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Sometimes running your own business can be hard, it can be lonely, challenging, and tiring, even if you wouldn’t swap it for the world.

So if you’re struggling to stay motivated at the moment, you’re really not alone. To help you get unstuck, I’ve put together my favourite strategies to keep me motivated and positive:

  1. Set goals

There are lots of reasons to set goals when you run a business. For a start, they give you something tangible to work towards, a destination towards which you can plan your route. This is why I’m a big fan of setting short-, medium- and long-term goals for my life and business. It helps me to stay focused and make decisions – for example, I assess the worth of new opportunities based on whether they will take me closer to or further away from my goals.

To keep you motivated, try setting some small manageable goals or breaking your bigger goals into smaller, more easily achievable steps. Tick each goal off as you reach it so that you can see you’re making progress.

  1. Reward yourself

When you reach a goal, I think it’s really important to acknowledge that achievement in some way. You might reward yourself by buying something you really want, taking a day off, visiting a friend, or even just by sitting down by yourself and saying, “Yes, I set my mind to that goal and I achieved it”. If you don’t take time out to recognise your achievements, the danger is that you won’t notice them.

  1. Expect setbacks

There’s a great quote from Winston Churchill – “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. This always reminds me that setbacks and failures are inevitable; in fact, they’re how we learn. A child doesn’t automatically know how to walk, they learn from trying, from falling over and getting up again.

If you do hit a setback in your business, remind yourself that it’s just an event, not the thing that defines you as a person. Then take a moment to review your goals and decide what you need to do next to learn from the setback and move closer to where you want to be.

  1. Learn to say no

No. It might be a small word but it has a huge amount of power. How often do you say it?

If you’re something who ends up saying yes to opportunities and commitments that aren’t the right fit for your business, then it might be time to practice saying no. Again, it comes back to your goals. If something is likely to take you away from where you want to focus your energies, then it’s completely acceptable to say no. You don’t even have to offer an explanation – remember, ‘No’ is a complete sentence!

  1. Establish a routine

Many people lose their sense of motivation when they lose control of their day. You might experience this when a client calls out of the blue with a problem you weren’t expecting. Suddenly, all your goals for the day may get pushed aside to deal with your client’s agenda. Similarly, an email you weren’t expecting may suddenly shift your attention from your plans.

Personally, I find it helpful to give my day as much of a routine as possible – this includes dedicated times for business planning, making phone calls and even walking my dog.

  1. Make yourself accountable

Another way to stay motivated is to set up some accountability in your business. For example, you could tell a trusted friend or family member about a goal you’re working towards. Let them know what you want to achieve, how you plan to achieve it, and the deadline for your goal. You can then agree to check in with that trusted person at pre-agreed intervals to update them on your progress.

Many of us find it easier to stick to a goal when we feel accountable to someone else. If this is you, then make sure you ask for the support you need.

Don’t forget, the Success Shapers group mentoring programmes and Trainer Talk community both provide great accountability and help you connect with other trainers who ‘get’ what you do for a living.

  1. Embrace positive thinking

Positive thinking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but there are some really helpful strategies designed to encourage your brain to focus on a positive message rather than dwelling on negatives. For example, you could try writing down five things for which you’re grateful at the end of every day. Other people benefit from creating positive images in their minds, such as imaging what it would feel like to achieve a goal.

Another option is to write down everything positive that happens during your day. This can feel quite challenging at first, but even noting the flowers blooming in the garden or a nice chat with someone at the supermarket checkout, or a compliment from a client, can all help to change your daily narrative to include more high points.

Be kind to yourself

Above all, I think it’s important to be kind to yourself when your motivation has gone AWOL. It’s completely human to need some down time or to lose focus occasionally. Practice self-care, reflect back on lessons you can take from every situation, and remember that tomorrow is a new day.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have any tried and tested strategies that you use? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.

Don’t forget, you can also download a copy of my free report – 20 ways to re-energise your training business – for more motivational hints and tips.


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