Have you ever faced discouragement after an enthusiastic period? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by doubts up to the point you lost awareness on a situation? Do you always succeed in keeping motivation high and fruitful? By the way, what is this fullness state we call motivation?


Motivation is a human and fluctuating feeling

It is difficult to accurately grasp the very essence of motivation. It is however agreed to be the fuel to any significant leap forward and more simply to any bold initiative. It galvanizes your determination to continuously go on. It’s such a delightful wellbeing state increasing our potential to undertake.

Nevertheless, motivation can hardly be a constant effort. It has to be continuous though as a kind of momentum or a flame you maintain alive. If you allow me a sport metaphor, I would say that we talk about endurance rather than sprint.

Flagging motivation is normal and inevitable. It is often accompanied with a drop of focus, will and possibly energy. We just have to accept and cope with such moments and find resources to stand up and cheer up again.

Sudden or lasting decreases of motivation may have various root causes related to individuals or to the environment they evolve in: unexpected events, long-term degradation of situations we have not anticipated enough, external factors or constraints we cannot control, stress, fears, failures, or simply doubts and frustrations.


Passion as the cornerstone to motivation

The essential trigger for motivation is passion. If you are passionate you better sustain motivation and manage hazards. Your mind snaps happily to a kind of second state leveraging enthusiasm and willingness to embrace actions. You feel creative and full of ideas.

Where there is a will, there is a way – Chinese proverb


How to develop and sustain motivation?

Be self-confident
With passion, self-esteem and self-confidence are prominent catalysts for a sustainable motivation. Self-confidence gives you a sense of belief and strength in your capabilities. You have a great image of your own worth.

Self-confidence is often a matter of character but can be acquired along with situations and subsequent lessons learnt you withdraw.

Think positive

Adopt a positive mindset. Brainstorm openly and have ambitious initiatives. Be reasonable, expect the impossible!
It’s better to be over creative, even if some serious thinking is required to end up to realistic and achievable actions, than struggling for inspiration.

Be inclined to teamwork and help

Ask for external point of views. Get involved in teamwork and group brainstorming. Request assistance if required. In other words have an open behavior towards others rather than relying only on your own ideas and judgment. They can fool you if too much dwelt on. External ideas and advice may comfort your options and confirm your choices. They at least bring a second look on things to foster decision making.

Progress stepwise

Motivation not only is to transform a wish or an expectation into an action. It’s also to ensure it is achievable. For this purpose, break your ultimate objective into realistic and manageable intermediate achievements you could tackle independently one from another regardless of dependencies between them. In such a way you capitalize on fruitful achievements to address next steps.
The human brain is made to operate with known patterns. Unknown situations are broken down into smaller and more manageable chunks, hopefully closer to well-known situations and thus thinking patterns. In other words, we need to reduce complexity. This makes problem-solving and decision-making processes more efficient.

Manage your time and your effort

Perform things one at a time to keep focus. It prevents distractive side-activities leading to procrastination. The evident pitfall is frustration, deception and thus demotivation.

Do segment your timeline to final objective into short chunks between milestones. It will definitely help your to remain focused and find things more achievable. Even if the initial intention is good, a far milestone will give space for unexpected events and disturbing artifacts with so-called priorities. This will assuredly nibble at your motivation capital you were so proud of at the beginning.

Schedule your milestones at specific moments meaningful to you rather than at recurrent dates arbitrarily picked up. Your birthday date is a significant personal timestamp. Who hasn’t ever defined a list of good intentions at New Year’s Eve or back to school? Just a couple of examples among others.

Be self-rewarding

On your way to get things done make some short breaks to look back at your achievements and reward yourself. Satisfaction is essential to feed motivation. Do not fear to live your enthusiasm. It’s a sane feeling.

Journaling your activities

Some studies reports that journaling your activities at the end of the day increases productivity and thus motivation. It’s related to the idea that gaining experience is one thing. Analyzing this experience is another step. It helps streamlining successful achievements into good practices. This is the purpose of performing a status of daily activities and achievements. It can take the form of a personal diary but not necessary. It is more than ticking tasks in a to-do list. You really have to write down the minutes of your day, which could be considered as the inputs for the next day to-do according to the analysis and the decisions for next steps. A a similar fashion you would do with a bullet journal.


As an illustration of the ideas developed in this article, I present below the mind map of factors (yellow) leading to motivation and resulting stimulations (blue):



I would very interested in reading how you manage to keep your motivation high against all pitfalls and if you have special tips to share.


Photo credit: Creative Commons, Steven Depolo.