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When all else fails, reset and try again

In my previous blog article, “How to keep your eyes on the prize”, I talked about some useful approaches that could help keep you focussed on achieving your end goal. One of the approaches I touched on was the importance of celebrating the small wins, which ultimately motivates you to keep going until you’ve reached your end goal, and how motivational techniques implemented into a team environment could increase the level of employee morale.

Now, I am going to talk about how the right motivational strategy, self-nurture and re-evaluation can be just the medicine you need to get back on the horse after a mishap or obstacle has hindered you from attaining your goal or objective.

In life, we unavoidably encounter challenges and obstacles that are put in front of us to test our resilience and willpower. Personally, I’ve been through a few setbacks and failures, all the while trying to keep my motivation going. There have been times where I’ve wanted to throw in the towel. Sometimes that seems like the easiest solution, to just give up. But why put in all the hard work, if you’re just going to decide to wave the white flag and accept defeat as your only option.

I recently read a Forbes article which really resonated with me. It mentioned that when our motivation is low, our commitment, passion and determination are tested and we realise that our goals may remain only goals, unless we get motivated and ensure we maintain motivation to achieve those goals. One of the points that stuck with me was “motivation is the energy that keeps you trying one more time, when everything around you says give up”. This sentence absolutely encapsulates the power motivation has on our ability to get back up, dust off our knees and persist to succeed.

I believe that there should be three key elements to keep in mind when you’ve experienced an obstacle of some sort, that’ll help you regain and maintain the motivation to try again, to ensure you recharge your batteries, and re-evaluate your situation, understand what went wrong and identify what you can do to ensure a more successful outcome.

Motivational strategies

  • Set realistic and achievable goals: make sure you set yourself goals which can be realistically reached

  • Develop a daily activity schedule: list all the activities you plan to get done for the day – this can be both for personal and work reasons - and then rate them on an enjoyment scale where 0 is low enjoyment. This will help you refocus on the things you enjoy doing the most and identify the things that bring you the least pleasure, that will take a bit more motivation and energy to complete

  • Seek support when you need help: don’t be too proud to refuse a friend, colleague or loved one’s support and advice or simple words of encouragement

  • Identify your distractions and learn to separate and discard them from the real goals you’ve set out to achieve

  • Adapting the motivation without coercion technique: Replace your “shoulds”, “coulds”, “musts”, “oughts” and “woulds” with “wants”. By eliminating those coercive words and instead changing your mindset to use the words “want to”, reminds you that what you’re doing is something you want to do, and not something you’re forced to do

  • Each week, find yourself an inspirational quote or verse – it may be something that reassures you that it’s okay to fail sometimes, or it may be something that encourages you not to give up – and put it up someplace that’s visible to you daily

  • Seek out certain environments or activities that inspire creativity and enthusiasm: change up your working environment if you have the flexibility to do so, e.g. work at a café or out in the sun and fresh air. You’ll be surprised at the positive effect it has on the creative mind

  • Prove them all wrong! Prove to the people that thought you’d fail and never succeed, that you’re a tough competitor and that no matter what obstacles you face, you are adamant to succeed

  • Watch TED Talk videos: there are so many inspiring, motivating and interesting TED Talk videos you can find that’ll help you refocus your purpose and energies


  • Establish a rewards system: reward yourself for progress toward your goals. Whether it be allowing yourself a cheat day after losing weight at the gym, or buying yourself a new pair of shoes for reaching your sales target

  • Do away with negative thoughts and discouragement: believe in the power of positive thinking to help you overcome those adversities

  • Make sure you’re taking the time to care for yourself - that means mentally, physically and emotionally: it may be as simple as taking a break to go for a walk or run, enjoying a coffee with a colleague or friend, going for a well-deserved massage or baking/cooking something new

  • Nurture discipline: develop a routine in your personal life that may include exercise, yoga, meditation, or whatever helps you clear and strengthen your mind, body and soul

  • Maintain a sense of personal pride and self-endorsement: be proud of what you’ve already accomplished and embrace the satisfaction of those accomplishments

  • Invest in your personal and professional development: growing yourself in the activities you love doing in your personal time and advancing your professional skills and knowledge provides confidence and contentment, creating a well-rounded self-actualised individual

  • Create a gratitude list: it’s all too easy to count the things we’re not happy with in our lives, but what about the things that we are grateful and happy for? Sometimes it’s the simple task of writing down what makes us happy to be alive, that has the most profound effect on our well-being, state of mind and motivational attitude


  • Redirect and renew your energy toward your goals and don’t give up easily

  • Reflect on why you failed to attain your goal, what could you have done differently, and how can you change your approach to improve your chances of successfully reaching your goal

  • Readjust your focus to recapture the motivation to succeed

  • Always consider the alternative: if you ever doubt yourself and wonder why you took the approach you did, think about how regrettable and unsatisfied you would have felt if you hadn’t tried in the first place

  • Simply take a break: when you feel tired, overwhelmed or defeated, take a step back, regain your breath, reassess your current situation, adjust your approach and mindset, and try again

You may have already adopted some techniques and strategies in your life for motivational assistance, but there’s always room to add more to your toolbox. Remember, you’re inevitably going to face trials and tribulations at some point, so it’s important you equip yourself with strategies that’ll help you stay motivated to get back up and try again, all the while making sure you maintain a healthy, happy you.

There’s a great quote from the late Nelson Mandela that goes, “do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Everyone is fated to fail at something in life, but it’s what we do next that makes all the difference. Do we accept defeat and forget about all the hard work we’ve put into achieving our goals and objectives? Or do we reset and refocus our ideas, our approach, and our mind to get back up and try for success one more time?

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