Making it through the work week can seem like a herculean effort, with a thousand tasks standing between you and your goals. The good news is that everyone's motivation wanes from time to time, and there are concrete steps you can take to get that elusive feeling back again.
The tricky thing about motivation is that it can be deeply personal: your colleague's motivating factor may be completely different from your own. The trick is to find out what works for you, and to keep trying different techniques until you find one that fits. At the end of the day, everyone falls into the occasional rut, but getting your groove back is not as hard as you think. Here are some tips from top industry leaders on how to stay motivated. Get ready to take on your work week with gusto.
Set Realistic Goals
"One mistake I see people make is setting goals that are too unrealistic, and then getting frustrated when they can't be accomplished. While your goals should be big, they need to be doable, or at least broken down into doable chunks. You probably can't go out tomorrow and run a marathon if you've never run a mile before, but you can start small and work your way up to your bigger goals. A good way to motivate yourself is to set yourself some reasonable goals, and then celebrate your wins. A small accomplishment is better than no accomplishment, and it can pave the way to bigger and brighter things in the future if you keep at it." - James Ville, Chief Product Officer of GunSkins
Break it Down
"To stay motivated, you have to have a plan. It's important to outline your long-term goals, but also make sure to outline the short-term goals you'll need to hit along the way. Once you have a path in mind, you'll feel better about the steps you're taking today. It can be hard to stay motivated when you aren't sure if your work is important, but you should always remember your why. Why are you doing this work in the first place? When you keep long-term goals in mind, you'll feel a stronger sense of purpose in your day-to-day work. You'll know that each day you're taking steps that bring you closer to your goals." - Isaiah Henry, CEO of Seabreeze Management
"If you're not feeling motivated, it's possible that you've been burning the candle at both ends and burning yourself out. Take some time to recharge and celebrate your successes, even if they feel minor. We certainly make a big deal out of our smallest failures - why not celebrate our smallest wins? Setting small rewards for yourself along the way helps to create a positive reinforcement loop: you start to associate your work with positive outcomes, which drives you forward to keep checking things off your list." - Mike Pasley, Founder of Allegiant Goods
Reframe Your Thinking
"Motivation comes from your mindset, which you actually have a lot of control over. Take some time to try to recognize any negative self-talk you've been engaging in, and resolve to kick that bad habit. It's natural to second guess yourself, but you have to make sure you're not getting in your own way and sabotaging your success with a lot of negative thinking. Instead of saying 'there's no way I can do this,' say to yourself: 'I know I can do this, I just need to get started.' Once you reframe your thinking, you'll find that you're capable of a lot more than you thought." - Lucas Nudel, Founder and CEO of Pride Palace
"The biggest enemy of success is mindless distractions. Our lives are full of distractions, whether it's the siren call of social media or the desire to check your email throughout the day. Sometimes you just need to block out all the distractions and get down to work, and there are a lot of different ways you can do this. Whether you set timers on your phone to limit certain apps, or you mark yourself as "busy" on your team Slack, limiting distractions will go a long way towards helping you stay on task and stay motivated." - Dylan Trussell, Co-Founder of Culprit Underwear
Lean On Your Biggest Supporters
"Having a solid support system is really important when your motivation is lagging. Whether it's your family, friends, or coworkers, take a minute to check-in with someone you know will have your back. It can be as simple as knocking on your coworker's door and asking them to go for a walk around the block. Having a solid support system will help keep you going on the long days, and is a great way to remind yourself of why you do what you do." - Lori Price, Founder of PixieLane
Prioritize Healthy Habits
"If you're not feeling motivated, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is, am I taking care of myself? Have I been sleeping enough, eating well, getting enough exercise? It goes without saying that you can't do your best work if you're running on empty, and you have to make sure you prioritize your health. If you're exhausted from too little sleep, no amount of motivation will get you across the finish line. Once you start prioritizing healthy habits, you'll find it a lot easier to tackle your workload." - Corey Ashton Walters, Founder and CEO of Here
"I find that one of the best ways to motivate yourself is to organize your day and your workspace. Start off your day by making a list of the things you'd like to accomplish, and then prioritize your tasks. Rather than trying to tackle a big project all at once, break it down into manageable segments, and figure out what needs to get done first. Also, try to diversify your work day - by switching up your tasks periodically, the work will feel less onerous. I also find that an organized work space helps to keep you on task - it's less distracting, and it will boost your time management skills." - Daniel Patrick, Founder of DANIEL PATRICK
Block Your Time
"A lot of people swear by time-blocking, and it can really be a lifesaver when you're not feeling motivated. We all have certain times of day that are more productive - maybe you're a morning person, and you prefer to do your deep work first thing in the morning. Maybe you need more time to ease into your day, so you do the administrative tasks first, and then tackle the harder tasks in the afternoon. Whatever works best for you and your workplace, try to segment your day accordingly. Changing up your tasks throughout the day can help keep you motivated, and make your work feel like less of an uphill battle." - Matt Miller, CEO of Embroker
Visualize Yourself Succeeding
"Visualization is a powerful technique that can help you to focus, stay motivated and achieve your goals. By creating a mental picture of yourself successfully completing a job, even the worst tasks can feel like part of achieving something big." - Lolly Daskal, President and CEO of Lead From Within
Find an Accountability Partner
"Who can help you to keep your commitments? It's easy to break a promise to yourself, but far harder to admit your failure to a friend or colleague. Ideally, your partner is on the journey with you. Perhaps a running buddy who meets you in the park at 6:00 AM, or a fellow writer who tracks her daily word counts. But even an "independent observer" can sway your behavior. I have my assistant ask daily, "Did you work out? How many clean meals did you eat? How many hours did you write? How many thank you notes did you send out?" She actually tracks my data on an Excel spreadsheet and shares back the results and trends each month." - Kevin Kruse, Founder and CEO of LEADx
Setbacks are completely normal, and you're not alone if you feel your motivation waning throughout the work week. Try implementing some of these tips, and you'll soon find that you're making noticeable progress on your goals and feeling better about the work ahead. If you consistently struggle to stay motivated, try reaching out to a mental health professional for guidance. Remember that your feelings of discouragement don't have to be permanent - in fact, in many cases you just need a tiny nudge to get moving in the right direction.