We’ve all experienced the dreaded “slump” – that slow-moving period of time when we just don’t have the motivation to do the things we need to do. Sometimes, simply getting motivated can be the hardest part of completing a task or reaching a goal.
In this article, we’ll talk about what we mean by motivation and why we feel unmotivated in the first place. Then we’ll give you some tools to climb your way out of the slump and get back to accomplishing your goals.
There’s no more time to waste – let’s get started!
What We Mean By Motivation
When we discuss “motivation”, we simply mean your desire to accomplish a task. Motivation is the feeling that propels you to complete an assignment before the deadline, or to hit the gym after work.
There are several different types of motivation, all of which fall into two categories: ‘intrinsic’ motivation and ‘extrinsic’ motivation. Intrinsic motivation is your own internal drive, or motivation that comes from within you. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside sources that propel you to accomplish things.
You can drill down even further with this. For example, intrinsic motivation includes competence motivation and attitude motivation. The former is the desire to learn new skills or improve old ones for the sake of having the knowledge, while the latter is the desire to change something about yourself or your lifestyle.
Fear can also be an intrinsic motivator if it stems from an internal source. For example, a fear of failure would be an intrinsic motivator. On the other hand, a fear of getting fired would be an extrinsic motivator, because your fear comes from an external force.
Other examples of extrinsic motivation include reward- or incentive-based motivation, achievement-based motivation, power-based motivation, and affiliation motivation. These types of motivation drive you forward by promising some kind of reward, a marker of achievement, new power, or affiliation with powerful people.
None of these types of motivation are inherently better or worse than the other types. Some, like fear, power-based, and affiliation motivation may sound easily corruptible, but they can also be used in healthy ways to accomplish necessary tasks when you’re feeling unmotivated.
Why We Feel Unmotivated
Before we discuss how to get out of a slump, let’s touch on why we face a lack of motivation in the first place. Understanding the reasons behind why you feel unmotivated will help you tackle the problem in a way that directly confronts it.
Three common contributors to a lack of motivation include fear, burnout or fatigue, and poor goal setting. These things can work alone, or combination to sap your will to strive toward your goals.
We’ve briefly talked about how fear can motivate you by providing a reason for you to accomplish a task, but sometimes it does the opposite. A fear of failure might spur you to work harder to succeed, but it could also cause you to hold back. After all, if you never try, you cannot fail.
Burnout can also make it difficult to stay focused. One symptom of burnout is a diminished passion for work, which could undermine intrinsic motivations such as competence and attitude motivation. It’s hard to learn new work-related skills when you don’t have the energy to care about your work.
Setting goals could help you get motivated, but if your goals aren’t well-designed, they could do more harm than good. Unspecific goals with no clear path to success are difficult to achieve. If you feel like you’re working hard and not seeing results, you can lose your desire to keep working.
How to Get Motivated Starting Right Now (5 Tips)
Getting motivated involves a combination of figuring out what does and does not motivate you. Then, you can start applying methods based around the type of motivation that works best for you. These tips can help get you started.
1. Put Your Goals in Writing
Simply put, those who put their goals in writing are more likely to achieve them. Having a visual representation of your goals can provide an external reminder that taps into your achievement motivation, and encourages you to continue.
This could be as simple as listing your goals on a sticky note and leaving it on your bathroom mirror. In contrast, you could concoct a dream board with a ten-year plan mapped out on it. The only qualification for how you display your goals is that it should make you feel motivated.
However, when you’re writing your goals, they shouldn’t be too generalized. Setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (i.e. SMART) can help give you parameters to make sure your goals won’t overwhelm you.
2. Develop a Routine to Minimize Distractions
If you’re intrinsically motivated most of the time, but are currently distracted enough that you’re unable to work, developing a routine could help you get back on track. Routine helps us avoid distraction and get into a mindset suitable to achieving our goals.
To develop a constructive routine, start by looking at your current schedule. Your routine should fit with it, and not conflict. If your routine and your schedule are always butting heads, you’re not likely to stick to the routine.
You could incorporate ‘rituals’ into your routine to help put you in the right mindset to work. For example, listening to the same song at the beginning of every day will train you to associate it with work.
Your routine should cut down on distractions. If there’s something always seeming to pull you away from work that brings you closer to your goal, complete the task early on, or work somewhere away from the distraction.
With your other concerns out of the way, you should be able to better access the intrinsic motivation that normally drives you to accomplish tasks. Sometimes our motivation to accomplish something is not far out of reach – we just need to focus in order to see it.
3. Break Down Your Long-Term Goals
Achievement motivation can be a great help when it comes to completing the tasks needed to progress in your career. However, goals such as earning a promotion are long-term. In the period between, you might find yourself feeling unmotivated.
Like many other kinds of extrinsic motivation, achievement motivation depends on you feeling as though your work is garnering results. If you instead feel like you’re putting in a lot of work and not getting any closer to your goal, your level of motivation will likely decrease.
