How To Stay Motivated Even When Things Aren’t Going Your Way

How To Stay Motivated

Motivation drives us to do bigger and better things.

It can give us the power to overcome boundaries and change the world.

But, what happens when things aren’t going our way?

Staying motivated becomes much more difficult.

Here’s the good news:

Staying motivated in the face of adversity can be so much easier and in this post I’ll show you how.

Replace negative influences with positive influences

I make a point to stay as far away from main stream media as possible. I’ve found the following to have a predominantly negative impact on my motivation:

  • Mainstream news – The majority of news is negative. Just turn on your TV and count how long it takes to get to something positive. Or look at the headlines in mainstream newspapers.
  • Gossip magazines – I’ve never seen the attraction to these but ultimately they just serve as a huge distraction and tend to be predominately negative.

When the overall message is negative our brains quickly start to think that the entire world is really that negative. Even talking negatively too often can rewire our brains for negativity.

In order to change things for the positive you need to feed your mind with positivity.

By doing this we can change the way our we look at the world. And rewire our brains for positivity and happiness.

We are surrounded by more positivity than we often realise and when we start to disconnect ourselves from negative input, our mind opens up to the positive. Here are a few examples:

  • Positive news – there are organisations that have started to appear that focus on news that is only positive. A good example is Positivenews.org.uk.
  • Publications that talk about success – if you look hard enough you can find magazines that talk about success.
  • Blogs & podcasts with a positive focus – a great example is EntrepreneurOnFire.com’s blog/podcast. John Lee Dumas interviews successful people regularly on his podcast. This type of thing is incredibly inspiring. That’s a huge dose of positivity right there.

What might be a positive influence to me, may not be exactly the same for you – the above are just examples but what is important is that you find what works for you.

The beautiful thing about the world that we live in is that regular people like me and you from all over the world are becoming successful every day.

On the subject of positivity I wanted to share an incredibly inspiring video with you.

This was a TEDx talk by Shawn Achor recorded back in 2011 – it’s entertaining and can change your life.

Your mind is powerful and you choose whether that’s good or bad

When I was growing up my mum would always pick up on certain words that I used and she kept on at me about how important it was to use different words.

At the time I was too young to realise how much of an impact this would have on my life.

Whenever I said used the word ‘if’ it became ‘will’.

So instead of ‘If I do well….’ It became ‘I will do well…’

Similar to the glass half empty/glass half full thing.

Without realising it the language that I was using at first was very negative but by the time I was 14 years old this lesson was en-grained into my mind.

There’s another thing you need to remember…

You’re awesome and you can do anything you put your mind to.

If anyone tells you differently then you’ll know the real score 😉

The reason I say this is because if you keep repeating something negative about yourself you’ll end up having a very negative opinion of yourself and that’s not good.

Here’s an example… If you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, even in frustration such as “oh I’m such an idiot” – it’s time to stop yourself.

If you tell yourself something enough your mind will believe it. That’s not good and can have a very profound effect on your mind set.

A positive mind set is your key to success.

Keep a healthy work-life balance

Life can’t just be work work work.

There needs to be a balance – a healthy balance. And you need to take a break once in a while.

This is something that I’ve never been all too good at. It’s a work in progress. In 2013 I was working 5 days a week at a marketing agency.

I brought my work home with me and worked on the blog in the evenings. The weekends were occupied with running Blogging Wizard and another project I was working on at the time.

While it was an incredible learning experience and what I created in my role was truly ground breaking. The new service we rolled out in March 2013 grew at an incredible rate with minimal time dedicated to marketing.

The only time off that I really had apart from the occasional day was when I was ill earlier in the year.

This wasn’t healthy at all.

Now I’ve cut down my hours, switched roles and work remotely. This means I have the time to dedicate to Blogging Wizard and my life is about more than just work.

People around me have noticed a huge change in my mind-set and I have too.

It’s very refreshing and has done wonders for my motivation.

Everyone needs to take a break and I’ve seen the results first hand when people don’t.

On a related note: Suzie from Ace Concierge wrote a great post recently about keeping the balance, it’s well worth a read.

Keep your self-confidence

As Dr. Ivan Joseph says self-confidence is:

“The ability to believe in yourself to accomplish any task. No matter the odds. No matter the difficulty. No matter the adversity.”

