A question that people enter into the Google search engine hundreds, if not thousands of times a day. The inability to stay motivated in order to achieve a long-distance goal is very common, and millions struggle with it. After all, it requires a lot of commitment and hard work, while the reward is nowhere to be seen.
Our brains work in peculiar ways. We are aware of the importance of the task we have in front of us, we know that completing it will bring us a huge amount of satisfaction, joy, probably money. Generally, one of the best feelings a human being can experience – the sense of fulfillment.
Unfortunately, if this is a long-term goal, we tend to focus on all the obstacles that we can run into during our work. Even if most of these obstacles are simply imaginary. That’s correct, we are making them up. There are many reasons why – we are scared that we won’t manage to finish the task, the number of things to do is too big and it paralyzes us, or we get distracted by less important or completely unimportant tasks and activities.
The need for instant gratification.
Most people, well, almost everyone is ‘programmed’ in a certain way – and it’s not helpful when it comes to chasing the long-term goal. We tend to search for those activities and actions that are guaranteed to reward us with immediate satisfaction. Here’s an example:
You are hungry, and you have an hour of free time. There’s a grocery shop nor far from your home, but there’s also a fast food restaurant at about the same distance. You can:
A. Find an interesting recipe on the web, go the shop to buy ingredients and spend the rest of your free time preparing a healthy and elaborate meal.
B. You can order some junk food and spend an hour of your free time eating it in front of your TV/PC.
Choice A requires engagement. We have to move, focus, and endeavor in order to prepare a tasty meal by ourselves. However, in return, we are rewarded with the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment. We also learn an interesting recipe and enhance our cooking skills.
Choice B, on the other hand, leaves us lying on the couch, eating another slice of pizza or something else that cannot be good for our health, and probably self-loathing over the time being wasted and lot of unwanted calories being gained 😛
So, why is that, that people would most likely go for the option B when given the chance? Because it’s easy and it’s simple.
Luckily, it is not that difficult to deal with such attitude. It takes time to practice, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort. Here’s what we can do:
Keep track of your progress.
The crucial factor of our motivation. After all, without any proof of the progress made, we tend to lose the will to continue our work. Has it ever happened to you that by the end of your day you felt like you haven’t accomplished anything? Like nothing has been done… But after some time, when you have it a deeper thought, you realized that you actually managed to do a lot, and your day was far from unproductive.
It happens that we forget about our little achievements, especially if there’s this one big goal on our mind. And we absolutely should not do this. Even a simple calendar can do magic here. Not only will we able to track the progress of our work, we will also have a written proof of the work done. Just take a glance at it before going to bed, and you should feel much better about yourself.
Don’t worry, be happy!
The words of the famous song by Bobby McFerrin can be a life’s motto! However, in the case of our work, they carry a simple advice. By all means, we should not blame ourselves too hard. Even if our day was as unproductive as possible and the goal seems even further than it was before, blaming oneself is the worst thing to do. There is absolutely nothing for us to gain from such behavior. But we can draw the important lesson from this unpleasant experience. Start by asking yourself a few questions:
- What went wrong?
- Why wasn’t I able to get to work?
- What can I change?
Imagine that your unproductiveness is a monster. That one day it was so strong that it got the better of you. But that’s not all – you failed and you feel awful about yourself and by doing so, you feed this monster, it grows stronger. The next day it will be even harder to beat.
That’s where the ‘be happy’ part comes to lend a hand. While we already know what should have avoided on every cost, we haven’t discussed the right steps to take in order to stay motivated. Answering the above questions is the first small step to improve.
However, the most important part is our attitude. Even with the long-term goal, there are methods that can help us go all the way to its end, and, in this case, to a success. We should celebrate every small achievement, every little win. Our brains need a stimulation. Something that will give them a boost to work harder.
There are a lot of theories that say that motivation is needed only at the beginning of one’s work. Then it turns into the routine and becomes as easy as a pie. Is it true? If you suffer from lack of motivation, try out the suggested methods, and you may just find out! 😉
Check out our related posts, where you will find more tips concerning time management and productivity.