Do you often lose motivation while pursuing your vision? Have you sometimes gotten off track, ending up somewhere you did not mean to?
Many clients asked me about motivation and sticking to their plans in the last 24 hours.
In this article, I share why you might not feel motivated to go after your dreams.
1. Your vision is ego-driven rather than joy-driven
When you have crafted a vision that resonates deeply with your heart, motivation is not a challenge.
Think about it: if your vision involves taking your family to Disneyland, do you require a daily pep talk to keep wanting it? I do not think so. The desire itself propels you forward effortlessly.
However, if your vision includes elements that don’t truly ignite you, you’ll constantly need to psych yourself up to take action.
Many people set goals based on external expectations rather than authentic desires.
Your lack of motivation can be a warning sign that you are pursuing the wrong things.
2. You attach your worthiness to achieving your goals
When you attach your worthiness to achieving your goals, the natural ups and downs of your path become devastating.
You do not approach everything like an experiment that will either give you what you want or the lesson you need. You approach every outcome as a potential shame-inducing devastation.
Given the emotional cost of a perceived “failure,” you will stop taking action to avoid anything going wrong.
You will prefer an unaligned life rather than a failed experiment that will cost you your self-esteem.
The solution here is to embark on your journey from a place of abundance rather than lack.
You are already worthy. There is nothing to prove, and there is a lot to share.
You have everything you will ever need. Just get out there and play.
3. Your fear of loss wins over your desire for gain
It has been proven repeatedly that humans fear losing more than they desire to win.
If we pay attention to fear, we will get off track on our way to our dreams.
We will take on the wrong job, client, project, or employee to avoid an imaginary negative scenario.
I am saying imaginary because if we decided to avoid a real negative scenario, it would not be the wrong choice. It would be an informed mitigation strategy.
But most people end up with careers and businesses they hate because of too much fear.
The problem here is not a lack of motivation to stick to the plan. It is being derailed by fear.
The trick is to avoid making big decisions when in fear. Give yourself some time.
Trust that what you want is possible. That you are resourceful and will always figure it out.
Make the aligned choice out of a centred rather than a frazzled space.
4. You think succeeding requires struggle
There is one pervasive misconception that separates successful people from the rest.
The belief that struggle is an inherent part of achieving your goals.
The truth is quite the opposite. Success is not born out of relentless struggle.
It flourishes when we invest our time and attention into something we love, bringing us into a state of flow.
You will need extra motivation when you make your path more difficult than it needs to be.
5. You focus more on the outcome rather than the process
I encourage my clients to create a vision that focuses on the process rather than a milestone.
Successful athletes visualize the game, not the medal. If you want to be a writer, visualize yourself writing rather than a spot on the bestseller list.
The journey is the destination.
The purpose of an infinite game is to stay in the game.
The milestones and achievements are a byproduct of the people we become when we focus on the process.
When we love the process for its own sake, we do not need extra motivation; we need commitment.
For example, I felt the pull to make this newsletter from biweekly to weekly earlier this year. Did you notice? I followed my intuition, and I committed to the process.
If I had set a goal of adding 5,000 subscribers and then concluded that I needed to write weekly, I would need a lot more motivation to keep writing. It would be a means to an end versus the end in itself.
We might sometimes need to do unpleasant things to achieve our goals, such as a medical exam or surgery for a health goal.
But, we do not create our vision by focusing on unpleasant things. We create our vision by committing to a process we enjoy.
6. You do not see the immediate benefit of what you do
Human nature often finds it challenging to engage in activities solely for the benefit of our future selves.
Fortunately, many endeavours that benefit us, in the long run, can also provide immediate gratification.
For years I would fall off the wagon of exercising as the long-term benefit of getting fit would not be enough of a motivation for me.
When I finally noticed the immediate positive impact of exercise on my mood and stress levels, motivation did not leave me.
7. You haven’t made a commitment
If something is important to you to do consistently, remove the temptation of decision-making.
Create simple if-then rules. If it is Wednesday, go to the yoga class. If it is Thursday, send a newsletter. If a client who is not a good fit reaches out, say no.
When there is no need to think, it is easier to stick to it.
But commitment alone is not enough for longevity of action. It must be accompanied by the enjoyment of the process and the ability to recognize immediate benefits, as we discussed above.
8. You are burnt out
By definition, the key symptom of burnout is a lack of motivation. In my experience, burnout comes from an extended time of resisting our reality.
If you find yourself in that position, prioritize healing and joy. Don’t worry about slowing down on your action plan.
Listen to your body. Rest, reconnect with yourself and realign on your path.
9. You do not stay connected with your desires and inner wisdom.
Sometimes what we want changes. Vision is not a one-off exercise. The objective is not to be committed to the vision but to being in flow.
We have an inner guidance system that will tell us what we need to do next.
When you are not motivated, maybe your vision needs to change. Or you need to change the way you go about it. It is time to tune in and figure out what is going on.
Meditation, quiet, journaling, and coaching are great ways to stay connected to your inner wisdom.
If you want to sustain motivation as you go after your dreams, here are my 9 steps:
1. Ensure your vision is joy-driven
2. Detach your worthiness from outcomes
3. Do not make big decisions when in fear
4. Let go of the struggle and embrace flow
5. Shift your focus from outcome-driven goals to enjoying the process
6. Recognise your actions’ immediate benefits
7. Make clear commitments
8. Address burnout
9. Stay connected to your desires and inner wisdom
Following those steps allows us to reignite our passion, stay on track, and confidently pursue our dreams.
Create Your Path: You can watch the talk I delivered at an ICF event where I share a framework for clarifying what you want.