Creating smaller goals leading to your main goal can help you keep your achievement motivation high. Ticking off a smaller goal, like completing a project for example, will help you see ways in which your work is getting you closer to a specific goal.
4. Reward Yourself for Completing Small Goals
Reward- and incentive-based motivation are what we use to train animals such as dogs. When the dog does a trick, it gets a treat. As much as we might like to think we’re above such things as an advanced species, we’re actually susceptible to the same sort of bribery.
For example, think of something you really love. Whatever you decide to reward yourself with should be personalized to you and carry enough weight to make you want to achieve your goals. Tell yourself that if you complete all the work you scheduled for the day, you can go see a movie or take yourself out to dinner.
If you want to simplify it even more, keep a bag of your favorite snack nearby and reward yourself with a small helping for finishing each task on your to do list. If you want to avoid food-based rewards, try using ten-minute work breaks as an incentive. However, do make sure breaks are a scheduled part of your work day, regardless of whether you meet your goals.
5. Don’t Post Your Goals on Social Media
Many articles on motivation will tell you to shout your goals from the rooftops, because having others who know about your goals will hold you accountable to them. However, research has shown this isn’t necessarily true, and could have the opposite effect.
If you announce your intentions to achieve by posting your goals on social media or sharing them with friends, you start to see yourself as having already achieved them. In a nutshell, your motivation decreases because you already see yourself as having achieved what you want.
If you still want some level of accountability, try joining something like a writing or design group where you can meet with other people and work on projects together. Remember, the focus of these groups should be completing work or providing deadlines to motivate you, not talking about projects you’ll do someday.
There’s no need to feel afraid of being unmotivated. It happens to just about everyone, and the good news is it doesn’t last forever. When you find yourself stuck in a slump, there are plenty of actions you can take to get back on track and accomplish your goals.
This post has looked at a few tips to help give you some extra motivation. Let’s recap them:
- Put your goals in writing
- Develop a routine
- Break your goals down
- Reward yourself for completing small goals
- Don’t post your goals on social media
Do you have questions about how to get motivated? Ask away in the comments section below!
Original Content Belong to Elegant Themes
Many of us dream of starting our own business. When looking around, it’s tempting to think, “Hey, anyone can do this!” But it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between merely starting a business on paper and setting yourself up for success. Done correctly, it takes careful planning, investment, and motivation. Going in blind and starting a business without knowing what you’re getting into can lead to costly failure.
In this article, we’ll attempt to take as much of the guesswork out of the process as possible by showing you how to start a business in 13 general steps. Some of these steps will be slightly different based on the region you live in. For example, the “legal stuff” in this article specifically focuses on the US.
That said, no matter where you reside we recommend checking with a local lawyer and your local government to determine any legal requirements for starting a business in your area. Nothing in this article should be considered legal advice.
With that caveat out of the way, let’s talk about what you need to do to not only start your business but set yourself up for success!
1. Start with You
Don’t just jump in. Make sure you have what it takes to run your own business. Don’t limit yourself, but evaluate yourself to know who you’re dealing with. Know your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, tastes, and interests. Know your skills, passions, the lifestyle you’re after, how much you can spend, how much you can afford to risk, and the types of work you want to do.
Not everyone can be their own boss. It takes motivation and discipline to see the project through and it’s difficult to stick with something you don’t like. It’s okay if you don’t know much about business itself at first. Take courses if you need to. The important thing is that you’re completely invested in (and a good fit for) the work required for the business you choose to create.
2. The Business Idea
It pays to spend some time on the business idea. Here are a few things to ponder:
Maybe you have a better solution to an annoying problem. What problems can you solve?
Look at what’s coming soon in various industries such as technology, health, entertainment, etc. Ask how it will change life or business in general and what you can do to position yourself (and your business) to capitalize on that change.
How can you apply your skills to a different industry? For example, do you have a unique skill set or way of thinking learned in one industry that has yet to be applied to another? Perhaps there’s opportunity there?
Can you provide something better or cheaper than it’s currently being provided? Can you provide something to a location that doesn’t have access to it?
You can also search the web for business ideas and take note of those that sound like a good fit for you.
One method is to ask yourself a few simple questions that will help you narrow down your options:
- What are your strengths?
- Of those strengths, what is in demand?
- Of what is in demand, what can you afford to provide?
Once you have a few ideas, run them by someone you trust that has a strong sense of business. Ask for advice from other entrepreneurs that you trust.
3. Perform Market Research
Once you have your business idea, research it to make sure that it’s in demand, that there’s room in the market for you, and that you can afford to provide it. Perform a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats).
Research your competitors and the market demand in the area you’ll provide the business. This might require you to interview businesses to see if they need your product or service.
You have to figure out your unique advantage–often referred to as a unique selling proposition. Your business will fail if you’re number 75 trillion on Google that’s offering the same service. How are you different? What can you do that they’re not doing?
