Over 6 years ago, I started a daily fitness practice. Every day starts with a workout. I’ve had a daily journaling practice for almost as long. I am closing in on four years of daily meditation practice. And I recently celebrated my two-year anniversary of daily blogging.
Almost daily, someone asks me,
How do you find the motivation to keep going when’s you’re not seeing results?
Human beings tend to be motivated by progress. It’s easier to keep to your nutrition plan when you feel healthier and more energetic. When you notice you’re getting stronger or more flexible, the gym pulls you. If your blog posts are going viral, you naturally want to write more. When you notice that meditation helps you focus better on your work and keeps you calm, you find it easier to create space in your day to sit. When every prospecting call ends in a closed sale, you keep making calls.
This is the human way.
But we don’t always see these results or other measures of progress. Regression is also part of the package.
This can put a dent in your motivation. I’ve definitely had times when my motivation has lagged.
Over the years, I have developed several strategies and mindsets to keep myself motivated and doing the work, even when it feels like I’m not getting results, and even when I’m in a regression.
In The Ritual Revolution, the program in which I teach my clients how to create sustainable daily practices (i.e., what some would call “lasting habit change”), I teach a full module on this topic. I teach several strategies to address motivation, and I address the related question: how do you know when to quit or change your practice? Because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Today I want to share with you just one of the strategies I use to keep going. It’s a big one, and often overlooked by high achievers who are looking for the big measurable difference.
To keep going, it helps to find the places where you can feel even the smallest measure of improvement. You might notice these feelings of progress in micro-moments, only perceptable if you’re actively looking for them.
For example, I recently experienced a moment where I could feel myself engage my mid-back muscles, something I’ve been working on for several months. It was a fleeting moment, and at the same time a huge moment.
When you notice these micro-moments, make note of them. Write them down. Stopping to recognize what happened helps you make the moment bigger. This will give you something to hang on to until your next small win.