How to stay motivated

When you first start your business, the initial rush of excitement that comes with it keeps you motivated. It’s after this rush that you might start to flag a little. When this happens how do you keep moving forward?

Let’s start by taking a look at what motivation actually is. It’s a response to your needs.

Needs are funny things; they can be emotional (the desire to succeed) or biological (eating to stay alive). One thing’s for sure, when your needs aren’t met, you start to feel a lack of purpose and disengaged with life. This is usually the point where you pop on a boxset to distract yourself from these feelings.

So how do you meet your needs and make sure you don’t feel this way? It’s simple. You set a goal and take action towards achieving it.

Then why do so many of us not do it?

The taking action bit is where your motivation kicks in, and this can be pretty difficult when you’re just starting out in business. You’re spinning lots of different plates and desperately trying not to let any drop; getting used to working for yourself, planning your time effectively and getting out there to find new clients so you can pay your bills.

It can all get quite overwhelming. And overwhelm is what eats away at your motivation.

So, (you probably guessed it) to massively increase your motivation you need to combat feeling overwhelmed.

How? Break things down so they’re manageable.

1. Visualise your goals
Start by thinking about what you want to achieve – those big, juicy goals – right down to the last detail. What does it feel like? Smell like? Look like? I know this might seem a bit silly and unrealistic at first but there’s a reason top athletes use this technique to visualize their winning performance.

If you’re finding it a bit tricky try drawing your goals – this TED Talk by Patti Dobrowolski will show you how.

2. Set targets
Now you’ve thought about your goals, you need to break these down into small, achievable targets. What actions can you take now to get you a step closer to where you want to be? Make them as specific as you can because it’ll keep you clear on what you’re working towards.

For example, if your goal is to replace your old salary and you know that five paying clients would do this, you might write: “Over the next month I will contact 20 people a day for the next 3 weeks, then follow up with everyone that has shown interest in the final week’.

Also, grab a pen and actually write your targets down on paper. It’s proven that when you write something down you take it more seriously and get better results.

3. Put a time limit on it
You’ll only feel motivated if you give yourself limited time to do something. If not, it’ll never get done because you’ll fall into the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ trap. That’s why in the example, there’s a time limit of a month.

What targets are you setting yourself this month?

If you found this article helpful you might also benefit from one of Helm’s mentoring schemes, or if you just want to come along for a coffee and take a look at a great co-working space pop round on a Friday between 12-5pm (it’s free).

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