How to stay motivated

How to stay motivated

To follow last week’s analytical thinking issue, we’re going to jump to number 4 on 2023’s top skills list: motivation and self-awareness.

Motivation and self-awareness skills have to do with knowing your potential and constantly seeking to fulfill it. In the workplace, employers are likely thinking about these skills in terms of your professional development, but it can also apply to emotional and mental circumstances, particularly when you’re in leadership.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) classifies this skill as an “attitude,” meaning it’s more about the way you show up than it is about your cognitive or technical capabilities. The fact that motivation and self-awareness—along with skills like curiosity and agility—are so valuable to employers is “evidence that businesses emphasize the importance of resilient and reflective workers embracing a culture of lifelong learning as the lifecycle of their skills decreases,” WEF says in their Future of Jobs Report.

Translation: As new technologies drive a need for more advanced technical skills, employers value workers who actively identify and seek growth opportunities to stay ahead of incoming technological advancements.

It’s easy to understand why this is a desirable skill, but it can also be really challenging to execute, particularly when your growth is expected to occur on top of or outside of your regular work duties.

So, what can you do to motivate yourself to keep growing?

One of the most effective ways to stay motivated is to remember your why. Your why is the reason you do everything that you do. It’s your root cause.

Say you want to feel motivated to learn prompt engineering.

  • Why do you want to learn prompt engineering? So you can use ChatGPT to simplify your daily workflow.
  • Why do you want to simplify your daily workflow? So you can free up the time you’d spend on menial tasks and instead focus on more meaningful, productive tasks and build a stronger case that you’re ready for a promotion.
  • Why do you want a promotion? So you can earn a higher salary and save more money for a down payment on a house.
  • Why do you want to save money for a house? So you can provide a more stable living situation for yourself and your family.
  • Why do you want to provide a more stable living situation for yourself and your family? So you can have more control over your long-term living situation and can better plan for your future.
  • Why do you want to plan for your future? So you can be prepared to support your family in the ways they want to be supported rather than needing them to support you.

When you think about it that way, it sounds like learning prompt engineering will put you on the path toward becoming the best provider you can be for your family. That’s a lot more motivating than just thinking about the additional workload you’ll be able to take on once you become more comfortable with ChatGPT.

Knowing your why isn’t the only way to boost motivation and enhance your self-awareness. Here are five more science-backed strategies to try as you explore how to motivate yourself:

  1. Put your goal on the calendar.
  2. Make working toward your goal a habit.
  3. Plan for imperfection.
  4. Set small goals to build momentum.
  5. Track your progress.

You can use these strategies to motivate yourself in any area of your life, whatever goal you’re working toward and however distant that goal feels. And remember: not every strategy is going to be the right strategy for everyone in every situation. It’s worth trying out a few to learn your best motivators in any given circumstance.

Keep building your motivation and self-awareness

For more motivation strategies, read our article, How to Motivate Yourself: 11 Tips for Self Improvement. Or, enroll in any of these highly rated courses:

That’s all for this week. Next week, we’ll explore leadership and social influence skills. Until then, share your motivational tips in the comments section—we love getting new ideas from you!