When Your Motivation Needs a Boost

It’s November, and that means a lot of writers are taking up the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a month—this month. This is an annual challenge that many enjoy. And one that many “fail.” Rather, they don’t write 50,000 words within the month. But this, the eleventh month of the year, is also a time when the long-running pandemic is flaring, a contentious election is happening, and social outrage is high. Most people are worn out. Many are struggling to stay motivated to get through the day. Here are a few strategies you can use when your motivation needs a boost.

small olive branches above and below the handwritten words don't give up--a sign for when your motivation needs a boost

Know What Your Ultimate Goal Is

You may think this is obvious, especially a writer. You might say my goal is to write a book. Maybe it’s that simple, but in this case think bigger. Do you want to be the author of one book? Perhaps you want to have a retirement nest egg? Or do you want to move to a tropical island? 

Visualize your future self. You’ve accomplished your big goal. What does your daily life look like? What does it feel like? How do you feel about the road you took to get there? 

Journal or draw out these ideas. These will be important 

Your why is usually pretty simple. Why do you do the job you do? Remembering this is key to keeping you on task. Here are a few suggestions that may help you remember your why.

Remember Your Why

Monetary Gain—you will get paid. Maybe your goal is to keep a roof over your head, food on your table, and clothes on your body. 

A Sense of Accomplishment—it may be important to you to be better at something or to have reached a goal. 

Personal Gain — you’ll get the degree you wanted, you’ll learn something new. Be careful about this one. It can easily slide into something you have no control over (if someone else has to agree to give it to you—such as applause or a job promotion—you might influence the outcome but you have no control.)

A Step Toward a Larger Goal—you know your big goal and the steps needed to get there. Word your goal as a fraction of the way to the ultimate goal.

Other motivational discussions mention fear and power being reasonable motivations. They may be for some things, and they can definitely be positive motivations. But there’s a danger that they will become soul-crushing for you or someone else. There’s enough negative energy in the world right now. Try to find a positive energy motivation. It will take you further.

Whatever your why, write it down on a self-stick note or poster or white board and stick it about your workspace. 

Set a Goal

hand written message on pebbly brown surface for when your motivation needs a boost says "small steps are still progress."

There are the big goals, such as writing 50,000 words in a month. But it takes many little steps to reach that ultimate goal. Break your goal down into smaller steps. Smaller, until you get down to what you must accomplish in a day.

Be realistic about the daily steps. To write 50,000 words in a month, you must average 1667 words for each of thirty days. But will you really write every single day? If you can, great. If you have a day job, a family, holiday or other commitments, that daily activity may be impossible. So figure the realistic number of days you can expect to spend on your goal. If you spend five days a week for four weeks, that’s 20 days. You must write a lot more words (2500 words per day). 

Whatever your daily goal — write it down. Put it up where you can see it.

Prepare for the Unexpected

If 2020 isn’t a crash course in this, I don’t know what it. But you know life rarely goes exactly as you’ve planned. Plan for the unexpected. Know what you’ll do if you need a temporary change of goals, if an urgent family or life matter interrupts and keeps you from your daily goal. How will you adjust? When writing a novel, have a digital or handwritten backup in case of mechanical failure. Hire help to deal with the other issues or order takeout so you have another hour of working time. Have a plan.

Prepare for Flagging Motivation

This may be where many of us are right now. It’s been an unusually tough year. Perhaps you’ll want to have some inspirational quotes on standby. 

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

Martin Luther King Jr

Find quotes that motivate and inspire you. The best source of quotes I have found is Brainy Quotes.

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.

Francis of Assisi

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Nelson Mandela

When Your Motivation Needs a Boost

Don’t give up. 

You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.

Chuck Yeager

Give your motivation a boost with music.

Don’t give up. 

You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up.

Babe Ruth

Try a different post and motivational quote.

Don’t give up.

Don’t give up.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Thomas Edison

Remind yourself of your why. Remind yourself of your goal. Then remind yourself to boost your motivation and don’t give up.

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