However focused you feel, and how committed you consider yourself to be towards your goals, it is perfectly normal to experience a dip in your motivation – put simply, nobody is perfect, and we are all allowed a wobble in the pursuit of our objectives.
Let's explore some of the most common causes of dips in motivation, and some suggestions about getting back on track.
Your goal is too VAGUE
What does achieving the goal look and feel like? If you cannot express this in clear and crisp language, using evaluative and measurable terms, you will always fall short!
This involves using the SMART model to make your motivation mean something and give you a positive frame of mind. SMART stands for:
1. Specific – what exactly are you trying to achieve? Becoming the CEO is a good example of this, with a focus, whereas wanting to progress and be promoted is not! You really need to be precise here.
2. Measurable – clear steps in working towards your goal that you can complete and then move onto the next issue. This could be reducing the error rate on your production system by 5% in the next month – easy to manage and record. Once done move onto something else such as reducing stock values by 10% – again, clear and measurable!
3. Achievable – think about your starting point compared with your end goal. Does it feel like a reasonable leap? Big targets are scary and will frustrate and demotivate the best of us but breaking them down into a sequence of smaller tasks makes the process more manageable and motivational.
4. Realistic – how will you schedule activities to support your goal around your other commitments? What realistic changes do you need to make to achieve your target? Deciding to run a marathon next week is highly unrealistic for most of us but setting a target to run a marathon in 12 months’ time probably is far more realistic.
5. Time-bound – have accurate and reasonable timings in place for you to meet your end goal, it can help to set micro-goals to help you see progress as you build up your activities.
Too much focus on the outcome rather than performance
Setting an outcome to ‘be the next CEO” fails to spell out the exact path that you are going to take to achieve that goal. There is no mention here as to the exact steps that you will need to achieve that position, so what are you going to do and how will you measure your progress towards it?
Your focus needs to be on the ways of achieving your goal: becoming Department Manager is the first logical step, followed by finding appropriate training and development to get the skills needed for a senior management position, and so on. This then lets you plan your journey and setting performance targets for you to aim at.
Hitting the targets gets you closer to the overall objective.
Take your time – it is not always a rush!
Often there is no real need to proceed at break-neck speed – far better to have a need to achieve something rather than a desire to trip the light-fantastic right now. Write down exactly what is motivating you at a personal level to reach the goal which then makes deciding on a plan, over a realistic period, that much more achievable.
Thinking too much about previous failure
Previous failures naturally lead to feelings of low self-esteem which can allow us to develop a negative mindset about trying again.
Previous tasks and attempts are gold dust in terms of learning the reasons behind failure and what can be done differently next time. Key questions include:
- Was the goal too stretching? If so, try planning some short-term SMART goals so you can track and celebrate your achievements.
- Did you allocate enough time for your activities? Logging them can help you prioritise and stop other things getting in the way.
- How did you track your progress? Regular reviews of good and not-so-good practice in previous tasks give a good insight into how to plan this and subsequent projects.
Losing your passion
Choose projects and tasks that will sustain and nurture your love and commitment to what you are trying to achieve. Tackling projects that are a chore and that do not give any stimulus to your development are always going to be a big challenge – better to avoid them whenever you can!
Good Luck!! If you require any support on your journey our expert team is on hand to provide you with advice and guidance to help you stay motivated and reach your potential