Advice, Software Engineer

Helpful Strategies for Finding Motivation in Difficult Situations

One of the things that often appear in my feedback reports is that I get things done, period. It’s what I’m known for. And because of that, I’m often asked what my secret is for finding the motivation to get up and get things done. In a world where it’s easier to consume than create, how do I motivate myself to accomplish things and deliver on my promises? After some self-reflection during quiet moments, I’ve come up with an answer. This is my secret to finding motivation and getting things done:

When things are easy, or when we’re doing things that we enjoy, we find it easy to motivate ourselves and get things done. But motivation doesn’t exist by itself. Motivation exists for a reason and that reason is to achieve our goals, whatever they may be.

So how do we go about finding that drive when things are hard? It’s not so easy, and that’s why there are so many bestsellers on the topic of motivation. The fact that it can be elusive is why we’re a little bit obsessed with it. I’d like to share my strategies for getting things done — or, in other words, finding motivation when things aren’t easy.

1. Tie It with Your Value

I value integrity above everything else. I strive to be someone who stays true to her word, someone who doesn’t just talk the talk but walks the walk too. If I say I’ll do something, my inner voice pushes me until I get it done. Yes, sometimes I’d rather be scrolling through social media feeds or watching YouTube videos, but my inner voice is very loud and it cannot be ignored. I also find that, when I know I need to achieve something, talking about it with others helps me hold myself accountable.

2. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

If there’s anything I’m quite good at, it would be setting goals — S.M.A.R.T. ones, to be exact. I find that having S.M.A.R.T. goals allows me to stay focused. I know exactly what needs to be achieved and by when. Even on those days when I don’t feel like doing anything if I have a checklist or list of goals in front of me, there’s no thinking or fussing about required — I just need to get to work.

3. Make It a Habit

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg explained in his best-selling book, The Power of Habit, that the key to losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. Do we want to lose weight? Well, make exercising a habit. Do we want to be more productive? Well, make getting things done a habit. When actions become habits, we become more accustomed and less resistant to those actions. When we do things repeatedly, we get better at them, and the better we become at performing certain activities, the more satisfied and the more driven we feel about performing them.

4. Visualize Success

Having S.M.A.R.T. goals and checklists help us to get things done, but it’s also important for us to visualize success. If we know why we’re doing the things that we’re doing and we can visualize succeeding at them, it gives us a sense of excitement and hope. I find that when I’m excited and hopeful, I’m much more engaged. Suddenly, everything becomes more purposeful. And, when things get hard, it helps to know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

At the end of the day, motivation is a psychological concept that can be hard to grasp. You can’t see it, but you know when it’s there — or when it isn’t. I hope you find the above strategies helpful for finding the motivation to achieve your goals in life.

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