What to do When Motivation Fades

We’ve all been there – we start a project gung-ho and excited to reach the finish line we’ve set for ourselves.  We make some progress.  We do some new things and make some headway.  Then…  something happens.  Either an actual something happens and we hit a roadblock of some kind, or we just sort of lose focus, get distracted, get busy, or find an even newer project that demands our attention – something takes us off the track towards the goal we had in mind.

So what do we do now?

If you’re committed to the original goal, here are three steps you can take at the point where you’ve gone off track:

  1. Re-energize! Do you remember why you started towards your goal in the first place?  Are you really present to what accomplishing that goal will bring you?  It’s easy to lose sight of what had motivated us in the first place.  To get yourself back in the saddle, ask yourselves some of these questions – say the answers out loud, or to another person, or write them down.  Just thinking about them usually isn’t enough to really re-invigorate:
  1. What is it I’m really after here?
  2. Why do I want that thing?
  3. What will accomplishing this goal bring me?
  4. How will I feel once this goal is reached?
  5. What will shift for me when I’ve reached this goal?
  1. Create new structures. In order to reach any goal, you have to have actions in place to get there.  You probably created a whole slew of actions to take when you were initially excited about the project.  Revisit that list.  Now take a look at what you need in order to accomplish those things.  For instance, perhaps your new marketing plan has you reaching out to three old contacts a week, but you find you’re not doing it.  Why not?  Chances are (in addition to Number 1, above) you may need more structures to overcome your resistance to doing the task.  Maybe in that case you need a reminder to pop up in your calendar, or your Executive Assistant to schedule time for you to do it each week, or to make a list each week of the people you’ll contact the following week.  Create structures sufficient to your resistance to keep you moving and in action.
  1. Get accountable. We do things more reliably when we make promises to others and have them check in on us.  The more publicly you share your goals and actions, the more likely you are to do them.  Get a buddy to check on you, or maybe even announce in your staff meeting what actions you’re assigning yourself and have your direct reports hold you accountable by asking you next week if you’ve done it (!) Put yourself out there as a means to accomplish your goal.



When you lose motivation, you can regain it!  Contact our coaches for more tips and techniques to keep you in motion towards your leadership goals!