I’ll keep this section short and sweet. Dr. Ivan Joseph says it all in this TEDx talk below:

Choose the right time to check your email

The first thing that a lot of people do is check their email. Unless your job involves responding to emails then you should really avoid checking your email first thing in the morning.

It just proves as a big distraction that will ultimately side track you from making important progress on your key project.

I find checking email multiple times equally distracting. And again there are certain exceptions to this but if you don’t fit into the exception then it’s something to avoid.

That’s why I have certain set times when I will check my email. Usually towards the end of the day and I will spend a set amount of time checking them, then it’s back to working on other tasks.

Stick to a routine

I have a set calendar each day that I try to stick to. Sure, I don’t always stick to it – sometimes life does get in the way but for most part I do pretty good. I have broken everything I do down into top level tasks. For example:

  • Leisure (this ensures a healthy work-life balance)
  • Content writing
  • Learning (reading books, blog posts, watching educational videos)
  • Sharing and engaging on social media
  • Client work

They are just a few examples of the sort of things I plan out to keep me focused. Yours may be very different but the important thing is having some sort of routine.

Use the ‘eat a frog a day’ strategy

Believe it or not, this doesn’t actually involve eating frogs. It’s a phrase I picked up from business coaching a few years ago.

The idea of the ‘frog a day’ strategy is that we start off our day by doing something we’ve been putting off. Something we need to do but are struggling to get completed.

It’s far too easy for us to put things off that we just don’t want to do.

And by putting certain tasks off they can turn into more of a problem later on.

But when you finally complete a task that you’ve been stressing about or putting off – you’ll likely find that you’re able to focus easier and be more productive.

Plan your day the day before

When you get up in the morning you need to hit the ground running to ensure that you have a productive day.

When you have a productive day you will feel so much better and more motivated.

That’s why I plan my tasks out the day or night before. I’ve noticed that when I don’t I end up losing focus and productivity suffers.

Ultimately motivation does then too. I have experimented with planning a week in advance too rather than just the day before and I’ve found that works quite well too.

Let music motivate you

I’m pretty big on music especially since I’m a musician.

I have found that one of the easiest ways to keep myself motivated while working is to listen to music.

It’s got to be positive music though. Listening to music with a negative message will not help in the long run.

Although, this is something that I know may not work for everyone. If music isn’t your thing then don’t try and force it.

The power of a plan and visualisation

One of the biggest changes in my life actually happened when I put together a 5 year plan. A few years ago I put a plan together that included everything I want to get out of life. After I put my plan together and started doing particular things everything seemed to fit into place.

It seems that just by planning things out, without realizing it my subconscious was helping me get closer to my goals. Whether that’s what really happened, I’m not really sure. It could have been a co-incidence, an amazing co-incidence at that. There was another ingredient that I added to the mix though. Something called a dream board.

I put a power point presentation together (along with some inspiring music) that had pictures of everything that I wanted from my life in 5-10 years’ time.

I then started watching it every morning as soon as I got up.

Try this as an exercise (it worked for me, it may just work for you):

  • Write down everything you want to achieve in 5 years – everything from what you want for your family, from your business and even possessions if you like.
  • Break the time frame into more manageable chunks (stepping stones are important) – write down what you want to have in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years etc.
  • Take everything that you want and where you want to be in 5 years and put together a presentation in something like Powerpoint. Add emotive images and inspiring music.

Now that you have put your dream board together, watch the presentation every day just after you wake up. Try watching it once every day for 12 days and see how you feel.

It’s time to make a difference to your life. Starting now.

I’ve included a lot of different things in this article that I’ve found to work well for me and help me stay motivated no matter what.

There are a lot of different techniques out there and some will work for you, others might not. It’s all about finding what works for you.

If you take away just one thing from this post – find a healthy balance to work and life.

Everyone needs to recharge their batteries.

So now I’ll open the question up to you:

How do you keep motivated every day?

Adam Connell

Adam used to manage the content marketing efforts for brands earning well over 8 figures in annual revenue. Now he teaches entrepreneurs how to create a blog that thrives in a noisy online world over at BloggingWizard.com and here on his personal blog. Interesting fact: Adam can ‘split the atom’ on a yo-yo.

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  • Abdul

    Hi Adam,Congratulations on this new project.Hope this goes well

    • Thanks for the kind words, Abdul – much appreciated!

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