This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read the full disclosure here.
We all face tough times. It’s a part of life. But when the going gets tough, keeping your spirits high and staying motivated is not always easy. Yet, there’s good news.
Certain practices can help you find that spark of motivation even in the most challenging situations. And that’s why you’re here today. You found the motivation to get yourself out of your struggle and ended up in this article.
We will help you and share 10 actionable tips with you on how to motivate yourself in difficult times. We promise, at the end of reading this article – and taking the steps, obviously – you’re going to feel better.
Find Motivation During Tough Times: 10 Actionable Tips
In difficult situations, people may experience increased stress, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed, which can significantly impact their motivation levels. Moreover, the uncertainty and discomfort associated with challenging circumstances can lead to a lack of clarity and direction, making it harder to stay motivated.
On top of that, emotional and mental exhaustion from tough times can diminish one’s energy and drive. These combined factors can make it difficult to find the motivation needed to navigate rough situations.
However, there are effective strategies to help stay motivated during tough times. Whether it’s personal adversity or professional challenges, these actionable tips can provide the boost needed to stay focused and positive. Let’s dive in!
1. Set The Right Goals
The first step to setting clear goals is defining your objectives. What is it you truly want? Getting a clear picture of your desires is not as easy as it seems. It involves digging deep within yourself and identifying what drives and motivates you.
Here’s a tip: Write down your objectives. It might sound simple, but it works. You’ll find that it’s easier to stay motivated when your goals are written down. They become more tangible, more real. Plus, it provides a reference point for you to revisit when motivation dips.
Think about your motivation for difficult times. Is it to overcome a personal challenge or perhaps to achieve a long-term career goal? Whatever it is, defining it clearly is the first step towards reaching it.
Break It Down Into Smaller Tasks
Once you’ve defined your objectives, the next step is to break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. This makes your goals feel less daunting and more achievable. This actually helped me a lot!
Imagine trying to climb a huge mountain. It’s overwhelming, right? But if you break it down into smaller steps – first, reach the base camp, then climb to the first checkpoint, and so on – it becomes more manageable.
That’s the same approach you should take with your goals. Break them down into smaller tasks that you can tackle one at a time.
This approach makes your goals feel more achievable and gives you a sense of accomplishment each time you complete a task. And that, in turn, fuels your motivation. Remember, how to stay encouraged during difficult times often boils down to mindset.
2. Keep It Enjoyable
Bring to mind an activity you deeply enjoy doing. Notice how you are eager to get started with it. How you don’t even understand how quickly time passes by. Now, compare that to something that is simply not your cup of tea.
Avoid making the things that bring you closer to your goals an obligation. Instead of beating yourself up to do them, you can shift your mindset around them. Try not to view them as chores you have to do but as a process that can be fun.
You can implement several tips and tricks to make the process more enjoyable. Do your daily tasks with the company of a friend, change working locations, take frequent breaks, or listen to your favorite music.
Another part of making it an enjoyable process is to celebrate your milestones once you hit them! Here’s how you can celebrate your milestones:
- Write down your achievements in a journal. Seeing your progress on paper can bolster your confidence and keep you motivated.
- Share your progress with friends or family. They can provide valuable support and encouragement.
- Do something you enjoy. This could be watching your favorite movie, reading a book, or going for a walk.
3. Remind Yourself Why
When we become extremely involved with our efforts, we tend to lose contact with the reasons that generate and fuel them. This is where the idiom “can’t see the forest for the trees” holds true.
If you find it hard to stay motivated during difficult times, take a step back and distance yourself from the situation. Remember why you put yourself up for this in the first place. Why is this goal important to you? How do your efforts benefit you? How will your achievement serve you in the long term?
Our reasons are our driving force. Constantly remind yourself of your purposes. Write them down on post-it notes and stick them to your computer, set up an alarm on your phone, or talk about your vision with a like-minded person.
4. Give Yourself Acknowledgment: Reward Yourself!
When difficult times hit, they generate a general feeling of pessimism, throwing motivation out of the window. Then negative emotions, like frustration and disappointment, settle, and it is the easiest thing to go hard on yourself.
We tend to focus on the negative aspects and overlook the positive progress. However, no victory is too small! Every little step, however small, takes you closer to the finish line.
Reward yourself for every little milestone you achieve. Take yourself out on a date, indulge in some self-care, or celebrate your achievement with others.
If the reward mindset works for you, you can make your version of an out-of-season “advent calendar.” Each milestone accomplished means a reward granted. But how do you reward yourself? Here are a few ways:
- Indulge in your favorite treat. This could be a piece of chocolate, a cup of coffee, or a delicious meal.
- Take some time off to relax and unwind. This could be a long bath, a nap, or a day off work.
- Make a purchase you’ve been contemplating. This could be a new book, a piece of clothing, or a gadget you’ve been eyeing.
Rewarding yourself is an effective strategy for maintaining motivation during difficult times. It makes your journey enjoyable and helps you stay encouraged during difficult times.
