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How to stay motivated

Today we are taking motivation and that it is motivation that gets you started but what will keep you going, even when you feel like giving up?

Here's the thing, where you start is far less important than where you’re willing to go.

One of the main differences between those who succeeded and those who don't is the word “yet.”

“I’m not strong enough. Yet.”

“I don’t know how to do this. Yet.”

“I can’t handle this. Yet.”

Motivation is what gets you started. Almost everything after that is just doing what needs to be done in the moment… until you eventually get where you want to be.

Motivation may return at some point—but it’s never guaranteed.

Here are 7 ways to keep moving forward when you don’t feel motivated.

#1: Have a deep reason.
A deeper reason is the fail-safe that keeps you going when you’ve got nothing else left in your tank.
#2: Find meaning being uncomfortable.
In order to keep working towards something big, this purpose/deep reason needs to be a frequent, daily presence in your mind.
#3: Prioritize systems over willpower.

If motivation isn’t the answer, willpower must be what we need, right?

Not quite.

Systems help us prioritize what to do and when to do it. They also remove a lot of the effort and willpower we think are required to get things done.

This approach of shaping your environment to help yourself succeed works with any type of habit you’re struggling to stick to.

#4: Separate your feelings from your identity

We often assume that our feelings should drive our behavior.

That if we feel tired or sad or discouraged, we should do tired, sad, and discouraged things.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can recognize and accept those feelings in the same way that we grab a jacket when we see storm clouds passing over.

Our moment-to-moment feelings don’t have to determine who we are or what we choose to do.

Simply knowing this can make it easier to carry on when we don’t feel like it.

#5: Use behavior to change negative feelings.

One way to deal with negative feelings—which will inevitably come up when pursuing any challenging goal—is to put behavior first. Over time, this allows us to have more control over how we feel in any situation.

By not quitting in our low moments, we built a habit of finding a way to keep going whenever things got really bad. Over time, the urge to quit fades because we are repeatedly reinforcing that bad days still meant that we’d be okay.

When you hit a low point, promise yourself you can quit tomorrow.

After this workout.

After this last round of meal prep.

After this section or chapter or lesson.

Over time, you’ll reinforce the decision and action to “do the thing that’s good for me right now,” and it’ll shape your future impulses and preferences.

#6: Use low moments to your advantage.

When we experience something that disturbs our equilibrium or life's balance, such as a tough workout or a bad day at work, a subconscious part of our mind rapidly assesses two things:

1. Do I know what’s happening?

2. Do I have what it takes to cope with it?

Our perception of both are derived from experience.

The more things we throw ourselves into, whether we succeed or fail, the broader our experiences to refer to when assessing future stressors.

The next time you crash and burn or feel like you keep getting knocked down, remember that even failure provides an opportunity.

It’s an earned experience that helps create a more accurate and effective stress appraisal in the future.

At some point, your mind will know that you’ve been there, done that—even when you’re in the middle of something awful. And you can calmly and rationally move forward with the benefit of hard-earned knowledge.

#7: View life as a series of learnable skills, and practice them.
Resilient, effective people don’t just “try harder.” Rather, they see any process as a skill that can be developed.

Here’s how it might work:

  • Identify a past experience when your self-talk became self-sabotage.

  • Take that apart. What exactly was happening in your mind, and what were you doing?

  • Decide on a specific practice that could be instituted in a similar situation in the future.

Perhaps when you were trying to get up for a 6 a.m. workout, you began mentally complaining and negotiating with yourself about getting out of bed.

Your future practice: Instead of complaining about how tired you are, you replace that dialogue with a different narrative. You tell yourself that you’re supposed to feel tired when you’re waking up. And that this early morning is the path you chose as a necessary step toward doing the thing that you truly want to do.

Or maybe you just replace the negative self-talk with a mantra or meaningful song lyric.

Whatever it is, be specific about what you’ll practice.

Progress, even if small, feels good and can be enough to keep you going… until the next day.

This is how you achieve great things.

Yes, it might be a long, slow, hard journey. But when we look back on our lives, what we remember most will be the things that were worth struggling for—and the way it felt to earn our happiness.

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