“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~Honore de Balzac
You hear that voice in your head…
You can’t do it. You’ll never be good enough. You’re going to fail.
It devours your confidence, strips logic and reason from your mind, and steals happiness from your heart. In return, it leaves you with only fear and insecurity.
I was filled with excitement and was so anxious to start this blog a few months ago. As each week passed, I would think of content and was eager to post. But as time went on and I began visiting other blogs, my confidence slowly faded. “Look at how clear and crisp those pictures are”, “This blogger has 10k likes and followers”, “This blogger is funny and calculated perfectly”. I started feeling as though blogging was too much; I was not believing in myself or my gift. I was no longer motivated and my mind was blocked.
Last week, I said to myself, “Get off your butt, pick yourself up, research your craft and figure out what you are doing wrong”. I said a prayer and began cruising around WordPress and I found the Community Pool. It was there where I found the WordPress Blog University and I began to see the struggles that other bloggers face and I became inspired again.
When I fall out of routine, due to illness or disruption from things going on in my life, it’s hard to get started again. I don’t even feel like thinking about it, sometimes. But Im learning techniques to break out of that slump, and here are some things I’ve learned that have helped:
- One Goal. Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life. I’m trying to do too much. And it saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make: they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely.
- Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines.
- Get excited. This sounds obvious, but most people don’t think about it much: if you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about a goal. But how can you do that when you don’t feel motivated? Well, it starts with inspiration from others, but you have to take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my husband about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.
- Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
- Think about it daily. If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true.
- Get support. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both. I=
- Realize that there’s an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal (see below), ask for help (see below), and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.
- Stick with it. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can’t give up with every little bump. Stay with it for the long term, ride out the ebbs and surf on the flows, and you’ll get there.
- Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. Baby steps.
- Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. With each step, you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.
- Read about it daily. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.
- Call for help when your motivation ebbs. Having trouble? Ask for help. Email me. Join an online forum. Get a partner to join you. Call your mom. It doesn’t matter who, just tell them your problems, and talking about it will help. Ask them for advice. Ask them to help you overcome your slump. It works.
- Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. One common problem is that we think about how hard something is. Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. The benefits of something will help energize you.
- Squash negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Along those lines, it’s important to start monitoring your thoughts. Recognize negative self-talk, which is really what’s causing your slump. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this! If that chick Keisha can do it, so can I!” It sounds corny, but it works. Really.
References: Leo BaBauta, founder of Zen Habits