What to do when you know you have to take action, but it is difficult to maintain motivation because your work doesn’t have any guarantees? How to keep going if you know that you might not achieve the result you desire?
I have thought quite a lot about this because one of my biggest dreams is to walk without crutches. This used to feel like mission impossible when I was a teenager, and it’s still true that it might not happen, even though the current me is more optimistic. But I will pursue this dream no matter what.
Here are some of the tips I have discovered on my journey.
Have a strong WHY.
I’m sure you’ve heard the statement that whenever there is a will, there is a way.
Extraordinary results can only happen when there’s an extraordinary resolve to make it happen. A meaningful journey will always have ups and downs, failures and doubts, but if something is really important to you, you will find the strength to carry on.
That’s why it is important to have a clear sense of purpose right in the beginning. Make sure that it comes from the deepest place within you, and write it down. That’s what I did in one of my previous posts.
It is even better if you can find a WHY for the journey, not just the destination. Who would you be if you chose this path? Who would you become if you stayed on it?
Stay consistent and do something every day, even just a little.
Momentum is one of the best aids to stay focused with harder tasks because it takes willpower out of the question.
Whenever you skip a day, it is easy to start overthinking and having doubts about the whole thing. Somehow it just won’t feel right or feel like you, since you are not doing it at that moment. Or you may lose a sense of progress, which can cause your motivation to decrease.
At least this is the case for me when I’m working on my paralyzed muscles. There might be no visible results for a long time, and breaking the chain of habit can make me feel that I have to start from zero. The more consistently I take action, the more I can maintain the belief that my training is effective. It also makes me feel at peace because I’m doing my best, so I don’t have any regrets.
Know that you haven’t tried everything yet.
This means there are potentially many undiscovered opportunities to succeed. For example I gain motivation when I recognize that I have never done everything in my power to regain the use of my legs. For 18 years I have been comfortable or given up too soon. It really took me such a long time to actually have the capability to experience discomfort and maintain self-control with a joyful attitude at the same time.
So I know that there’s still a chance. I haven’t tried everything there is, so I have no proof that it is impossible.
And even when one hour of daily exercising is not enough for my legs, I still have no proof because I can always add more hours. I can always increase the time I dedicate to training. And of course I can always find new exercises and different angles to target my muscles in a new way. As long as I can try something new, there will always be opportunities for success.
So when do I decide that enough is enough for one particular strategy?
I have decided that the right time to make such a decision would be after at least 6 months of hard work. If I don’t see any results by then, I have still won because I’ve built the discipline to take consistent action. And I feel proud no matter what. In fact, I can continue because taking care of my legs makes me feel good. It could become an ever-lasting part of my daily routine to stay empowered. Hard work without any guarantees will help me become a strong man!
Find ways to make it more attractive.
A strong habit is the one that is associated with positive feelings. Everything we do in life is connected to the underlying motives of how we want to feel, but it is usually unconscious.
You can consciously make a hard habit more attractive by adding something fun to the experience. Maybe you get pumped up when you listen to your favorite music. Or maybe you can collaborate with a good friend, so you can motivate and be accountable to each other.
I like to combine my workouts with inspirational music and spontaneous dancing. It’s great to have fun and work hard at the same time!
Learn to enjoy the challenging journey, and appreciate every moment of it.
When it comes to hard work, the key to staying motivated is to learn how to meditate in every action. Learn to feel happiness just by being alive, no matter the circumstances. A truly joyful person has the strength and energy to tackle any challenge life throws at him or her.
The goal is to enjoy the process and make it only about the move itself. Being mindful and feeling your body instead of thinking too much helps a lot to accept or even enjoy stressful situations. I recommend watching the movie Peaceful Warrior or reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle if you are interested in this topic.
If you have any other suggestions from your own experience, please comment and let me know!