How to Keep Going - 16 Strategies for Staying Motivated - a little dose of happy - Blog

How to Keep Going: 16 Strategies for Staying Motivated

Imagine you’re running a marathon. 

You’re at the halfway mark, and your legs feel like lead, your breath is short, and the finish line seems a world away. 

When your motivation dwindles and the goals you aspire to seem unreachable, how do you find the strength to continue? 

This post explores the essence of how to keep going when all you want to do is give up. 

Whether you’re struggling with personal, professional, or emotional hurdles, keep reading to discover how to transform your outlook and maintain your drive through tough times.

Why Is It Crucial to Keep Going?

The ability to push through and keep going distinguishes those who achieve their dreams from those who don’t. Resilience—the ability to bounce back from setbacks—is built by facing difficulties and learning from them, not avoiding them.

A pivotal TED talk by Angela Duckworth highlights grit as a key predictor of success, even more important than raw talent. 

Grit involves maintaining passion and perseverance for long-term goals despite significant obstacles and setbacks. It’s about having the stamina to stay the course and the determination to keep working towards your dreams, no matter how long it takes.

According to Duckworth, “Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

man walking up stairs

Staying motivated and moving forward, even in the face of challenges, is essential for personal development and growth. It allows you to learn from your experiences, develop new skills, and ultimately reach your full potential. 

When you keep going, you prove to yourself that you have the strength and determination to overcome any obstacle.

Moreover, persisting through tough times can change your perspective on life. It teaches you that setbacks are temporary and that you have the power to shape your own future. 

Remember, most people who achieve great things have faced their fair share of failures and setbacks. What sets them apart is their unwavering commitment to their goals and willingness to keep going, no matter what. 

How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough

We all experience moments when our motivation wanes and the path ahead seems daunting. During these challenging times, we question our abilities, our choices, and our resolve to keep moving forward. 

But remember, you’re not alone in this struggle. Everyone faces setbacks and obstacles.

The key to overcoming these hurdles lies in developing the skills and strategies to stay motivated, even when the going gets tough.

Below, we list strategies for maintaining motivation and keeping going no matter what life throws your way. We’ve ordered these strategies, starting with actions that require less effort and gradually moving onto techniques that may require more commitment or personal insight.

Remember, success is not about never falling down; it’s about having the courage to get back up and keep going, even when it feels like the whole world is against you.

With each small step forward, you’ll build the momentum and confidence to overcome any obstacle and create the life you desire.

female runner crossing the finish line

1. Listen to Uplifting Music

If you need a quick motivation boost, start with something simple, like music. Happy music can elevate your mood and energy. It can help you shake off negative thoughts and replace them with a more positive mindset.

Create a playlist of your favorite motivational songs, and turn to it whenever you need a pick-me-up. Choose songs with inspiring lyrics or energizing melodies that make you feel invincible or remind you of your inner strength.

Don’t underestimate the power of a great soundtrack to fuel your journey towards success. By intentionally surrounding yourself with positive and uplifting sounds, you’re taking a proactive step towards maintaining your motivation and keeping your spirits high.

So, go ahead and create that playlist today. Fill it with songs that make you smile, dance, and believe in yourself and your dreams. Whenever you need a quick burst of inspiration, press play and let the music work its magic.

2. Do Happy

The key to motivation is consciously choosing to do happy (actively pursue happiness) and incorporating little doses of happy into your daily life. Making happiness a habit will help you foster a positive mindset and boost your resilience.

One way to do happy is by prioritizing self-care. Engage in activities that promote your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, such as exercising, meditating, or treating yourself to a relaxing experience. When you take care of yourself, you’ll be more energized and better able to handle stress.

woman sitting on a rock and reading outside

Another way to do happy is by pursuing hobbies or activities that bring you joy. Whether painting, gardening, or playing an instrument, these moments of creativity and enjoyment can provide a much-needed boost of inspiration and help you approach your goals with renewed enthusiasm.

Cultivating relationships with supportive, positive people is also essential. Surround yourself with individuals who uplift and encourage you, as they can motivate you during difficult times.

