Have you ever been desperate to achieve a dream, dedicated days and weeks of your time to it, only to find doubt beginning to set in when things get hard?
I think most of us know that feeling. I’ve been working really hard on building this blog over the last few months, but recently I’ve found myself sinking too easily into a fug of self-doubt.
The blog has been growing steadily each month, but then April arrived and I’ve hit a plateau. It’s only a small one, realistically it isn’t even a problem, but that doesn’t stop me stressing that me, my blog and my work just aren’t good enough. What if I never manage to get to where I want to be? Should I just give up now?
Absolutely not! Most people will tell you that anything worth having takes a lot of hard work.
So how can you stay motivated when working towards your goals is getting a bit too much?
Look somewhere different for inspiration. It’s easy to become caught up in routine, but sometimes all you need is a small change of perspective to get the ideas flowing and feel motivated again. If you read a lot to find new ideas, try finding inspiration in a more visual way, such as through photography or film.
Talk to a friend or someone in a similar position. It’s easy to become isolated when you’re working towards a goal, but speaking to someone else who is dealing with similar issues can help you to realise that you’re not alone. Suddenly your problems won’t seem so difficult to overcome.
Avoid comparing yourself to others. It’s easy to become disheartened when you see someone else seemingly making more dramatic progress than you. Recently I’ve come across a lot of stuff online that has made me feel bad about myself; whether it’s because I envy the apparent ease of someone else’s achievements or I’ve read an article that tells me where I should be after a certain amount of time, cue a self-esteem nosedive. Ultimately you only ever have a window on to someone else’s life and they can choose to show you only the best and most successful parts of themselves, especially online. The important thing is to concentrate on your own journey because it is unique.
Think about how much your life has already improved since you started working towards your dream. Even if you haven’t reached your final target yet, you haven’t made any extra money or been able to quit your day job, chances are that the feeling of doing something you love and having a purpose has made you feel much more fulfilled. It’s so satisfying knowing that you’ve worked hard on something and as a result your life is changing for the better.
Take the time to appreciate the good things in your life. If you only focus on the negatives, of course you’re going to feel miserable. But spend a few minutes contemplating how lucky you are to have great friends, a supportive partner or a lovely home and you’ll begin to realise that things probably aren’t as bad as you thought.
Remember that as long as you are doing something to achieve your goal, you are making progress. It may be a long, slow journey but if you’re on the right path you will get there eventually. Sure this is hard sometimes. I get endlessly frustrated wishing for huge leaps in my blog traffic NOW, but hopefully if I keep working those numbers will arrive – it may be in a year, or two years, but it will happen (touch wood).
Reach out to your network. This is another way to connect with people who might be having similar problems or who could offer you practical support in other ways. Maybe you have a Facebook friend who can introduce you to that person who is key to achieving your goals or a LinkedIn connection who can write you a recommendation that will get you noticed. If nothing else they might tell you how amazing you are and share some cute puppy GIFs that will have you smiling again.
Visualise yourself achieving your dream. Focusing on your end goal helps your dream to remain alive. If you can imagine yourself banking that first cheque or handing in your notice at work to go full-time at your own business, you’ll be inspired to work even harder to get there.
Take a break. Sometimes the best, if not the only thing that works when you’re struggling is to just stop. Put down that pen, switch off the computer, get out of the office. Do whatever it is you’ve been craving, whether that means a shamelessly lazy day in front of the television or a night out with friends, a bit of self-indulgence can really improve your mood and put you back in touch with what matters.
But always remember – keep dreaming! The ones who fail are the ones who give up and always regret what they might have achieved.