Updated: Feb 13, 2021
Have you ever made big plans for your community, only to fail to act on them? You have passion, a vision, and have the tools needed to bring your idea to life. But it never happens. Or maybe you started with a bang and kept your motivation for a few days but suddenly lost interest and tapped out. I learned early on that when it comes to organizing community action initiatives motivation is like a muscle. This muscle needs to be worked on every day and nurtured properly for growth to occur.
The importance of motivation tied to success is undeniable Chris Ceboller of Element of Leadership in his article “2 Types of Motivation Explained” states it simply and clearly.
“Motivation is the core to being successful. It drives passion, gives joy when goals are met, and gives us optimism in the face of failure.”
I know it’s easy to lose motivation after the initial excitement wears off. But if you want to be successful, it’s essential to keep going. One highly effective way to keep moving forward is to create realistic and achievable goals from the start. Tools like “SMART” goals are a great start; SMART is an acronym used to describe the process of setting realistic goals. The acronym stands for the words “specific,” “measurable,” “achievable,” “relevant,” and “time-bound,” which are essential traits of setting objectives you plan to achieve. I have attached a great SMART user-friendly template created by the University of San Diego here for your use.
So, remember, nothing kills motivation faster than pouring yourself into efforts that you cannot measure, that is unrealistic or unachievable.
Understand why you lose your motivation:
1. The planning phase is more fun than the execution phase. Sitting alone at night and making plans for the future can be an exciting time. Everything seems possible because only your imagination limits you at that point.
● However, when the sun comes up in the morning, it’s time to get busy. It all seems a little more daunting and less enjoyable when it’s time for the rubber to hit the road. So, remember make it SMART!
2. You lose track of the end result. Remind yourself of the prize at the end of your journey. Visualize and Feel how it’s all going to be when you’ve reached your goal. Think of the impact you will create. You should feel an immediate boost of motivation.
3. Your goal doesn’t suit you. Many of us choose goals that are acceptable to the world at large. It might be partnering with an outstanding organization or volunteering for a noble cause. However honorable, perhaps your goal is mismatched to your real desires or temperament. Ensure that you’ve chosen goals that match your interests and abilities.
4. You feel uncomfortable and aren’t dealing with it effectively. Of course, it’s uncomfortable to do anything new, especially when involved in community engagement. Today there are so many things coming your way that it can and will be traumatic and uncomfortable. Whether it’s working to acknowledge or to dismantle racism, becoming an ally, or choosing to stand up and lead, it’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s vital to deal with this discomfort effectively.
● Expect to feel uncomfortable. Have a plan for working through it. If you’re creating changes in your community, discomfort is the norm in all parts of the process.
5. You have too many negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are paralyzing, and the ultimate buzzkill. Negative thoughts will make you rationalize that you should quit without trying. Though it doesn’t always feel like you have control over your thoughts, YOU DO. Remember this: You can choose what thoughts you want to entertain and for how long you choose to entertain them, stay aware.
● Take control of your thoughts. Catch yourself early in the process of thinking negative thoughts and redirect your focus to something more positive. It takes time to develop and master this ability, and with awareness, your positive self-talks becomes routine, countering negative thoughts quicker and quicker. The key is to notice quickly that your thoughts are going off the rails.
6. You’re stuck in your old habits and routines. The older you are, the more challenging it can be to break out of your old patterns. We find comfort in our old routines, and our brains become hardwired to repeat them. You’ll need to create new habits and routines if you want to change your behavior and results.
● Identify one habit that is getting in your way and one habit you need to create to attain your goals. Put your time and energy into working on these two habits by creating a SMART goal for each. When you’re successful, tackle two more.
Again, expect that your motivation will falter at times so be prepared to deal with it. Forgive yourself and move on, after all you are a Rockstar. Focus on creating healthy habits that will take you to your goals and remember only if its SMART!
You have made it thru my list friend; perhaps one of these reasons speaks to you, perhaps a few do. The factors or reasons that can demotivate us are as vast and unique as each of us are. So, it’s absolutely okay and needed to take some time alone and ask yourself (honestly) is there another reason you fail to sustain your motivation?
I hope you found this article helpful; if you have any tips or tricks that you believe can help boost your motivation, please share them in the comment section.