When you have a huge project to tackle—whether personal or professional—what keeps you going? To move forward and avoid burnout, it’s critical to maintain your momentum. As leaders, we are in the difficult position of keeping our teams motivated while making sure to stay motivated ourselves.
If you’ve been finding it hard to maintain your momentum, here’s what I do:
Establish Your “Why”
If we’ve learned anything from Simon Sinek, it’s that you always have to start with why. If you haven’t clarified why, exactly, all your effort will be worth it in the end, you are much more likely to put things off. Visualize your future self, living your dream when you finally arrive at your goal—when the going gets tough, that image will give you a boost of energy!
Visualize Your Goal
Set a goal and describe it in detail—and on paper! Studies show that you are much more likely to remember something when you physically write it down; and when it comes to goals, writing it down will give you a better chance of finishing. According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University on students’ post-college salary goals, only three percent of those surveyed had written down their goals. 10 years later, the researchers re-connected with the participants and found that the three percent of students who wrote down their goals were, on average, earning 10 times as much as the other 97 percent of their class!
To keep that goal cemented in your mind even further, place your written goal somewhere, you know you will see daily. Put a sticky note on your laptop or leave a note on your refrigerator. Every time you see that post-it, it will help you renew your focus. The more you reinforce your goal, the more likely you are to keep up your motivation.
Get Started Today
Sometimes the biggest hurdle is just getting started. Writers call this the blank-page syndrome. Unless you take that first step forward, how will you ever reach the end of your journey? If you find yourself putting off projects, start small—checking off the easy items first on your to-do list will give you the momentum you will need to keep going. With every win, however small, you will gain a little more steam.
When you meet one of your goals or pass a milestone in your project, take some time to pat yourself on the back! Whether it’s an ice cream sandwich or an episode of your favorite show, only you know which reward will work for you. That positive reinforcement will help you turn working on your goal into a habit, and before you know it, you will be beating burnout.
— Ron Kitchens