Where is my motivation?

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There are many reasons for lack of motivation. You may be overwhelmed by too much on your plate, lack confidence in yourself, or just have fuzzy goals in the first place. Lack of clear goals and lack of confidence are two major barriers to goal achievement. The more capable people judge themselves to be, the higher goals they set for themselves and the more firmly committed they remain to them (Locke & Latham, 2002). So, what do you do when you are stuck in a rut, feeling un-motivated, or cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel? What if you are thinking you have bitten off more than you can chew, or you are never going to achieve that goal because it is too overwhelming?

Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Try taking a balcony view. Imagine yourself up on the balcony looking down at yourself on a dance floor. By separating yourself from the situation, you give yourself the freedom to look objectively at what is going on with your life. You gain a new perspective with a different way of viewing your problem. Coaches will use this technique with their clients to help them learn a critical skill of gaining perspective.
  • Try reframing. If we change our frame of reference by looking at the same situation from a different point of view, we can change the way we respond. For example, you are looking at a big pile of papers on your desk. Instead of seeing them as a pile of papers on your desk, look at how far you have gotten to this point. “Wow, look at all of those ideas I have generated!” Now all I need is to make some smaller piles, and tackle them one at a time. Brainstorm ways to reframe the aspects that are in your control. If you are trying to obtain a degree, but are not making progress, set a smaller goal of talking to the people that can help you. Go through your address book of contacts and find a mentor, or schedule a meeting with an advisor. If you have been unsuccessful in finishing a paper. Set a smaller goal of writing 2-3 pages per day. and celebrate small successes.

Reflect on the reasons that you might be keeping yourself stuck. For example, fear of failure, or fear of success. Find someone you can trust to discuss these feelings. This can bolster your confidence level, and help you focus on the aspects that are in your control. Ask for help. Friends and family will be willing to help, or find a coach. Finally, look back at all the times in the past that you have been successful! You haven’t lived in a vacuum to this point. Get those actions, jobs, graduations, and successes down on paper, and reflect on your skills and accomplishments.

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