When we are working on a project, or towards a goal we may start with a flourish, full of enthusiasm but after some time or some difficulties, or because of bad habits, we begin to fall behind in our progress.

For whatever reason, we can fizzle out and lose the plot, or limp along at half pace. Some people can make a lifelong habit of this, as a client of mine once complained.

This can be called The Failure Cycle.

Whatever the goal, whether it be at work or at home, a personal or professional goal, we need to keep going until it is achieved – unless we decide that it is not appropriate or that it is unrealistic and then we stop. That’s OK, because a review of the goal may reveal that it is indeed not appropriate for some reason. Then it’s back to planning and mapping out a sure path for a new and more appropriate goal.

Maybe the goal has no “pulling power”, that is, the “why” is not strong enough to motivate.

When re-planning is done, then we need to ensure that we remain motivated and on focus.

What are the traps?

It’s probably a good idea to think about what things are likely to trip us up and slow or even stop progress. I’ve mentioned some in the previous article.

For example: we may have bad habits, or no habits. We may have a lack of clarity or system or lack organisation to ensure that we can actually carry out tasks which move the goal onwards.

But it’s more subtle…

There are more subtle factors in staying motivated, than being organised and getting a job done. They can lead to procrastination and then to a lack of motivation. Think about the following which may be operating to undermine motivation:

  • A lack of experience in the particular area
  • Skills deficit
  • Negative life experiences and expectations
  • Unsupportive environment
  • Resistance to change
  • Fear of getting out of your comfort zone
  • Lack of ambition
  • Mental barriers e.g., passive aggression, fear or self- doubt

The Remedies are also more complex

A lack of experience can only be gained over time, and with a willingness to take risks, experiment, and to try new things. It can be linked to a dislike of getting out of the comfort zone.

A deficit in skills must be remedied in order to progress in life, or in a particular goal, because a lack in skills can cause the task to be more difficult and therefore demotivating. Accumulating skills through life lays a basis for being in a good position to grab opportunities when they arise.

Negative life experiences can colour expectations of success, as does an unsupportive environment, either in the domestic sphere or at work. Many have experienced a decided lack of motivation when trying to cope with a bully boss in the workplace.

We are also very good at putting ourselves down and being negative about outcomes, perhaps from negative thinking, or using this as a habit to protect ourselves in case a project fails.

Brendon Burchard in his book The Motivation Manifesto says that motivation thrives on the sustaining choices of attention and effort. It needs underpinning by all of the more obvious structures such as lists, schedules, and acquisition of skills etc.

“The real downfall for many people isn‘t that they are “unmotivated people, but that they are simply distracted… It may be that the world isn’t giving us what we want simply because our own lack of focus makes it unclear what we are asking for.”

Getting to, and understanding the reasons for any distractions is crucial, as is why there is a lack of focus.

While this may be part of the answer, the reasons for a lack of motivation as said earlier, can be far more subtle. We are complex beings and there can be layers of reasons for behaviour. All behaviour has a reason.


© KR.Crawford 2018


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