Everyone has those moments — you hit a wall and don’t think you can go any further. You’ve encountered an obstacle that looks like it can’t be overcome, you’ve suffered a defeat and don’t think you can handle another one, or you have too much uncertainty ahead of you to want to move forward. When you get to a moment like this, you have two choices: Either turn back, or keep going. Logically, you might realize that to keep going is almost always the better choice, but in the moment, turning back or doing nothing is far more appealing and far easier to choose.
When you get to a moment like this, a bit of motivation can be all you need to turn your mentality around. Remember these five motivation secrets, and learn to keep going no matter what.
1. You really can fake it until you make it.
It’s a common adage, but there’s real truth to it. The more you go through the motions of something, the better you’re going to become at it — this is true in most applications, from practicing a musical instrument to feigning confident body language until you actually become more confident.
If you feel like you can’t accomplish something, or that you aren’t the right person for the job, try it anyway. There’s a chance you’ll fail (and you’ll get to try again somewhere else), but there’s a better chance that you’ll wind up improving yourself along the way. It’s also useful to know that starting something is always the hardest part of the process — once you’re in the zone, you’ll naturally feel more motivated to continue. It’s all about starting and building that initial momentum.
2. Everybody sucks at first.
The language I use here is blunt, but it’s true, and it’s an important point to hammer into your own mind. Nobody is good at anything when they first start, and most of us still make regular mistakes even after years of practice and experience. There are two key situations in which to remember this: when you feel defeated, and when you feel intimidated.
If you’ve made a mistake or failed at something, this secret should inspire you to keep trying to succeed. Thomas Edison had hundreds of failed or unimportant patents before landing on the light bulb, and almost every major tech company in the country was founded by someone who failed or lost businesses previously. If you feel like something’s too challenging for you, move forward knowing that you probably will suck at it — but that’s perfectly okay. You’ll get better.
3. Anything can be reduced to manageable steps.
No matter how big, complicated or scary a notion seems — whether that’s quitting your job to become an entrepreneur or launching a new product — it can always be reduced to smaller, more manageable steps. Do this whenever you’re facing something intimidating. Break the process down into a few main sections, then break each of those sections down to as many small steps as you can. If done correctly, no single small step in that process should seem too intimidating to approach. After that, your only job is to systematically accomplish those steps.
4. Motivation is about desire.
Don’t make the common mistake of associating motivation with discipline. Motivation shouldn’t be about forcing yourself to do something you hate to do. It should be about the strength of your desire overcoming any of the obstacles that would otherwise hold you back from getting what you want. Marathon runners push themselves through the grueling final mile because they want the feeling of victory when they cross the finish line, and they remind themselves of that goal and those feelings as they run. Similarly, you should periodically remind yourself of your own desires and your own goals.
5. You have a ton of support.
This is universally true. You always have more support than you think you do. If you feel challenged or feel like giving up, talk to your friends and family members. Talk to your coworkers and colleagues. If you can’t find support there, attend a networking event, support group or community function — if you look, you’ll always find someone (even a perfect stranger) who’s willing to lend you a helping hand, give you a bit of advice or just encourage you to keep going. Don’t be afraid to ask for support — it can make all the difference.
The next time you feel challenged, defeated or flat-out exhausted, remember these well-kept secrets. The only thing stopping you from achieving your goals is your own negative thoughts and irrational fears. You’ll always face challenges, and those negative thoughts might always creep up, but you can always fight back and keep going. You’ll be glad you did.
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