So, You Lost Your Motivation. Now What?
More often than anyone likes, the motivation to do something you truly want to do dies inexplicably. One minute, you’re cruising along, accomplishing all the things, and the next…you’re not.
You tell yourself every morning: today is the day I get back to it. And then, nothing. You find a million other things to fill your time and then bedtime approaches, so you tell yourself: Tomorrow is the day I get back to it.
Rinse. Repeat. You’re stuck.
My goal this year was to write 500 words every single day. When I missed a day at the end of February due to a packed, out-of-my-control family vacation schedule, something snapped in my motivation.
The following day, I only had the focus to write a journal-type entry, which felt useless because it wasn’t furthering along any of the 19+ stories I have brewing at the moment. The day after that, I simply didn’t write at all. I made the excuse to myself that there was no point of writing if I didn’t feel inspired or focused enough to write anything but a futile journal entry.
Oh what a feeble excuse. Painfully so.
Prior to the first missed day, I accomplished my goal for 54 days — it had grown into a very rewarding habit. When I missed that first day, I was upset and vowed not to let it happen again. And yet…I chose to let it happen again. Several times.
I cannot pinpoint the cause of my change of heart. I’ve come up with a list of possibilities (emotional stress, fear of failure, laziness), but none of them feel like the actual cause.
So, instead of continuing to bang my head against the wall trying to figure out how the de-motivator switch was flipped in my brain, I decided to just write and to publish whatever came out.
Right now, I’m elated to be finally writing and publishing again (my writing hiatus left me feeling pretty publishing shy). It hurt to stay away and it feels great to be back now!
The purpose of my goal to write every day wasn’t to end the year with 182,500 words. The purpose was to improve my craft, teach myself some discipline, and have fun. A few missed days certainly won’t change those effects.
Any goal to do something every day is a lofty one because some days simply don’t go the way you plan. A skipped day may mean that your “goal” isn’t technically achieved, but it doesn’t ruin the intent behind the goal unless you let it stop you from continuing.
Don’t let a little wording stop you from continuing on your chosen path. Don’t waste time analyzing for why you are stuck. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start back up. Just go do it. Right now. If, for some specific reason you absolutely can’t do it right now, tell someone (right now) who will hold you accountable for doing it [insert soonest possible time]. And then follow through.
Do you have any tips for pulling yourself out of a motivational funk? Please share them below!
It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.
Originally published March 11, 2018 on The Ascent