How to Keep Motivation Alive?
It’s hard to find the energy and the right mindset to start doing something, when you’re feeling tired and unmotivated. Even if that something is really important to you. The case might be that you find it important and close to your heart, but when the lack of time, energy and motivation creeps in – it doesn’t seem that important anymore. You fall off the wagon and lose your way. It’s hard to pick up the pieces and start all over again. Sound familiar?
I myself have struggled with motivation a lot. Whether it’s music, work, hitting the gym or whatever else. Yet.. Some people seem to have no motivation problems whatsoever. They just keep pushing towards their dreams and goals. And the craziest thing is that they succeed. How do they do that?
The answer is easy: set goals, right? All the motivational speakers are telling you to set goals and you’ll start to achieve them. You’ve heard it. It’s all over the internet and books. It’s everywhere, goals goals goals.. I’m sorry but that’s bullshit. The truth is that goals alone mean nothing. They’re just fantasies at that point. “On July 22nd I’ll release my own album.” Yeah right, like that’s going to happen.
You need to find a deeper motivation – the “why” behind the goal. Just then the goal starts to mean something, and helps you to go where you need to. “Why” drives you towards the “What”. Find the real reason you want to make that album or learn new skills or change yourself for the better. You probably have to dig deep and give it a thought. You can’t just decide that “This is my goal, because it would be cool and I’d like people to know I can make music”. Actually you can, but it doesn’t really motivate you when the day comes that you don’t feel like it.
On the other hand, if you have a dream to be a successful artist, music really matters to you and it’s the one thing that you truly want to do for a living – it’s a whole another story. If that’s something that you are happy to make sacrifices for and keep going no matter what – you’ve probably found the deeper motivation, the “why”. It’s a whole new setup once you have something to really commit to. Something that you really desire. You start doing it for the reason that motivates and drives you, not because you decided it’s a goal that would be cool to achieve.
Once you find the right reasons, it’s easier to keep going. You sort of lock in to it. Still, it can be challenging. If it were easy, everyone would be successful. Luckily there are ways to make it easier to stick on the right path. At first, start by setting the schedule right. Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities. Decide when you’re going to do music and schedule everything around that. It helps being consistent, when you are locked in a certain schedule.
That brings us to consistency. Consistency is the key to making things happen. Being consistent isn’t enough though, because if you’re doing the wrong things consistently, guess what? You’re bound to fail. To know what to do, follow some good advice (such as this blog!). Follow good advice and be consistent. Do the right things consistently and you’ll start seeing the results you want – guaranteed. I’m being consistent with this blog, because I believe (and I know) I can help people with their pursuit of making music.
Another thing that helps to keep motivation alive is to remove your options. If you have too many options, you’ll start to ponder whether to go this or that way, whether to use this technique or that technique. “Maybe this plugin will do it or perhaps it’s this one.” Just like in bodybuilding or losing weight, you don’t go anywhere with changing the approach all the time. Just pick a way that you believe in, and go with it. Give it a chance. If that doesn’t seem to work, then it’s time to think things through and adjust your approach.
In addition to removing options, it’s also essential to remove feelings. What I mean by that, is that you don’t want to be too emotionally attached to your goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you skip one or two sessions that you’ve scheduled. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do everything you’ve planned. It’s easy to start feeling bad about yourself. “Oh, I didn’t do anything for my music today, I’ve failed like I always do. I never get this done.” It’s easy to stop right there. Instead, realise that you don’t have to be perfect. Nobody is.
I know it’s hard sometimes. It’s hard for everybody. There are times you’d rather skip what you’ve planned and do something else. Times that you can’t seem to find the right state of mind. Those are the times that make all the difference. If little by little you’re letting go of your schedule and routine, you fall off the wagon. But don’t quit. Even if you feel like you’ve failed. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Push harder. Get the job done the next time and you’ll be more motivated than ever. Just don’t be a quitter.
Of course, there are people who will assume that you’ll fail. There always will be. They might even share their opinion openly with you. Naysayers are everywhere. Avoid these people. People who have never accomplished anything, tell you that you can’t do this and you can’t do that. They want to push others down to feel better about themselves, because they never even had the guts to try. Don’t listen to them. Spend your time with the people who motivate you and give you energy. The people that accomplish things, they know it’s possible. They encourage you to go forward and they help you.
See, average people do average stuff and they’re happy with it. They’re happy to be in the comfort zone and chill out after work watching Netflix. Maybe every now and then (when they happen to have the time) they’ll grab a guitar and play a song or two, perhaps they even compose a little something. That’s totally fine. But then they wonder why they can’t progress with their music career or get anything worthwhile done for that matter.
I don’t want to be average, and I don’t think you want to be either. That’s why we have to think about motivation and find ways to be committed. By staying committed to our goals we start seeing the results. That gives us extra motivation. It’s a circle that boosts itself over and over again.
Even if you happen to drop out of the wheel every now and then, it’s easier to get back and start again, as you see the bigger picture. You know that it’s really important to you, and that it’s not the end of the World if you fail sometimes. You know where you’re going and you know that by working day by day towards your dream, you’ll eventually get there. Do the things that you know you should be doing, instead of lazyassing through the day, the week, the month and eventually the year. Stop doing the class B things when you know you should be doing the class A things.
Although you know where you’re going and you know what the bigger picture is, take smaller steps on the way. Take it piece by piece. Know what you have to do today in order to move forward. Like.. If you’re climbing the Mount Everest, you don’t look at the top. You look at the path in front of you and keep going one step at a time. By looking at the top all the time you know how far away it is and for someone that might be too much. It’s overwhelming. By tackling tasks one by one, day by day, it’s so much easier to keep the progress consistent. You have a plan and by following it, you know you’re getting closer.
The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. You probably know how much you can take. Only you know if things are getting too intense. Don’t set yourself up for a failure by going too big too fast. If you want to keep on going and going, you’ve got to find a long term solution. Not something that will burn you up in no time, but rather something you can keep up with for the rest of your life if you want to.
Motivation is fed by results. As long as you can see the results and know that this is something that you really want, you have no problems with motivation whatsoever. You see, once you accomplish things that you though you never could, your self confidence is rising. I don’t mean that you have to be an arrogant bastard bragging around. I mean that you notice that you made it happen. Nobody else did that, you did it. Realise the true power of you. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true. When your confidence goes up, you’re not so afraid of making progress anymore. Once you set your mind in something there’s nothing and no one that can stop you. There are no excuses, make it happen.
Okay, I know all this came out like I was starting out a career as a motivational speaker or as a coach of some sort. But seriously, what are the things that have killed your motivation and why do you think that is? I hope this post helps you to figure out this stuff – and also helps you to find and keep the motivation alive. We all need a bit of waking up from time to time. I know I do. It’s your life after all, do what matters to you.
I’d like to wrap up this article with this point: Do you want to be a person who undermines others in every turn just because you don’t even dare to try? Or would you rather be a person who gets things done and who doesn’t let others determine what they’re capable of?
After all the preaching and talking about good advice, download my information packed PDF-guides:
Tip: If you enjoyed this article, you might also like this: “How to Have More Time for Making Music?”