Lastly, performing acts of kindness is a meaningful way to do happy. When you help others or contribute to your community, you create a sense of purpose and fulfillment that can spill over into other aspects of your life.

Find what works for you and make it a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. To help you do happy every day and track your progress, check out our Do Happy App – your daily companion for cultivating happiness and staying motivated.

3. Say “Just 5 More Minutes”

When faced with a daunting task, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and tempted to procrastinate. That’s when the “just 5 more minutes” technique comes in handy. Instead of thinking about the entire project or task, tell yourself you’ll work on it for just five more minutes.

This simple trick works because it makes the task feel more manageable and less intimidating. Focusing on a short, specific amount of time makes it easier for your brain to get started and build momentum.

Often, the hardest part of any task is taking that first step. But once you’ve begun, your motivation and focus frequently increase, allowing you to continue working beyond those initial five minutes. This is because our brains are wired to seek completion, and once we start something, we naturally want to see it through.

If you’re still struggling after five minutes, repeat the process. Tell yourself, “just five more minutes,” and keep going. Before you know it, you’ll have made significant progress on your task, and the sense of accomplishment will fuel your motivation to continue.

Remember, every minute counts and small steps can add up to big achievements over time.

4. Celebrate Small Wins

Each time you complete a task or make progress, no matter how small it may seem, take a moment to recognize your achievement.

Celebrating small wins helps break down large, overwhelming goals into manageable steps, making the entire process feel less daunting. Every small victory is a step forward, bringing you closer to your ultimate goal.

Whether you finish a challenging task, make a tough decision, or simply put in the effort to work on your goals, take pride in your accomplishments. Acknowledging your progress will boost your confidence and motivation, fueling your desire to keep going and tackle the next challenge.

woman in a red sweater with her arms raised in celebration

5. Seek Inspiration

When you’re feeling stuck or discouraged, one of the best ways to reignite your motivation is to seek inspiration from others who have faced similar challenges and triumphed. Surround yourself with positivity by actively seeking out stories of people who have overcome adversity to achieve great things. 

Find content that drives you, such as a motivating TED talk or an inspiring book. Listen to podcasts that feature interviews with entrepreneurs, artists, and innovators who have pursued their passions and made their dreams a reality. Watch documentaries or read biographies of individuals who inspire you.

The experiences of others can provide valuable insights and motivate you to keep going. A fresh perspective can completely change your outlook and reinvigorate your journey toward your goals. 

Remember, nobody knows exactly what they’re doing at first, but through perseverance and exploration, they find their way. In other words, if they can do it, so can you.

6. Limit Distractions

In today’s digital age, distractions are everywhere. So, create an environment that minimizes interruptions and supports your focus.

Start by assessing your workspace and identifying potential sources of distraction. Is your desk cluttered with unnecessary items? Are you constantly being interrupted by notifications on your phone or computer? Once you’ve pinpointed the main culprits, take action to minimize their impact.

Tidy up your workspace, keeping only the essentials within reach. Turn off notifications on your devices, or use apps that block distracting websites during designated work hours. If you’re working on a challenging task that requires deep focus, find a quiet space where you can work uninterrupted and communicate your boundaries to others who might distract you.

focused woman wearing headphones working on her computer

The goal is to create an environment that supports your ability to concentrate. By taking control of your surroundings and limiting distractions, you’ll be better equipped to stay motivated, maintain your focus, and achieve your goals.

7. Embrace the Power of Now

When faced with large, overwhelming projects or long-term goals, it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about the future and all the upcoming tasks. However, this mindset can lead to anxiety, procrastination, and a feeling of helplessness, making it difficult to keep going.

To combat this, embrace the power of now by focusing on what you can do today. Break down your goals into smaller, actionable steps you can accomplish now, and concentrate on the problems and tasks within your control.

For example, if you’re working on a big report, focus on the specific section you need to complete today instead of worrying about the entire project. If you’re trying to improve your health, concentrate on making positive choices in the present, like going for a walk or preparing a nutritious meal.

Remember, every journey begins with a single step, and by taking action today, you’re already making progress toward your ultimate destination.

8. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Oprah Winfrey once shared a powerful secret to her enduring energy and success: “The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now.” 

Embrace the transformative power of gratitude by regularly recording things you are thankful for. Each day, take a few minutes to write about the happy things that brightened your day. It could be a heartfelt compliment from a co-worker, a delicious homemade meal, or a peaceful moment in nature.

man writing in a journal

By focusing on these positive experiences and consciously acknowledging them, you’ll train your brain to actively seek out the good in your life and find joy in the little things. This habit can transform your general outlook, making you more resilient to everyday stressors and enhancing your overall well-being.

Your gratitude journal will evolve into a collection of happy memories and a powerful reminder of what truly matters. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, flipping through your journal can provide a much-needed boost of positivity and motivation.

Remember, cultivating gratitude isn’t about ignoring life’s difficulties but recognizing and appreciating the good that exists alongside them. By making gratitude a daily habit, you’ll build emotional resilience, foster a more optimistic outlook, and find the strength to keep going, no matter what challenges come your way.

9. Change Your Environment

When you find yourself in a motivational rut, a change of scenery can work wonders. If you’re feeling stuck or uninspired, try moving your work to a different room in your house, a cozy coffee shop, or even a nearby park. A fresh environment can stimulate your senses, spark new ideas, and breathe life into your motivation.

Surrounding yourself with new sights, sounds, and even smells can help break the monotony of your daily routine and provide a much-needed mental reset. This change of pace can be especially beneficial when tackling creative tasks or brainstorming sessions.

Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and explore new spaces – you never know what kind of inspiration you might find in unexpected places. By embracing change and welcoming new surroundings, you’ll open yourself to fresh perspectives and renewed motivation.

10. Connect Tasks to Your Values

Take a moment to reflect on your core values – the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide your life. Then, consider how your current projects and objectives align with these values.

By connecting your tasks to your values, you’ll tap into a powerful source of intrinsic motivation. When you understand how your efforts contribute to the things that matter most to you, whether it’s family, personal growth, or positively impacting the world, you’ll find the strength to push through challenges and stay committed to your goals.

For example, if one of your core values is continuous learning, and you’re working on a challenging new skill, remind yourself that frustration and setbacks are part of the growth process. If you value creativity and you’re struggling with a design project, recognize that your perseverance is in service of bringing more beauty and innovation into the world.

man in beanie holding a book lost in thought

Aligning your daily tasks with your deepest values will infuse your work with greater meaning and purpose. This connection will provide a stable foundation of motivation, helping you stay focused and driven. When your actions are grounded in your values, every step forward becomes an expression of your authentic self.

11. Practice Self-Compassion

When you encounter setbacks or feel discouraged, take a moment to acknowledge your feelings without judgment. Practicing self-compassion means treating yourself kindly like you would to a friend in distress.

For instance, if you miss a deadline or falter on a project, instead of spiraling into self-critique, take a break to regroup. Treat yourself to a coffee, take a walk, or engage in another activity that soothes you.

Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and that each error is a stepping stone to greater understanding and mastery. Use affirmative language with yourself, such as, “It’s okay to make mistakes. What can I learn from this?” or “I’m proud of myself for trying, and I’ll use this experience to improve.”

Adopting a habit of talking to yourself with kindness and empathy mitigates the sting of immediate setbacks and strengthens your resilience over time. This kinder internal dialogue makes it easier to rebound and move forward.

12. Find a Mentor or Coach

Having a mentor or coach can be a game-changer. Seek out someone who has already walked your path and achieved the success you aspire to. This person can provide invaluable guidance, support, and encouragement, helping you navigate challenges and stay on the right track.

When looking for a mentor or coach, consider individuals who possess qualities you admire, such as resilience, integrity, or creativity. Reach out to them and express your admiration for their work or achievements. Many people are happy to share their knowledge and experience with those eager to learn and grow.

By leveraging the wisdom and support of others, you’ll find it easier to overcome obstacles and achieve your full potential. 

an older woman mentoring a younger woman

13. Reframe Challenges as Opportunities

Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a difficult situation, look for the potential benefits and learning experiences. Reframing situations this way can transform your outlook, seeing potential stressors as exciting opportunities for personal development and growth.