5. Remain Flexible (Pivot!)
Sure, perseverance and consistency are great allies when it comes to conquering your goals. But sometimes, challenging situations make it practically impossible for us to remain at the same level of productivity.
Burnout, depression, negative emotions, and everyday challenges are only some of the genuine situations that can happen to any of us. Struggling to make everything work under the strain of difficult times is like trying to bend a rigid object… It will break! Instead, try to be more understanding of yourself and adjust to the current circumstances in your life.
If necessary, remove things from your to-do list, break down your tasks into tiny bits, or implement longer rest times.
6. Make A Habit Out Of It
Motivation is a powerful but fleeting emotion. Therefore, it cannot sustain your progress in the long term, especially during difficult times. A more dependable ally than motivation is a habit. That is because a habit is something you do consistently without much thought, regardless of your mood or willpower.
The easiest way to integrate a new habit into your everyday life is to snuggle it between two already existing ones. For example, if you want to write 500 words daily, you can carve up a little time between breakfast and washing up. This is the healthy equivalent of the fake it till you make it. Instead of waiting to feel motivated to act, act and let the outcome motivate you.
7. Prepare Yourself For The Setbacks
As we said before, motivation can easily dissipate in the face of difficulties. Motivation is fueled by ambition, and when “failure” comes around, our hopes and dreams are quickly shuttered. Instead of allowing the setbacks to surprise you, embrace the fact they are a quintessential part of the process.
To avoid disappointment, try minimizing your expectations. Expect the most minor possible from yourself, others, and the circumstances that arise. Instead, show up with your best self and let things unfold as they will.
8. Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
Ever heard the saying, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”? It’s true. The people around you can greatly influence your behavior, including your motivation during hard times. Surrounding yourself with motivated people can have a positive impact on your own motivation:
- Their positivity and drive can rub off on you.
- You can learn from their experiences and strategies.
- They can provide support and encouragement when you’re feeling low.
But remember, these relationships should be reciprocal. You should also strive to inspire and motivate them in return. This mutual exchange of motivation can create a powerful support system during difficult times.
9. Take Care of Yourself
It’s during the tough times when taking care of yourself becomes more important than ever. It’s not just about maintaining motivation during hard times but also preserving your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Self-care isn’t just a trendy buzzword; it’s a necessary practice, especially during hard times. It’s about paying attention to your needs and taking the time to replenish your physical, emotional, and mental energy.
Here are a few self-care practices that can help boost your motivation during hard times:
- Mindfulness: Take a few moments each day to sit quietly, breathe deeply, and focus on the present moment. This can help you manage stress and increase your mental resilience.
- Emotional self-care: Acknowledge and allow yourself to feel your emotions, whether they’re positive or negative. It’s okay to feel down sometimes; it’s part of being human.
- Physical self-care: Whether it’s taking a leisurely walk or dancing in your living room, any form of physical activity can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is another key aspect of self-care. It’s not just about diet and exercise but also ensuring you get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and take time to relax and unwind. Here are some ways you can maintain a healthy lifestyle:
- Healthy eating: A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can provide the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and energetic.
- Regular exercise: Physical activity can reduce stress, improve your mood, and boost your energy levels. Find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your daily routine.
- Adequate sleep: Good sleep is crucial for your physical health and mental well-being. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night to keep your body and mind in top shape.
The journey of keeping yourself motivated during tough times begins with taking care of yourself. It’s a testament to the old saying, “Health is wealth.”
10. Practice Positive Thinking
Amid challenging times, maintaining motivation can feel like an uphill battle. But one tool you’ve got in your arsenal is your mindset. By practicing positive thinking, you can cultivate resilience and keep your motivation levels high, even during the toughest of times.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Let’s face it: negative thoughts can be quite intrusive, especially during hard times. It’s natural to have them, but what’s important is not letting them control you.
Start by identifying these negative thoughts. Are they rational? Often, they’re not. You might overgeneralize a situation, engage in black-and-white thinking, or catastrophize.
Once you’ve identified them, challenge them. Ask yourself, “Is this thought based on facts or feelings?” “What evidence do I have to support it?” “Is there another way to view this situation?”
It’s all about perspective. You’re not ignoring the difficult situation but rather choosing to view it from a different angle, one that allows you to stay encouraged during difficult times.
Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful mindset tip for motivation. Even in the most challenging times, there’s always something to be grateful for.
It could be as trivial as a warm cup of coffee in the morning or as profound as a supportive family. Here’s a simple practice to cultivate gratitude:
- Each day, list down three things you’re grateful for. They don’t have to be big. Even the smallest things count.
- Reflect on why you’re grateful for these things.
- Make this a daily habit. Over time, you’ll find your mindset shifting towards positivity, making it easier to stay motivated during difficult times.
Final Words On How To Stay Motivated During Difficult Times
Finding motivation in difficult times is hard, period, so do not get disheartened if your drive drops. It is only natural that you will feel uninspired at some point. However, that does not mean the chase for your dreams is over.
To some extent, it is within your power to bring back motivation in your life. Remember to listen to your needs and remain kind and gentle. You are your best shot, so never give up on yourself!