Let's not sugarcoat this. Life can be a royal pain in the ass. One day you're on top of the world and the next you're scrambling to find your next dollar.
At some point we all experience thisroller coaster ride known as life.
I've had a couple setbacks in life. The first was when I suffered an accident while working construction. I was told I'd never walk again. The second was when I lost several million dollars (my life savings) in a six-week period and had to lay off my entire team of 70+ people.
That is in no way saying that I've had it worse than some others. I'm just saying that sometimes everything around us falls apart. And when that happens, the last thing on your mind is getting motivated enough to meet that challenge head-on.
I will say, though, that all is not lost. You can still find ways to motivate yourself even during these most trying of times.
1. Take a break.
This may sound outrageous. Wouldn't it just make more sense to just keep plugging away at finding a solution? Not necessarily.
The reality is that sometimes you need to back away from the world that's crumbling around you so that you can refocus and get a clearer picture of what's going on. Once you do, you can assess the situation and figure out the best course of action.
That's exactly what I did when my business failure. My wife and I took a break by skipping out of town and going to Disneyland. While there we made the decision to pack-up, sell everything, and relocate to the Bay Area.
Without getting out of town, I wouldn't have made one of the best decisions of my life; start fresh somewhere. It was therapeutic and gave me something to look forward to.
2. Get support.
Put your ego aside and don't hesitate in asking for help. Whether if it's borrowing some money, asking for advice, having someone to vent to, or just being around someone who's upbeat. Having a strong and positive support system is one of the best ways to get your mojo back.
In fact, one studies have found that positivity is 100% contagious. So, make sure that your support system is optimistic and are capable of lifting your spirits.
At the same time, your support system needs to also include people who are honest - even if they can be harsh sometime. For example, my dad has been my harshest critic. But, his feedback was so honest and genuine that it's kept me grounded, focused, and motivated
3. Try something new.
Have you been working on the same thing, but keep experiencing the same results? There could be a reason for that. You may have to try something new.
That's not to say that you should abandon your dreams. It means that it's time for you to have to change your strategy or change things up. For me, moving to a new town sparked my motivation since it forced me out of my comfort zone appreciate my new surroundings.
Science has actually proven that when we try something new it triggers specific parts of your brain and releases the motivation chemical dopamine.
While you don't have to do something as big as moving, you could start with something smaller like working in a different location or eating at a restaurant you've never tried.
4. Make your goals visible.
A study conducted by Gail Matthews at Dominican University researched the value of writing down your goals and sharing them with a trusted source. Matthews found that over 70 percent of the participants who sent weekly updates to a friend reported successful goal achievement.
This meant they completely accomplished their goal or were more than halfway there. Only 35 percent of those who kept their goals to themselves and didn't write them reported successful goal achievement.
On top of sharing and displaying your aspirations, you also need to make sure that your goals have an achievable time frame and contain measurable details.
This way you can can visually see what you're working toward and figure out how you'll achieve it. Writing down your goals also help you focus, train your brain to be more proactive, and it gives you peace of mind.
5. Focus on tiny fixes.
I think Marc and Angel Chernoff said this best. "Don't build mountains in your mind. Don't try to conquer the world all at once. When you seek instant gratification (big, quick fixes) you make life unnecessarily painful and frustrating."
Instead, you should "treat each moment as an opportunity to make a tiny, positive investment in yourself, the rewards come naturally."
That's because when your world is falling apart it can be easy "to find plenty of little things you can fix." For example, if you're not happy with your weight, you could make small changes in your lifestyle like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
However, when "everything is going well, it's easy to get lulled into a routine of complacency. It's easy to forget how incredibly capable and resourceful you can be."
Marc and Angel remind us that, "Small steps, little leaps, and tiny fixes (very small repetitive changes) every day will get you there, through thick and thin."
6. Speak positive affirmations.
There may be no more of a powerful external creative force than self-talk. Think about it. If you keep reminding yourself how terrible everything thing is around do, do you really believe that you'll be motivated to do something about it?
Regardless of the negativity going on around you, say out loud what you want to happen. Jot down a daily affirmation and place it somewhere that you're going to see it, such as your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or computer monitor.
7. Take action and don't mope.
As I explained in a post for Inc.com, There's something called the Zeigarnik Effect, which is based on research from Soviet psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik and later confirmed by two psychologists. This states that we want to finish a goal once started.
When I was at lowest, I found that setting goals was an effective motivator. For example, I would say, "Today, I'm booking my trip to Disney and tomorrow I'm going to look for houses around San Francisco."
Once I completed those goals, I would spend a couple of hours a day to pick-ups like building a new company Adogy. I would also devote an hour a day to exercise and 30 minutes to reading an inspirational book.
This may not seem like much, but my mood started to improve once I began crossing off items on my to-do-list. Eventually, this motivated me to create more challenging goals. And, most importantly, it kept occupied so that I wouldn't just mope around the house.