For example, if you’re nervous about giving a presentation at work, reframe it as an opportunity to showcase your expertise and connect with colleagues. When the thought of starting a new project feels overwhelming, think of it as a perfect opportunity to innovate and push your creative boundaries.

You can also try this powerful reframing technique shared by a user on Reddit: “My anxiety is actually excitement.” By shifting your perspective and viewing the physical sensations of anxiety (such as a racing heart or butterflies in your stomach) as signs of excitement and anticipation, you can harness that energy to fuel your performance and embrace challenges head-on.

Remember, growth and comfort rarely coexist. You’ll develop resilience, adaptability, and a growth mindset by willingly stepping outside your comfort zone and reframing challenges as opportunities. Embrace the discomfort and view it as a sign that you’re expanding your horizons and unlocking your full potential. 

Approach obstacles with curiosity and enthusiasm, and you’re bound to achieve greater success in your personal and professional life.

14. Create a Vision Board

A vision board is a powerful tool for staying focused and motivated on your goals. Gather images, quotes, and other visual representations that resonate with your dreams and aspirations. These can be from magazines, online sources, or even your own drawings or photographs.

Arrange these elements on a physical board or create a digital collage. As you curate your vision board, reflect on what each item represents and how it aligns with your desired future.

Display your vision board prominently, such as on your bedroom wall or as your computer desktop background. Take a few moments each day to engage with it, visualizing yourself living out your dreams and embodying the qualities you aspire to. 

Visualization will keep your goals at the forefront of your mind, providing a constant source of inspiration and motivation to keep going.

man looking at his vision board

15. Commit Publicly

Tell a trusted friend, family member, or colleague about your aspirations, especially if they are someone you view as “higher status” or whose opinions you deeply respect. Ask them to check in with you regularly about your progress. 

People tend to be more committed to their goals after sharing them with individuals they admire or see as role models. Sharing your goals can significantly enhance the accountability and motivation you feel, pushing you to meet and even exceed your own expectations.

Additionally, consider sharing your journey on social media or joining a support group of like-minded individuals working towards similar goals. This public commitment broadens your support network and amplifies your motivation. By making your goals known in such public spheres, you’ll feel a strong drive to follow through and prove to yourself and others that you have what it takes to succeed.

16. Find Your Rhythm

Pay attention to when you feel most energized and focused, and structure your day around those times. Understand and work with your natural rhythms. Some people are early birds, while others are night owls. Aligning your work with these rhythms can maximize productivity and reduce the effort needed to accomplish tasks.

If you’re a morning person, tackle your most challenging tasks first thing when your brain is fresh and alert. If you’re more of a night owl, save your creative work for later in the day when your energy levels peak. By honoring your body’s natural rhythms, you’ll work more efficiently and effectively and feel less stressed and overwhelmed.

smiling woman holding a coffee mug

Final Thoughts

Motivation isn’t something that’s given; it’s created. It’s a force you cultivate from within, fueled by your dreams, values, and unwavering commitment to personal growth.

As you navigate the ups and downs of your journey, remember that every challenge you face is an opportunity to learn, grow, and become a stronger version of yourself. Embrace the discomfort, for you discover your true strength and resilience in those moments of struggle.

Hold onto hope and let it guide you, keeping you on the right track. Surround yourself with positivity, seek inspiration from others, and celebrate every victory, no matter how small. Remember that success is not a destination but a continuous journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.

As you move forward, take a moment to reflect on the person you want to become and the life you want to create. What legacy do you want to leave behind? How can you use your unique talents and passions to make a positive impact on the world around you?

Let these questions guide your actions and decisions, and trust that every step you take brings you closer to your ultimate purpose. The journey may be challenging, but it’s also gratifying. Start small, keep your goals in sight, and keep going—because every step forward is a step towards building a life filled with meaning, fulfillment, and endless possibilities.

For more insightful articles and tips on personal growth, motivation, and living a happy life, explore the a little dose of happy blog. We’re here to support you every step of the way!