Failure. Set-backs. Disappointments. They don't get talked about often, but they happen to almost everyone who works to make a significant change.
But obstacles to your success don't have to signal the end of your journey. You just have to know how to recover from a fall, so you're able to keep going.
Here are three ways to stay motivated even after experiencing the most devastating setbacks.
1. Acknowledge that failure is part of the process
Failure is a natural part of growth. When you struggle to make a project work the way you envisioned it, it is a sign that you are stretching yourself.
If you were able to achieve every goal you set for yourself with little difficulty, that's an indicator that you're playing it safe, and not pushing yourself.
Seth Godin, 18-time best-selling author notes, "the person who fails the most wins." It's not because failing is glamorous. It's because each time something doesn't work, you learn. Each failure will bring you closer to solving the problem you're tackling.
You gain insight into what resources are needed, what approaches work better than others, and in what areas of your plan are most vulnerable.
As a result of this learning, you can tweak your plan of action, for better results the next time.
James Dyson went through 5,127 failed prototypes of his vacuum cleaner over fifteen years before he got to the one that worked. It was prototype number 5,128 that launched his billion dollar technology company.
2. Remember your why
What was the reason you began your quest? You need to keep it at the forefront of your thinking at all times. It will be tremendously helpful in those stressful moments when nothing seems to be working right, and you're tempted to retreat to where you started.
A great exercise to help you remember why enduring the tough times is worth the effort, is to visualize what life would be life five years from now if you aborted your mission.
If your goal is to escape a job you hate, spend some time thinking about what life would be like if you had to work there for the next five years.
Or if your mission is to invent a new technology that solves a pressing need for a group of people, imagine what conditions would be like for your ideal customers five years from now, if you abandon bringing your product to market.
Visualizing the consequences of not overcoming setbacks will get you in the right frame of mind to keep pushing through when tough times arrive.
3. Get in motion
When a failure happens, it can stop you in your tracks. And while you may need to take a bit of time to regroup, the longer you don't take any action to move forward, the harder it will be to get going.
Newton's first law of motion states that an object in motion will stay in motion unless some unbalanced force acts upon it. The converse of that is an object at rest will remain at rest.
To help you bounce back quickly whenever you experience a setback toward your goal, take one small step forward. It will help you make forward progress, which is a fantastic motivator. And it will also set you in motion so you can get back on track.
You can reach your goals. But it helps to know that as you work to make progress toward each milestone on the journey, there will be challenges. Knowing that everything won't always be smooth sailing will help you prepare in advance for how to overcome any roadblocks that come your way.
Keep these ways to stay motivated in your back pocket. That way you'll have them handy, so you can keep going to overcome any obstacles life may throw in your way.