5 Tips for Staying Motivated (Even If You’re Really Not Feeling It)

Motivation is like a flickering flame; it needs constant fuel to keep burning. There are times when we all feel our motivation waning, whether it’s due to a challenging project, a personal crisis, or simply the humdrum of daily life.

In today’s blog post, I’ll give you five practical tips to overcome all the challenges, even when you feel like you’re just going through the motions.

1. Set Clear, Achievable Goals

How Setting goals makes you motivated

Setting goals is the cornerstone of staying motivated. But not just any goals – they need to be SMARTSpecificMeasurableAchievableRelevant, and Time-bound:

  • Define what you want to achieve. Example: “I will complete a 5km run.”
  • Ensure you can track your progress. Example: Use a fitness app to monitor your runs.
  • Set goals within your abilities. Example: Start with shorter runs if you’re a beginner.
  • Align your goals with your larger life objectives. Example: Running to improve cardiovascular health.
  • Set a deadline. Example: “I will achieve this within two months.”

For instance, instead of saying, “I want to be more fit,” set a goal like, “I will exercise for 30 minutes, three times a week, for the next month.” This approach gives you a clear target and a timeline, making it easier to stay on track.

 “The SMART framework for goal-setting was first introduced in 1981 by George T. Doran in a paper titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” It revolutionized the way businesses and individuals approach goal setting.” 

2. Break Down Big Tasks

Does Making Smaller Tasks Really Works

Large tasks can be overwhelming. Breaking them into smaller, more manageable pieces makes them less daunting. If you’re working on a big project, divide it into smaller tasks and focus on completing one at a time.

This not only makes the work seem more doable but also provides a sense of accomplishment as you tick off each small task. Tackling each small task separately reduces pressure and improves focus.

Big Task Smaller Tasks
Write a research paper 1. Choose a topic.
2. Conduct initial research.
3. Create an outline.
4. Write the introduction.
5. Continue with subsequent sections.

“This psychological phenomenon, named after psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, suggests that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. This effect is often used to explain why setting small, achievable goals can keep us motivated – we want to complete what we’ve started.”

3. Find Your ‘Why’

How to Find Your Why

Understanding why you’re doing something can be a powerful motivator. Whether it’s a personal reason, like improving your health, or a professional one, like advancing your career, keep your ‘why’ in mind.

Remind yourself of this reason, especially when you’re feeling unmotivated. Sometimes, revisiting your purpose can reignite your enthusiasm.

How to Identify Your Why – Possible Reasons

  1. Personal Growth: Learning a new skill to enhance self-esteem.
  2. Career Advancement: Gaining expertise for a promotion.
  3. Health and Wellness: Exercising to improve overall health.

Regularly reflecting on your ‘why’ can provide a continuous source of inspiration.

4. Create a Positive Environment

Why Redecoreting Your Room is so motivational

Your environment plays a crucial role in your motivation. Surround yourself with positivity – be it inspiring quotes, a tidy workspace, or supportive colleagues or friends.

Additionally, eliminate distractions as much as possible. A conducive environment can significantly enhance your focus and drive.

  • Secure tidy space: Keep your workspace clutter-free to enhance focus.
  • Add inspirational elements: Decorate with motivational posters or plants.
  • Find a support system: Engage with peers or mentors who encourage you.

Cultivating a positive environment is an ongoing process that requires regular adjustments and reflections.

5. Reward Yourself

Rewards can be a great motivator. Set up a reward system for when you achieve your goals or complete tasks. This could be as simple as taking a short break, enjoying your favorite snack, or watching an episode of a TV show you like.

Rewards give you something to look forward to and can make the process more enjoyable.

What Can You Do?

  1. Take a short break, go for a 15-minute walk or meditate.
  2. Take your favorite treat, have a piece of chocolate or your favorite coffee.
  3. Watch a movie or spend time on a hobby.

The key is to choose rewards that are meaningful and enjoyable for you.

“Did You Know? The concept of “gamification” in goal setting and motivation is gaining popularity. By turning goal achievement into a game, where you earn points, badges, or rewards for completing tasks, you can significantly boost your motivation and engagement. This approach is especially effective in today’s digital world, where game-like elements are both familiar and enjoyable.”


How can I maintain motivation for long-term goals that take years to achieve?

For long-term goals, it’s crucial to set and celebrate milestones along the way. Break your goal into phases or stages, and recognize your progress at each step.

Additionally, revisiting and possibly revising your goals to keep them relevant and aligned with your life can keep your motivation fresh.

What should I do when I achieve a goal but still feel unmotivated?

Sometimes, achieving a goal might not bring the expected satisfaction, leading to a drop in motivation. In such cases, reflect on your journey and the lessons learned.

Then, set a new goal, possibly in a different area, to reignite your motivation. Exploring new interests can also provide a fresh burst of enthusiasm.

How do I stay motivated when I’m not seeing immediate results?

Motivation can wane when results aren’t immediate. To counter this, focus on the process rather than just the outcome. Celebrate the small wins and the effort you’re putting in.

Keeping a progress journal can help you visualize how far you’ve come, even when the results aren’t immediately apparent.

Can peer groups or mentors help in maintaining motivation? How?

Absolutely! Peer groups and mentors provide support, accountability, and inspiration. They can offer guidance, share their experiences, and help you navigate challenges.

Being part of a group with similar goals or having a mentor can also create a sense of community, making your journey less isolating.

Is it okay to change goals if I’m consistently struggling to stay motivated?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to reevaluate and change your goals. Sometimes, our ambitions evolve, or we find that certain goals are no longer aligned with our values or current life situation.

Adapting your goals to these changes can reignite motivation and make your endeavors more meaningful.

How important is it to track progress, and what are some effective ways to do it?

Tracking progress is vital for maintaining motivation. It provides tangible evidence of your achievements and how close you are to your goals.

Effective ways to track progress include maintaining a journal, using apps or digital tools, creating a visual progress board, or setting regular check-ins with yourself or a mentor.

The Bottom Line

Staying motivated is not always easy, but it’s essential for achieving our goals and fulfilling our potential.

By setting clear goals, breaking down tasks, understanding your ‘why’, creating a positive environment, and rewarding yourself, you can keep your motivation alive, even on the toughest days.

Always keep in mind that motivation is a journey, not a destination. Keep fueling that flame, and you’ll be surprised at how far you can go.