How to Motivate Yourself to Start Your Passion Project

We can all sometimes use a bit of help getting started and learning how to motivate ourselves, right? I know it can feel overwhelming, or too difficult to even get started, but I’m going over my best tips and strategies you can start using right away for your passion project.

It’s important to understand why we might be putting off our goals, so we’ll go over some of those reasons first. When you know what’s at the heart of why you’re not getting started or staying motivated, you can combat that.

3 key reasons why you’re procrastinating your big goals

  1. You’re afraid of messing up on your project or goal, so you put it off. It’s also known as the fear of failure… and  if this is your reason, head over and listen to episode 42 where I really dive into this sphere.
  2. You don’t know what you’re doing. I’m going to let you in on a little bit of a secret, no one knows what they’re doing. We’re all fumbling around trying to do our best. There isn’t anyone out there that has all the answers to everything. Yes, there are things you don’t know how to do, and yes, there will be people out there who know more than you, but you’ve got to get over it. Keep in mind that asking questions doesn’t mean you’re weak, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn. Google is not going to judge you when you ask the same question over and over and over again. Ask friends or family members who might have valuable advice, maybe even in places that you don’t expect.
  3. You’re putting something off because it’s hard, it’s boring, or in some way unpleasant. In other words, you just don’t feel like doing it. When we say things like “I can’t get out of bed early in the morning to work on my project,” or “I just can’t make time,” we really mean we don’t feel like it. Nothing is actually physically stopping you, you just don’t want to do it.

 

In today’s society there is a glorification of busy, so we can feel that doing things you enjoy is a sin. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not focused, productive or active enough. I suggest we eliminate the word lazy altogether, because it’s useless, and it disguises the real problems. It could be that you lack a little bit of motivation, or it can be that you maybe have unrealistic expectations, or you’re having a hard time with focus.

If it’s focus, is it because your schedule is packed and you’re not actually getting as much done? You might need to remove distractions to find a way to boost your willpower. Is it the unrealistic expectations? If your schedule is packed, and you’re getting stuff done but you still feel lazy, you’re probably being too hard on yourself, and you’re setting these unrealistic expectations.

 

Actionable tips for creating and maintaining a motivational mindset

  • Eliminate the word “lazy” from your vocabulary and dig deeper into the real issue that may be keeping you from getting started on a goal.
  • Begin to look at your work with new eyes. Re-frame what is actually work. How you treat your work sets you up for how you experience it. We know our job performance has as much to do with our mindset as anything else. Try taking the time to list out the benefits and the things you enjoy doing, even the small tasks. Are you satisfied when you complete a task for your job? If you’re the CEO of your home, do you love it when the last load of laundry is put away? Write out all that you do to remind yourself.
  • Associate with the type of person you want to be. For example, if you want to be an entrepreneur, find ways to hang out with other successful entrepreneurs. If you’re in a group of people who have high goals for themselves, you take on that same sense of seriousness. The opposite end of the spectrum rings true too. If you’re surrounding yourself with people who hate what they do, or they’re unmotivated, that can rub off on you.

How to create a motivation plan & tackle your passion project

  1. Organize your life so you don’t need to be motivated to do everything on your list. Use things we’ve talked about like habits and automations to take the thinking out of it whenever we can. If you need help with that, you can listen to episodes 31 and 35 and well, honestly, most of season two. When you’re actively working to take the thinking out of it through these methods, when you create systems, it makes it easier for your brain to want to work because you’re saving it up for the really big stuff.
  2. Sit down and figure out your project goal. Literally, just sit and think about what you want to do, and of course, you know I’m going to say to write it down. Start with one concrete goal and write out what you want to do, and most importantly, the why. Why do you want to accomplish this project? Why is it so important?
  3. Create an action road map using the Action Roadmap Download. Create the flow you need to follow. Again, we’re doing this from the start, to help with taking that thinking out of it, to eliminate the excuses when you say you don’t know what to tackle next. When you set aside time to really dig into this, the next steps begin to appear much more readily.
  4. Set deadlines. