Losing motivation

It’s easy to set a goal and then find myself losing motivation and passion for it a few weeks later.

This has happened to me for a few times.

For example, there was a time I set a goal for myself to pick up crocheting 🧶. I went online to follow some Youtube tutorial channels, purchased a few yarn balls and crochet needles, and set out to be the next master of crochet. Initially, I was very confident that I would easily achieve my goal because I used to do bead work and a bit of sewing. How difficult could crocheting be? Alas, I was wrong. Across several weeks, frustrated by my lack of progress, I lost the drive and slowly “abandoned” this goal.

There have also been instances where I think of a project idea and set out to work on it. After meeting a few technical difficulties here and there, procrastination and a loss of passion for the idea, I find myself abandoning it later on.

Why does this happen? How can I stop myself from being drained of drive and instead, be able to find the motivation to persist in my goals?

I watched a few online videos on grit and motivation. Below are some points that I would like to share in this post which could help answer the questions above.

(1) Write down goals and put them where you can see it on a regular basis

Whenever you feel like giving up, you just need to go back to see your goals to remind yourself why you are working hard at XXX. This can help to energise you and provide you with a reason why you should continue at XXX.

Alternatively, I find that having a pictorial representation of a goal works as well, if not better. When I was still in Secondary school, one of my biggest goal was to do well enough in my O’ Levels so that I could enter my “dream Junior College”, VJC. To remind myself of my goal, I saved the image of the school’s teddy bear as my phone wallpaper for almost an entire year.

This meant that whenever I reached out to use my phone, I would see the image of the VJC’s teddy bear. It helped me to stay focused in my studies and reminded me why I needed to study hard. (it also helped to deter me from spending too much leisure time on my phone). Eventually, I did “achieve” my goal and I believe that being able to visualise my goal on a daily basis played a role in contributing to my realisation of my goal.

I couldn’t find the image I had previously saved, but this image is somewhat similar.

(2) Set achievable sub goals that will bring you closer to the final goal

It’s normal to want to see big progress on day one.

However, sometimes if our goal is too ambitious and if we do not break it down into smaller achievable sub goals, it will become easy for us to feel demoralised and give up.

Setting small sub goals is helpful in

  • Tracking our progress. By achieving the sub goals, we have nothing to worry about because according to the goal plan, we are “on track” or “on schedule”.
  • Celebrating small wins and introducing some dopamine level when you have accomplished a small goal.

(3) Make it become a habit, you no longer need grit to do it. It becomes a part of you.

By making an activity a habit, you remove requiring grit to perform the activity from the table.

Think about this. Have you ever felt like not brushing your teeth before going to bed? Most of us will do it without a second thought. It is a habit that has been ingrained in us since we were little and very often, we don’t need a lot of persuasion or reason to do it.

Similarly, if we can make achieving our goal a habit, just like brushing our teeth, then it becomes a part of us and we no longer need grit to execute it. We will do it easily without much effort.

One of my favourite noodles… 兴化卤面, 2021. Eating is my habit. I don’t need to expense any brain power to do it. I am naturally conditioned to have motivation for eating.

(4) Introduce some novelty and variation to keep your activity more interesting and help you raise dopamine level.

Boredom with an activity is the top reason why people give up. To prevent yourself from dropping out of the race halfway, it’s important that you think of ways to keep yourself excited.

One way would be the method of setting sub goals, as mentioned in the above point. Celebrating small wins and rewarding yourself throughout the journey helps to keep things interesting.

Alternatively, you can also shake up the way you do things. Instead of running at the same route everyday, try heading to a different place with a different scenery. You could also introduce some novelty by running at different times of the day or wear different colourful outfits or shoes. You could also join a running club and run with a different group of people. This helps to keep running exciting and you have something to look forward to for each run.

(5) Don’t be alone. Do it with someone.

As they say, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Having a buddy to do things with can help to ensure accountability.

The likelihood of you dropping out of your goal is lesser because you will need to face the disappointment of your friend or think of what reason you are going to give him or her to explain you dropping out.

(6) Set stakes. The higher the stakes are, the less you will be tempted to throw the towel.

If you are really serious about achieving your goals, then you can try to put yourself in a position where you either “achieve your goal” or lose everything you have.

Think about it, an individual who has quit his (or her) job or sold his (or her) house in order to fund his (or her) start up business has a stronger reason for persisting with his (or her) goal compared to another individual who has not made much sacrifices.

This is by far, the most extreme measure.

The end :)

While having grit is important, i feel that it is okay to throw the towel sometimes. If you find yourself deriving ZERO happiness or joy in achieving a goal, then it’s a better choice to drop out and do other things, rather than stubbornly persist in it.

Taking breaks and procrastination may also not be entirely bad. It gives you room for resting and resting helps reenergise your soul and brain. Who knows, maybe all you need is a little rest to become more pumped up about your goals.

That’s all for my article! Hope it has been a pleasure to read it and may all of us find the drive and grit to persist in achieving our goals!

Photo taken of a beach in Singapore, 2022

Btw, if you noticed, it has been a while since my last post … because of both a lack of ideas on what to post as well as me dealing with some personal motivation issues recently… LOL



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This is a repository of my thoughts on my personal life, my random interests & notes taken down as I navigate my way through the tech world!