Staying motivated – How to stay motivated when things just aren’t working out

I struggle with finding motivation when things aren’t working out the way I thought they would. But… I also have a few things that keep me focused and nurture my relentless attitude to stay the course.

It wasn’t easy to come by either.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever started something and then noticed that nothing was really going as planned. Maybe things were happening, but it just didn’t feel like it was leading to the outcome you wanted. You may have been executing like a professional but just not getting the results.

I’ve been there way too often…

I’ve also read too many blogs that say weirdly unhelpful things like “everything takes time” or “pain is part of growing”… no thanks. I’m talking to the folks who understand those things but are truly discouraged because it really isn’t happening the way you thought it would; and it doesn’t look like my favorite mantra applies…

give it some time

Let’s talk about something of the things I know have actually helped me on most days of the week.

Fall in love with the routine not the reward

Most of the reason we are upset about a particular thing is because of the outcome. What would it look like if we were far less concerned with the outcome and more focussed on what it takes to get there. If we obsessed more on the process than the prize.

I can make a killer paper airplane; and it will fly. How much better would my aircraft be if I studied flight, or engineering, or craftsmanship? If I was more enamored with the things that contributed to the best possible aircraft, I would be able to find more ways to take flight than that corny pointy airplane we all make. I could build a squadron of paper planes.

If you want a head start on putting routine over reward you should definitely check out the article on micro-commitments.

Ask for feedback from someone you trust

Have you ever heard the expression, “can’t see the forest for the trees?”

The expression speaks to being so caught up in the details that you can’t see the situation as a whole. Sometimes it’s a great idea to find someone you trust and ask for their input. You may very well hear something that you hadn’t considered or subconsciously overlooked.

Do something unrelated that makes you feel good

As much as I hate running, I feel great after I run. So, there are plenty of times when I’m a little overwhelmed with a project and how it is coming a long and instead of fighting the progress, I just grab my running shoes.

I also get revitalized from helping other people.

When it gets overwhelming, step away. Find something that makes you feel good and do it.

Celebrate something or someone you’re grateful for

The theory of small wins is a great one. If you have something to celebrate, your disposition will almost always change.

You can even find something in your current process that has worked out and just highlight it. If you’re trying to lose 20 pounds and you’ve lost 5 so far, break out in a quick celebratory dance; you’ve earned it.

Adopt relevant affirmations

If you can understand what aspects of what you do make you happy, you can focus on those things and deepen your “why.”

Even further, you can use those things as affirmations to keep going; to fall in love with the routine.

For example, I am a professional photographer. The business of photography sometimes bothers me greatly. Because I know I don’t really care for the business of photography, I can stay the course and remind myself that I actually love photography itself. I allow myself to just be okay with the creative side and allow the business side to suck a little. And, I can keep going because of that small affirmation; I love photography, just not the business of photography – and that’s okay.

Even as I grow the audience for this website. I would love to have 10,000 people reading every article but that attractive desire isn’t my goal. My goal is to help at least one person with each article.

If I only had the conversation with one person about how to stay motivated when things weren’t working out, and that person got something from the conversation, I would count it a win.

I hope this helps

I would love for you to share some of the things you do to stay motivated. Since I generally work alone from one project to the next so I could use all of the tips that are possible.

Share this too. If you know someone who is trying to get something started, or waiting to see the results of their hard work, send this article to them because you never know how much they are truly struggling.

Let’s be better; together.




I am Rashad. I'm an entrepreneur with over 15 years of cultivating relationships, chasing ideas, and over delivering on promises. I want to share some of the things I've learned along the way with you. Hopefully, it will inspire you to define and achieve your personal definition of success.