How to Motivate Yourself During Tough Times

There’s no denying that the past year has been challenging one for entrepreneurs, investors, business owners and professionals.

If you are based in Nigeria or even in Lagos you will even be facing the current fuel scarcity, long queues and also the prospect of buying black market to run your generators for either your office use or homes due to lack of constant electricity and COVID-19 restrictions constantly changing, and new safety regulations to get your head around, it can be hard to stay motivated. While it’s normal for your energy and enthusiasm to ebb, losing your mojo needn’t mean losing everything you’ve worked for.

These tips on getting through tough times will help you cope with complications, boost your motivation, and reaffirm your commitment to the cause.

1. Remember your mission

Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. What were your goals when you started? What have you achieved so far? Who would you be letting down if you gave up?
If you’re not sure, it can be helpful to sit down for a goal-setting session. Write down your ambitions, successes, and key motivating factors to remind yourself daily what you’re working towards. This way, you’ll be able to get through small tasks by focusing on how they help to advance your overall mission.

2. Visualise a successful outcome

Visualisation is a technique used by professional athletes, actors, and musicians. By picturing themselves succeeding before performing, they’re able to greatly increase their chances of actually experiencing success.
This technique can be applied to any aspect of life. Whatever it is that you want to achieve, simply imagine it happening. The more detailed the visualisation, the better – from the conversations you have and the words you speak, right down to the clothes you’re wearing and the weather.
When you think of a big goal, it can be all too easy to focus on the obstacles in your way, especially when having to deal with tough times. This is actually negative visualisation and only acts to stand between you and your dreams. If you want to be victorious, think victorious.

3. Take a break and treat yourself

You’ve heard the old saying: “A change is as good as a rest.” Well, it’s also true that a rest can be as good as a change. Sometimes we just need a bit of space to get our groove back.
If you can, take a holiday, even if it’s just a “staycation.” Enjoy some rest and recuperation on the sofa, try a new activity, or head out for long walks in nature. A week away from your desk can work wonders for boosting flagging motivation and reigniting your creativity.
If you can’t step back for a week, make your weekends work for you by seeking a little tranquillity and indulgence. Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode and focus on self-care, whether that’s having an at-home spa day or spending time on your hobbies.

4. Break down big and scary challenges

You can make big challenges less intimidating by breaking them down into component parts. By setting small, more easily achievable goals, you’ll achieve the satisfaction of regularly realising them.
This feeling of success is a wonderful motivator. And if you keep accomplishing small goals, before you know it, you’ll be halfway to fulfilling a big one.

5. Celebrate each small victory

When you’re working towards a big goal, it can be easy to lose sight of the little successes. But just because you’re focused on signing up 20 new attendees to your online workshop, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate each one you secure.

Just because you planned on making 5 Sales or 10 Sales this month doesn’t mean you cannot celebrate the first or 2nd sale that you made.

Treating yourself every time you hit a milestone is one of the best strategies to motivate yourself. You don’t need to pop a bottle of champagne every time, but you should treat yourself to something small like a bar of chocolate.

6. Share your challenges and ask for support

If you feel out of your depth, don’t be afraid to turn to others for help. Perhaps you have an old boss or other business mentor who’s been through similar challenges and can share their experiences and knowledge.
Alternatively, try the power of collective problem-solving by discussing the challenges with your team. You don’t have to go it alone, even if you’re the boss. You can also ask your community for support. Even if you’re not running events, making Sales or doing stuff you normally in terms of results at the moment, past or old clients, past attendees, may be able to help out by offering feedback.

7. Get inspired with your favourite movies, books, and songs

We spoke earlier about the importance of taking a break once in a while and refocusing yourself. Getting lost in a great movie or book is a really effective way to do this. Choose one with an inspirational message – the feel-good ending will leave you on a high, feeling ready to slay your own dragons.
If you need a quick fix, simply stick on your favourite song and sing along. Belting out life-affirming lyrics can work wonders when times are tough.

8. Promise yourself a big reward once you reach your final goal

All big companies understand the power of incentives. Promising their executives a money-can’t-buy experience in recognition of great work is a tried and trusted motivational technique. It works for self-motivation, too.
What would encourage you to keep going? Devise and plan your perfect reward and display a reminder on your desk. Don’t forget to visualise yourself enjoying it and you’re bound to make it happen.

9. Get physical with some exercise

When you have no motivation, strap on your trainers. Heading out for a jog or participating in a fitness event can boost your endorphin levels – helping you out of your low mood.
Studies have shown that exercising regularly can help to reduce stress and boost self-esteem. Over time, it’ll also raise your endurance levels, so you’ll have more energy to think clearly and come up with exciting new ideas.

10. Stick to a routine to beat procrastination

Even if you don’t usually enjoy having a strict schedule, building a routine can help you to regain your enthusiasm and feel more in control. Setting yourself soft deadlines throughout the day also makes it more likely that you’ll get the job done.
Sit down and create a schedule that you think you can stick to. If you’re not an early riser, don’t force yourself to get up at 7 a.m. – set yourself up for success instead. Remember to add breaks, and give yourself things to look forward to in the evening so you have a reward for finishing on time.
If procrastination is a big issue for you, try scheduling the tasks you dislike the most in the first hour of the day. This strategy is known as “eating the frog,” after a famous quote by Mark Twain: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Getting things out of the way early will take weight off your shoulders, so you can enjoy your day without having the “frog” at the back of your mind.

Getting through tough times all year round

No matter what the day brings, don’t forget that each new morning offers a new opportunity to get it right. Pandemic or not, difficult times are just a fact of life. There will be moments in the future when you feel yourself struggling while organising events, so remember to use these motivation tips to get back on top. Try your best to work towards your goals each and every day, celebrate the small successes, and the big achievements will surely follow.

Hope you found this useful?

Question of the day

What are the steps you are going to be taking today when you are feeling down and not motivated to do anything?

Do you need to write down the list of your goals for the day and week first thing in the morning?

Thanks for your attention and please do have a productive and successful week.

Dr Laide Okubena

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