10 Ways To Find Motivation And Rise Above Setbacks

One of the best ways to improve your new year is to master motivation and find what drives you.
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Have you ever wondered to yourself, “If only I were motivated, I could get so much done and be so successful”? Whether you’re demotivated to get rid of your bad habits or aren’t motivated enough to lose the weight you’ve been wanting to shred, a lack of motivation can serve as the biggest obstacle between you and your goals.  

If you feel like your motivation is lacking, ask yourself what factors are standing in your way. What’s preventing you from completing the project that you started? Let’s first take a look at a few roadblocks that could be stopping you.  

  • Perfectionism  

Putting high expectations on yourself can unconsciously mount a ton of pressure as well. So much so that you fail to commence the project due to fear of falling short of these expectations. Rather, try choosing the level of effort you’re comfortable with. Not everything requires hours of time, sometimes our objective should be just to get one job done before we move on to the next.  

  • Fear  

Fear of consequences? Fear of failure? Sounds familiar? Most of us hesitate in taking that first step for fear of receiving negative consequences. What if we commit a mistake? What if we end up failing? Countering fear-filled thoughts head-on can help you understand why you’re feeling challenged. Turn your dreams into concrete projects that you conquer one step at a time. Small steps can lead to big change.  

  • Setbacks   

Setbacks can arrive from any which way, and there’s no way to not feel shocked by them. But they don’t necessarily need to paralyse you into inaction. Try and plan for potential setbacks but be flexible as well. Plans don’t need to change; they just need to be adjusted with the flow.  

Now that we’ve established why we feel demotivated, let’s take a look at 10 life-changing solutions that can help you start the new year with newfound rigour.  

1. Connect with your values  

The first step is to figure out your personal values and what drives you. Ask yourself, “How do I want to see myself in the world today?” If you can’t connect the work you do with your values, you won’t be able to find your reason to keep going. Yes, completing projects is an accomplishment in itself but you need to gain more, something that is more important than having accomplished the goal itself. Once you find that out, the game changes.  

2. Find your WHY  

We often get sucked into the negative thought process of wondering why we couldn’t accomplish something? But instead, focus on why the task is important to you? Turn this answer into a compelling one-liner. Connect with a larger reason for why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’ll always get back up stronger.  

3. Create a top 10 list  

Sometimes we just need a small reminder to push us through. This helps us prepare mentally before we tackle the task at hand. Mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation. Write a list of 10 reasons WHY you need to accomplish the goal you’ve set for yourself. This could work for absolutely anything, from getting a degree to preparing for a marathon. Visual reminders keep pushing you when the going gets tough.  

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Write a list of 10 reasons WHY you need to accomplish the goal you’ve set for yourself. Image | Unsplash

4. Reframe your goals  

If you fear failure or setbacks, reframe your goals in a more positive manner. When we focus on a positive goal, we feel more motivated to accomplish it as we feel like we’re moving towards something that’ll bring us gratification. It’s better for our mental wellbeing as well, as we constantly nourish ourselves with what we want instead of denying ourselves the things we don’t.  

5. Change your HOW  

Always keep in mind that not every strategy works for everyone or even you for that matter. Different people, different situations and different mindsets call for different strategies. Shift your focus from getting tasks done to doing them right instead. Mastering your craft is way more important than simply getting the task done. Sometimes slow may work, sometimes you may need to speed things up a bit. Changing your ways and how you perform can get you out of mental ruts and give you avenues to escape the ordinary.  

6. Use your travel time  

Ralph Waldo Emerson put it beautifully, “We become what we think about all day long.” If you want to be the person you aspire you be, you need to think of ways you can achieve it. Since most of us spend a good portion of our days travelling, whether driving or taking the bus, this travel time can be used for education as well as motivation. Indulge in motivational podcasts or audiobooks that particularly speak to you. In just three months of daily listening, we end up acquiring an equivalent of a full semester in college.  

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Indulge in motivational podcasts or audiobooks that particularly speak to you while you travel to work. Image | Unsplash

7. Impress yourself first  

If you aren’t doing this for yourself, who are you doing it for? Big shots like Peter Jackson, James Cameron and Stephenie Meyer inspire themselves by working on projects that impress themselves first. By connecting your passion to your work, you forgo the expectations of others. Your internal bar is set high enough to become your drive.  

8. Play to your strengths  

Focusing too much time on your weaknesses can make you mentally weak, it enforces the point that you’re someone with faults. But everyone has those, you’re not the only one. If you, instead, spend more time playing to your strengths and mastering your abilities, you can renew yourself with refreshed energy and flow. Strengths are the best place for you to grow. Find things that inspire you and that you can do all day long. Try and do them just as you said and after a point, you won’t even need to find an excuse to do it.  

9. Build resilience  

Life is a journey; it goes up but it also goes down. People who are resilient can bounce back from setbacks quicker than those who dwell on situations and keep themselves down. No matter how terrible or traumatizing a situation, you have the strength inside you to bounce back, maybe not stronger at first but surely as the time passes. To build your resiliency, always remind yourself of three lines of thought: I have; I am; I can. In an article by psychologist Edith Grotberg, PhD., she explains the concept as;  

I Have: strong relationships, structure, rules at home, role models; these are external supports that are provided; 

I Am: a person who has hope and faith, cares about others, is proud of myself; these are inner strengths that can be developed;  

I Can: communicate, solve problems, gauge the temperament of others, seek good relationships – all interpersonal and problem-solving skills that are acquired.  

10. Let go of the outcome  

Everyone defines success differently. Success for some can be money, for some it can be finding happiness and for others, it could be being proud of the efforts they put. Focusing more on the efforts or what a success brought you can help you overcome the pressure of getting the perfect outcome. Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.  

Read more: How To Not Be Such A Perfectionist

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