How to stay motivated even when it’s really, really hard

How to stay motivated…even when it’s really, really hard

I found myself staring blankly at the computer screen. Here I was, scheduling out my year’s marketing plan, something I had been looking forward to all week, and I was paralyzed. I just sat there. I felt tired, I felt like I didn’t know what to put on the page. I had a million ideas running through my mind and yet none were manifesting through my fingers to the keyboard and on to the screen. I felt zapped and mentally done.

It was only 9am.

What was wrong with me?

This work is my love. This work excites me. This work motivates me to keep living fuller, better, and more authentically. I am a naturally motivated individual! But at that moment, motivation was a stranger to me. I was on the verge of being burnt out from a long (yet awesome) week. My motivation tank was depleted.

It’s hard to stay motivated even when we’re on our authentic paths, doing the things we love. Even when we have true momentum happening, life can quickly get in the way of our mission and our action plans, leaving us a little less fired up than usual about our goals.

My latest obsession involves the hilarious guys over at and their podcast, The Fizzle Show: Honest Online Business. I’m a huge fan of Corbett Barr and his unbelievably helpful site for online biz, Think Traffic, and have recently become a groupie of his and his Fizzle cohorts online show. Not only do I die laughing at least once a podcast at their friendly, honest banter, I also I find myself agreeing, mostly out-loud, with the majority of their content.

The guys talk a lot about entrepreneurs and the crazy hard, yet fulfilling world of running your own biz. I, being said entrepreneur, love finding camaraderie in their content and stories, but I also find that a lot of what they chat about can be translated in to any career or life situation. For example, during the “How to Stay Motivated” show (#10 on their iTunes list), Corbett reveals his Motivation List for what keeps him going through the tough times and what gets him back to his authentic focus. His list consists of:

    • Allow yourself to be happy
    • Be active daily
    • Cultivate friendships
    • Don’t work too much
    • Say what you think
    • Don’t ignore your dreams
    • Balance: past / present / future
    • Make new experiences (travel)
    • Take on challenges
    • Earn, save (don’t spend), invest
    • Appreciate and show gratitude
    • Enjoy: food, art, music, meditation, sport

It’s interesting to note that he strategically picks his wording to fit his core motivations, which is really appealing to me. Instead of saying, “be happy” he says, “allow yourself to be happy” indicating that, yes, he has a choice.  He talks about how even glancing at this list during the day (it’s next to his desk) reminds him of what really matters and the true motivations behind his work. When he’s having a bad day, the list can rejuvenate his energy tank.

So this got me thinking…what’s on my true Motivation List? And here’s what I came up with:

    • Allow yourself to be in the moment (dude, with all of my passions and ideas, this is an easy one to struggle with)
    • Walk or dance daily (yes please!)
    • Do the work that’s aligned with your heart (I use my heart as a barometer; if my heart isn’t jazzed about a project, resource, or idea, it’s not for me.)
    • Balance work and play (I LOVE to work. Being a coach is my passion, but there is a clear difference between working hard and effectively and just working too much.)
    • Do something that scares you every day (I learned to do this in college. Whether it be putting myself out there with blog articles, speaking in front of big groups, or executing a new project, doing things that scare me keep me excited and keep the momentum going.)
    • Build relationships and have “to the heart of the matter” conversations (whether it be with friends or new clients, this is the stuff that is important)
    • View money as a means for seeing the world and for taking care of loved ones (moment of vulnerability: I have a love/hate relationship with money and so viewing it in positive ways can be hard for me, but stating it in this way, with my good intentions, can put my focus where it needs to be.)
    • Pray and think outside of yourself (if I get too wrapped up inside of my own head, but motivation is toast. Looking outside of myself and focusing on others can help realign my goals.)
    • Get some sun (this is physical and emotional for me. I need the Vitamin D from the sun, but I also need the good vibes it brings to me mentally. Plus, this reminds me to take breaks.)
    • Eat for energy and health (again, food, for me, can be a stressor. If I eat with good intent, the overwhelm behind eating lessens.)
    • Live with no regrets (this is the biggie. I learned this from my dad. This puts it all in perspective for me.)

This list will stay on my desk and in my ideas notebook to remind me of what my true motivations I possess for my life journey and to bring me back to my authentic personal brand, allowing me to go after the goals I desire without sacrificing the life I desire.

What would be on your list? What are your true motivations? To create your list, you’ll want to reflect back on what your heart’s core desires are instead of what you think you “should” be doing. The “shoulds” of life will only drain your motivation.

I’d love to see your lists in the comments below!

I want to thank the gang for their super cool show and for inspiring this post. 

Rhonda is a Life Coach and Personal Brand Consultant, helping dynamic people live their awesome even through life’s toughest transitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter

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