Lack of motivation, can’t stick to a project long enough

Imagine you are living the life you’ve imagined.

How rewarding would that be?

Everyday, I strive to overcome all the problems and issues that occur in order to get closer to my goals.

Some people say I produce a lot of results despite having little time.

But underneath the tip of the ice berg, there’s a lot of issues that arises.

One of them is procrastination and a lack of motivation that I’ve learned how to overcome.

I would get really excited, I would get started on a project.  After a couple of weeks, I lose interest, and the next shiny project attracts my attention.  I end up having many projects unfinished.

Sometimes I encounter a challenge that I can’t overcome, or it’s too costly, and I have to call it quits.

If you stick to one project long enough, you’ll be able to see results.  It takes a lot of struggle in order to get through this.  The success you achieve is a symbol of all the struggle & failures you’ve had to go through.

Have you ever seen this image?

If you have the motivation to keep going, then you will be able to persevere through all the problems that occur, and you will be able to achieve success.

We all have dreams, goals, ambitions, objectives, motives and what not. But it can be very difficult to stick to them. Whatever your project is, motivation is something that is required to keep going.

I often follow the mantra ‘no motivation, no success!’

Each week I come across different people who say that they started off with ambitious intentions but couldn’t maintain consistency and persistence. It is pretty usual and common. But this is not a thing to worry about. I have been through the same guilt as anyone else.

We all have the pendant to start one project, work on it, loose focus, do something else, and repeat the whole process. The repetition happens so often that we are not able to achieve a single thing. This hinders productivity. This is what I have felt and what usually others feel too.

This problem reminds me of a lesson I learned while working on a business project one day. On one particular day, I got to know the difference between the best businessmen and everyone else.

What do really successful people do that I don’t? Obviously there are some natural factors that are beyond our control like luck, talent and genetics.

One thing that is under our control is how we do things and how persistent we are.

It all boil down to the fact that how passionate you are about your work.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a white-collar job at a multinational corporation or you are flipping patties at McDonalds, it all comes to having enough passion.

Your passion will determine your persistence and dedication towards work.

Challenges are certain. Everyone face challenges and obstacles. You never know how grave a certain circumstance can halt your progress. Even I faced many challenges in my business projects. It hindered my progress considerably. But we need to overcome those factors and seek for self-motivation in order to excel in our specifics.

The Motivation Framework

                1. Research how difficult the project will be & what’s required

Before committing to a project, I recommend you to really do the homework to understand how much will be required to follow through on this project.  Don’t just “wing it” as you go.  If you do this, you will find out barriers and time sucking challenges you didn’t expect.  Think about how much work is required in order to get your project to a minimum viable product stage (the stage which determines whether your product succeeds or fails).

                  2. Create a timeline & actionable goal

It’s important to create an action plan, so you understand how much work is required to get to each step, and create an end goal.  Next put this up on a timeline with rough estimates of how long it’ll take and dates.

  • Start with the end goal at the very right of your timeline
  • Break it down into smaller milestones
  • Break down each milestone into steps with estimated dates

Estimate the total time it will take to finish this project and evaluate the probability you will achieve success, and see if it’s worth your time to pursue this endeavor.

This activity will help you understand how much time you will have to sacrifice and how demanding the project will be.  Are you willing to sacrifice that much time to see if your project is viable?

                   3. Consider the possible challenges & obstacles

You want to anticipate what might stop you from getting to the next task or milestone and brainstorm ideas on how to solve it.  You want to see if it would be possible to solve it or not, and the likelihood.  Possible challenges you may not consider includes:

  • Lack of knowledge (Find an expert through connections or from a blog that may help you)
  • Lack of finance (Can you save up enough salary to cover this, or seek an investment through connections to take a chance on you?)
  • Lack of decision (Make a pros and cons list of the decision vs. alternative choices, and decide which one has the best weighted optimal outcome)

When faced with challenges & barriers, it’s important to think about how you might overcome it, and your likelihood for success.

If this is your 2nd or 3rd venture, then you will feel more confident because you’ve probably had experience tackling similar problems before in the past.

Think of your self esteem & confidence as being made up of your successes.  Your successes are like poker chips, and the more poker chips you have, the more confident you can move forward and make the bets you need.

                   4. Consider the benefits vs. sacrifices

I sat in on a trained professional life coach session one time during my lunch hours at our co working space.  This is the framework he showed me to help me make life decisions and whether I would want to commit to a project or not.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What can you gain by successfully finishing this project?  What would life feel like after?  How much more benefit could this bring to your life?
  • Is the sacrifice worth it to try to pursue this endeavor?  What do you have to give up now for the chance to be successful?
  • What’s the most you will gain by not starting this project?
  • What will it feel like to never pursue this project?
  • What will it feel like to leave this project UNFINISHED?
  • What’s the worse that I will lose if this project fails?