It’s important to do your own research. Someone else’s research might not be complete or it could be out of date. They may have focused on a different point than you need to. Also, don’t just search online. Go to the source. The more time you invest up front the fewer problems you’ll run into later.
4. Write a Business Plan
A business plan is a written description of your business. It works like a roadmap and should be updated over time. It helps give you the information you need to develop the business and get funding (or what it will take to bootstrap, if that’s the path you choose). It also provides projections to help you decide how viable your idea is.
There are several ways to create a business plan. The Small Business Administration recommends creating a detailed description of each point in this structure”
- Executive summary – a high-level summary
- Company description – describes the business
- Market analysis – target market, competitors, etc.
- Organization and management – who does what and why they’re qualified
- Service or product line – details about the products
- Marketing and sales – what are the sales channels and what is the strategy
- Funding request – what is needed, how it will be used, when it will be paid back
- Financial projections – how much the company will make and when for 5 years
- Appendix – projections, resumes, licenses, contracts, etc.
Generally speaking, it should have 20-30 pages and a 10-page appendix. This is the traditional route and more companies are familiar with it, so this is what we recommend if you’re planning to get funding. The business plan provides the information you’ll need for the rest of this list.
Remember: it should be revised as time goes on. Don’t be afraid of making changes. Every good business makes course corrections.
5. Plan Your Funding
Determine how much funding you’ll need, when you’ll need it by, and when the company will start making a profit. Use this information to pitch potential investors and secure the funding you need.
You have several options:
- Self-funding (Bootstrapping)
- Friends and family
- Angel investors
- Venture capitalists
- Advance from customers
- Trade equity
- Loan from partners
- Bank loan
- Business credit line
Out of these options the easiest sources of funding to secure are self-funding (of course) and a business credit line. Depending on the business you’d like to start however, these options may not provide enough money all at once for you to do what you need to do. That’s where actual outside investment becomes necessary.
6. Choosing the Business Structure
Before making your business official you’ll need to decide what type of entity it is. This will determine how you file taxes, liability, etc. The main entities include:
- Sole Proprietorship – you are the only owner and you’re responsible for all debts and it can directly affect your personal credit.
- Partnership – you have one or more partners and you’re all responsible for all debts.
- Corporation – the business is its own entity and it is responsible for its own liabilities.
- Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) – the business has the legal protections of a corporation and the tax benefits of a partnership.
7. Choose and Register Your Business Name
Find a name that matches your brand and mission. Choose something that makes sense for your niche or industry. Make sure it isn’t already in use, and make sure to get the domain name and social user names.
8. Open a Business Bank Account
Open a checking account specifically for the business in order to keep it separated from your personal accounts. This will help with daily spending, bills, legal, and taxes, and will look more professional so others will take it seriously.
9. Get Your Tax IDs, Licenses, and Permits
Be sure to get all of the required licenses and permits. This includes state and local registration. The exact licenses and permits will be different depending on the type of business and product or service you’re providing.
10. Your Business Location
Set up your office and anything else your business requires to operate. This includes all of the equipment, furniture, supplies, etc. Make sure to choose a location that works for your business. There may be restrictions for certain locations.
For example, some equipment may not be allowed in residential areas, or you may have zoning issues for the types of businesses that are allowed. Even if it’s a home office, be sure to include the cost in your business expenses.
11. Build Your Team
If you’re hiring team members, be sure to follow local legal guidelines. Set clear goals and responsibilities, develop great communication channels, and set a strong company culture. Make sure everyone is a good fit for the company’s goals and vision.
Even if your business is a sole proprietorship, it’s a good idea to have a team mindset. You might need to partner with others to perform tasks that you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. For example, you might want to hire someone to write for your blog, handle social media, create the graphics for your website, etc.
12. Create the Product or Service
You’ll need actual examples of the products or services. This can be as simple as a portfolio to show examples of the work, the first phase of software, the first run of a manufactured product, etc. It needs to be something viable and not just a mockup. It doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles at launch. Those can be added later. Remember, Divi was started as 1.0., not 3.0.
13. Promote Your Business
No matter how amazing your product or service is, it won’t help anyone if no one knows about it. You must promote your business to your target market. An essential element in promoting your business is having an amazing website and a strong social media presence. Develop your website to bring in organic traffic. Run ad campaigns when and where appropriate. Build your email list.
Once you’ve started making sales, ask for feedback and listen to your customers and make changes as needed. Build a strong relationship with your customers. Continuously add value and improve the quality of your products or services.
Some of these steps can be done in a different order, but you do need all of these in order to start a business. There aren’t a lot of shortcuts when it comes to establishing a successful business. It takes time, planning, investment, and effort. Once you get your business started you’ll need to keep improving, keep competing, keep investing, and keep marketing. Make smart changes as needed and don’t give up.
We want to hear from you. Have you followed, or plan to follow, these steps in building your own business? Let us know about it in the comments.