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« 5 Motivation Surprises & Zumba | Ask the Expert: Julie Morgenstern »
Tuesday
Jul032012

10 Motivation Challenges & Fixes

We think a lot about what motivates us to take action and move towards our goals. What about the things that de-motivate and prevent us from going forward? What gets in motivation’s way? By taking a look from this challenged perspective, we can begin to identify and remove some of our obstacles.

1. Abundant Choices – When the options are too plentiful, it can overwhelm us to inaction. The thought of moving ahead becomes exhausting.

Tip: Narrow your decisions to just two or three options. Pretend you have blinders on and ignore the extraneous input. If you’re still stuck, ask a friend to be a sounding board.

2. Fear of Failure – Perfectionism or being afraid of not doing something correctly, can stop us from moving forward.

Tip: Perfectionism isn’t possible. Failing is an essential part of the journey. We learn by trial and error. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Test out this alternate perspective.

3. Fear of Success – Low self-esteem can compromise your view of success. You might doubt that success is possible, and be frightened to attain it.

Tip: Look to the past. Acknowledge your small and large successes. Look to the present. Watch for current successes. Practice noticing and appreciating your wins. Build off those to reduce your fear and boost your confidence.

4. Lack of Clarity – When we don’t know what step is next or why we’re doing what we’re doing, we can easily get de-motivated.

Tip: Take a step back. Set aside time to revisit your projects, goals and values. Perhaps there has been a shift in the parameters and it’s time to make adjustments.

5. Exhaustion – Sleep is essential for proper brain and body function. When we’re exhausted, it’s difficult to remain motivated.

Tip: Review your current sleep patterns and needs. Consider if lack of sleep is contributing to you feeling unmotivated. Make the necessary adjustments.

6. Comparison  – Focusing on how we do or don’t measure up next to our colleagues, family, friends, neighbors or whoever, can only bring on unproductive thinking. This is a sure fire formula for de-motivating ourselves.

Tip: Forget about the “grass is greener” concept. It never is. Instead, be grateful. Focus on your gifts, successes, dreams, and desires. Build a life that works for you.

7. Excuses – We all make them. They are the negative messages we repeatedly tell ourselves, which prevent us from doing. We say things like, “I’d like to do ‘x,’ but I’m too tired or busy or not smart enough or…”

Tip: Set the internal alert. Become aware of the excuses that are not useful, real, or true. Begin challenging them when they appear. Reframe the dialogue to the positive.

8. Drudgery – Routines can be useful, but they can also become so mundane that we are de-motivated to maintain them.

Tip: If you are feeling bored, find ways to add the fun factor back into the equation. Would playing upbeat music, introducing pleasing colors, or bringing enervating scents into your environment make a difference? How about a change in the pace or sequence of the routine?

9. Patience – We expect so much of ourselves and want instant results. When things aren’t happening as fast as we think they should be, it can de-motivate us to continue.

Tip: Striving to achieve, become, and do takes time. Extend yourself the gift of patience.

10. Distractions – When your attention is pulled in too many directions, we can lose focus and motivation for working on what’s most important.

Tip: Pay attention to the “distraction-makers.” Are you being interrupted by people, sounds, emails, and phone calls? How can you minimize the distractions during certain times of your day? Recently, I turned off all the dings and alerts on my electronic devices. The positive affects on my focus, productivity, and motivation have been noticeable.

We’re human. We all experience times when our motivation wanes. Understanding which are your most challenging areas and implementing some of the strategies discussed will help get you back on track. Come join the conversation. What de-motivates you? What gets you unstuck? 

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Reader Comments (13)

Wow! These are really true for the challenges we face every day. Abundant choices are every where so addressing this challenge first makes a difference. For me I like to think in 3, so it is natural for me to limit choices to 3. If you can find your own number for limiting, it makes a big difference.

July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Ellen- Yes. Choices are both abundant and sometimes seemingly endless. Buliding a set of parameters or boundaries that work for you, like your rule of 3, is a great way to still allow possibilities while keeping the overwhelm to a minimum. I appreciate you joining the conversation. I always love the perspective that you add.

July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I'm bookmarking this to help keep me motivated! #5 & 7 are my downfalls--not surprising with a 6 yr old and a 2 year old always needing something (#7)--sometimes in the middle of the night... (#5).

July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

Hi Stacey- I can't believe your crew are already 2 and 6 years old! The time has flown. Our girls are both grown now (20 & 22,) but I remember the days when they were the age of your children. It was definitely a different stage in our parenting life. I remember being sleep-deprived for about five years, so I can relate to you identifying with #5 (Exhaustion!)

It's great that you stopped by to join the conversation. It's always wonderful to hear from you.

July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

An extra thanks to Stacey for noticing the missing #6. It's back. Hope you like it.

July 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Drudgery! That is so true. I love to organize, so I don't have trouble with drudgery around those tasks but I remember when I used to waitress I would have to make it into a game to get through the shift. I know that facing organizational challenges feels like such a chore to so many, I love that you suggested adding in some fun to stay motivated! Now if only I could get #1 under control...

Sunny- Great to have you join in the conversation. Isn't it interesting that when we enjoy doing something, the fun factor often comes automatically? But as you expressed, we all have challenges somewhere whether it's with organizing or being overwhelmed by too many choices. What has worked for you when faced with too many choices?

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thank you for your very wise and timely post. Just what I needed to read at this stage in my life.
With warmth,
Vicki

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

Vicki- Wonderful to have you join the conversation! I'm so glad to know that this post came at the right time for you. Was there anything in particular that resonated with you?

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda- When I have too many choices I generally end up setting arbitrary guidelines for myself to follow. I make a choice and stick with it- Sometimes it's just eeny-meeney-miney-mo! This works for the day to day stuff because in the grand scheme of things, it's good to remind myself that there is no right or wrong place to start, as long as I start somewhere. This is probably true of bigger life decisions as well. Just relax, and start somewhere.

Sunny- Love your positive and relaxed attitude about making choices. Taking the pressure off to be "right" is huge. It's wonderful that you've figured out what works for you.

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

At one time or another, I've faced everyone of these challenges. Thank you for your excellent tips on how to deal with them when they arise. Sometimes you're just too deep inside the forest to notice the trees or the path. Thank you for your guidance and insights, Linda.

Peggy- It's so true that when we're in the middle of a situation, it's often the most challenging to find a solution. We're too close and it's hard to step back and get enough distance. So glad that these solutions will be useful for you when you need them.

July 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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