By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to assess your situation and see if it makes sense to move forward.

                5. Commit to the Project & evaluate your progress and results

If you finally decide to move forward and commit to the project, revise your goals, plans, and task lists to make sure you will be able to get started.  Think about the resources, costs, and time that’s needed to get going.

Think about how you will track and measure your progress to make sure you’re on track.

One thing I found extremely helpful is finding a partner who’s just as passionate in the same project as you to work on this as well.  They might be working concurrently on a similar project or with you on the same project.  Working with a partner has a tremendously higher success rate.

Some of the pitfalls to avoid while during the project that most people face would be, avoid perfectionism.  Focus on just getting it done as best as you can and move forward.  Most people will stop at the first 10% in an attempt to be perfect.

Getting things done is better than getting things done perfectly.  If you try to be perfect, you will end up putting things off, procrastinating, and realizing you have another unfinished project you can never get to.

You will have a lot of opportunities to revise and fix mistakes later.

The whole goal is to get started, check off each task, and just get through to reach each task and milestone.

Once you can successfully get through this, there will be a reward waiting for you at the end of the challenging journey.

Remember, if it was that easy, then everyone would be doing it.  You have to think about what you have to give up now to get to where you want to be.

Three Top Reasons for Being Distracted

Here are three particular reason I got distracted every time and how I managed to overcome them to achieve my ultimate goals and objectives:

  1. The busy trap

Being busy is the silliest excuse a person can give for not achieving he is supposed to do. I used to function under an illusion that I was constantly busy with some work or another which backfired then. Yes, I had to look over several other aspects but it is necessary to disengage from the busy trap. We need to prioritize our work and get rid of all the unnecessary and non-urgent tasks. Allow yourself to invest in the work that is really important. The work on which your life is dependent.

Unhook yourself from the responsibilities that you are not supposed to look over. Get used to this mean and selfish world. People will use you for their benefits. Practice saying ‘no’. You need to be smart. Have your own personal choice and try not get influenced by people who may have the motive to use you for their advantage. Make sure you are your own authority. This will permit you to focus on your primary objective. This is what I did initially to get out of this busy trap.

  1. Do not rely on willpower

It is very difficult to convince yourself to accomplish a task out of willpower. Focus on creating habits that makes your success unpreventable when willpower fails you. Getting started on a big goal is difficult but as you get along and familiarize yourself with it, then it feels less confusing.

The best trick I adopted during my project was that I create small habits which made me motivated. It helped me with boosting my productivity and I used to feel good on whatever I accomplished over time. Even the small things matter a lot, in the end. Conquer your willpower. Beginning is always the most difficult part. Once you get through the initial barrier, you will feel less anxious. Develop routines that generate a momentum. You may start off your work with a 15 minute meditation session. This will enable you to transit into a professional state of mind rather than materializing willpower.

  1. Eliminate emotional exhaustion

Emotional exhaustion was probably the biggest obstacle of self-motivation I had ever felt. Whenever you feel emotionally disconnected to your work, try to console yourself that your work is essential to someone. Structure social opportunities in your workflow. For instance, you are a manager, try boosting your team’s motivation. Bring more empathy within yourself. Lift up other people, this may motivate yourself. No one among us is motivated all the time, but if you are feeling lethargic most of your time then you need to find ways out of emotional exhaustion. Do something to elevate you sentimentally.

With those three steps in mind above, I now came up with a framework which I want to share with you today that will help remind you of why you started a certain project, and how to preserve forward.

Some Additional Tips

In my opinion, finding motivation is very important. In fact it is the most important thing on which your success is based on. Everyone has a reason to do something. When I did my projects, there was some reason. I wanted to serve a purpose. Similarly, there needs to be an objective behind your functions. Don’t do it just for the sake of doing it. There also some additional points that I figured out through my experience. Here are some of them:

  • Figure out what you are afraid of and get rid of it.  You might be afraid you lack knowledge.  Go to the library, pay a consultant, or take someone you know out to lunch.
  • Cut yourself from unnecessary things like social media. I am not saying that using social media is useless, but there needs to be a certain time allocated for it. Over usage can distract you from your main goals.
  • Realize when your energy level is high. Figure out at what time you are the most productive.

These were some points that helped me to stay motivated and is continually helping me. It helps me stay on track so that I can make progress on my projects and move forward.

What project are you working on, and is lack of motivation to continue an issue?

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