Download: MP3 (17.4 MB)

Last week, we had a show called, How To Start. Next week, we have a show for you called, How To Finish.

But what about in between?

How do you keep going when you've lost steam?

The first half of a project tends to be the most exciting. Once you're in the middle of a project, things can start to feel like a drag.

I want to talk about finding the motivation and drive to persevere in the middle of a project when you feel like you've lost steam.

The first thing to ask yourself: "Is this something I should be doing?"

It's quite possible the reason you're feeling stuck or slow or unmotivated is because this project really isn't something you should be doing. Who knows why you started in the first place, but taking an objective look now might reveal that this project isn't what you should focus on anymore.

  • Maybe you had different goals when you started.
  • Maybe you had different life circumstances when you started.
  • Maybe you had different responsibilities when you started.

There are plenty of reasons why something you started may no longer be something you should continue. That's okay. Just be honest with yourself.

Don't feel bad for quitting a project for the right reasons. For instance, a good reason to stop working on a project—and archive it, postpone it, or otherwise set it aside—would be that you committed to doing it back when you had different goals.

If your goals have changed, there's no sense in keeping your commitment to a project that will not help you achieve your current goals. It's okay to move on to something else.

But if in evaluating your project you determine conclusively that, "Yes, this truly is something I should do right now," then it's worth continuing to find a way to rekindle your drive.

Revisit your WHY

When you started this project, there was a reason you started it. What made you begin? What vision did you have of the future? How would completing this project benefit your life?

If you lose sight of your why, it's easy to become disinterested.

"What's the point?"

If you're just doing something for the sake of going through the motions, things will feel pointless really quick.

Revisit your reason for starting.

Usually we start something because we can envision finishing and we like the result we foresee.

You may not be excited about doing the actual work, but think about where the work takes you. Source your passion from the result you're bringing about for yourself.

Imagine this project completed. How will things be better? What will life look like? What will completion do for you? How will you feel about that?

Persevere Through Challenges

To persevere is to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty.

It may be worth asking yourself: did you expect this to be easy? Be honest: are you giving up at the first sign of resistance?

When you encounter a roadblock, do you throw your hands up in the air and say, "I guess I can't continue"?

The process is not always going to be fun. It's not always going to be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever was.

You're going to make mistakes, you're going to have setbacks, you're going to experience failures. That doesn't mean you are a failure, it just means you discovered a way that doesn't work. View that as data. Take it as feedback. Correct your course, and carry on.

When you experience failure, what is the silver lining? Well, if you reflect on it, you should at the very least know how to avoid that particular version of failure in the future. You can at least fail a different way next time!

That's all success is: failing until you succeed. If you think success looks like: Step 1: do it perfectly and succeed for the rest of your life, you're in for a world of hurt. You better start getting used to failure.

Actually get used to failure!

You might think that sounds horrible, but it's because you're tying your identity to the results of what you do.

When you think, "I don't want to get used to failure," it's because you think: I don't want to get used to being a failure.

But you are not a failure! You are not the results of what you do.

Separate yourself and your identity from the results of what you do.

"Failing" just means: the way you did this thing isn't going to work. You need to do it a different way.

You need to get used to failure and learn to fail gracefully, because all that's guaranteed is failure. The only question is whether you have what it takes to fail until you succeed.

The point is, you are going to encounter resistance. Expect it. Embrace the struggle, and keep going.

Make Yourself Accountable

I consider myself someone who is very intrinsically motivated. I can tell myself I'm going to do something and follow through with it most of the time.

Others are more extrinsically motivated. In extreme cases, someone who is extrinsically motivated may never follow through with anything unless they have some kind of outside accountability.

But even for me—someone who is largely intrinsically motivated—accountability is beneficial. I will accomplish more, get more done, and remain consistent to an even greater degree if I leverage accountability.

Episode 312 of the seanwes podcast, Do You Need an Accountability Partner? covers all of the details of accountability partnerships if you want to dive deeper here.

Get Around People Who Keep Commitments

Lastly, find a group of people where you would be the weird one if you did not follow through with what you set out to do.

If you hang out with people who are lazy, undisciplined, and who lack commitment, you are holding yourself back. Period. End of story.

You need to get around people who will push you to be your best.

Find people who are consistent, who follow through, and who work hard. You should be the odd one out in the group of people you hang out with if you do not show up.

When you put yourself in this kind of environment, you will perform at a higher level.

Hopefully you have friends or people in your life like this who you can reach out to. Don't wait for them to contact you. Be proactive.

If you don't have those kinds of people in your life, the Community is a great place for that. When you become a seanwes member, you get 24/7 access to the Community. It doesn't matter what day of the week or time of day, you can jump into the Community from the convenience of the phone in your pocket and get immediate feedback. You don't have to wait for the next meeting you have with your friend or group. Plug into the Community and you get to talk with someone right away.