Morris Goodman says: Inch by Inch it’s a cinch…. “Yard by Yard it’s too hard”!
Yes, I know, it seems impossible at times. You don’t feel like doing anything. I’ve been there and in fact I still feel that way from time to time. So….you’re not alone. But I’ve learned a few ways to break out of a slump and we’ll take a look at those right now.
Being motivated is like fitness training. If you fall out of exercise, due to illness or injury or disruption from things going on in your life, it’s hard to get started again. Here are some simple steps that will help you shake out of it and get back on track!
(1) One Goal. Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life. I’m trying to do too much, to fast. It saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make. They spread themselves too thin, they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing any goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible! I’ve tried it so many times. You have to choose one goal for now, and focus on it completely. You have to focus on it with white heat intensity! I know that’s hard to pick one and focus on, it but still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your current number One Goal.
(2) Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I ‘Google’ my goal and read success stories. I listen to Zig Ziglar, Morris Goodman or any of the motivational greats.
(3) Get excited. This sounds obvious but most people don’t think about it much. If you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about your goal. “But how can you do that when you don’t feel motivated”, I hear you ask? Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it and to others, reading as much about it as possible and visualising what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that… it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going... whatever the world throws at me.
(4) Build anticipation. This will sound hard and many people will skip this tip... but you must not. If you find inspiration and want to achieve a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a big mistake. Set a date in the future, a week or two, or even a month and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar-your new ‘One Goal Start Date’. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan and do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, thus increasing your focus and energy for your goal.
(5) Post your goal. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, (“I Will Close A Sale Every Day”) and post it up on your wall, or refrigerator. Display it at home and at work. Make sure you put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal also helps.
(6) Commit publicly. None of us like to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. I call it ‘Get Hung By The Tongue’ For example, when I wanted to become a motivational speaker, I started writing about it and telling everyone I met that I was one. I couldn’t back down and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. You must hold yourself accountable… don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
(7) Think about it daily. If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true. To this end, posting the goal on your wall or computer desktop (as mentioned above) helps a lot. Sending yourself daily reminders also helps. And if you can commit to doing one small thing to further your goal (even just 5 minutes) every single day, your goal will almost certainly come true.
(8) Get support. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to become a motivational speaker, I had the help of friends, family and associates, I had a great ‘Motivational Speaker Community’ who encouraged me. And of course, my wife Wendy helped every step of the way. I couldn’t have achieved this goal without her, or without the others who supported me. Find your support team, either in the real world or online, or even better….both.
(9) Realise that there’s an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes… comes and goes again, like the tide. But realise that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal (see below), ask for help (see below), and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.
(10) Stick with it. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today or this week, don’t give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can’t give up with every little bump. The road to the top or your goal is full of potholes. In my case, there were some Grand Canyons! Stay with it for the long term, ride out the ebbs and surf on the flows and you’ll get there.
(11) Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No you don’t… instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all…. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps…. remember, ‘Inch by Inch it’s a cinch’!
(12) Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can’t exercise for 2 minutes? (If that’s you, I apologise,). And you’ll feel successful, and good about yourself. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. If you want to build a strong business, commit to close one more sale this week, then 2 next week, then 3, then 4 and so on. Make each step really, really small and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.
(13) Read about it daily. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.
(14) Call for help when your motivation ebbs. Having trouble? Ask for help. Email me: email@example.com or get a partner to join you. Call your business partner or your life partner. It doesn’t matter who, just tell them how you feel as talking about it will help. Don’t dump on them or end up in a ‘thumb sucking’ session, be objective and ask for help. Ask them to help you overcome your slump… if they are on your team they will. It works.
(15) Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. One common problem is that we think about how hard something is. Exercise sounds so hard! Closing a sale sounds so hard! Making more money sounds so hard! Finding new customers is so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired and makes everyone around you tired. Instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. The benefits of something will help energise you... Fact!
(16) Squash negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Along those lines, it’s important to start monitoring your thoughts. Recognise negative self-talk, which is really what’s causing your slump. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought you have. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, stamp on them like an ant. Then replace them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard”! and replace it with, “I can do this”! If that wimp ROGER can do it, so can I… It sounds corny, but it works. I promise you it really does.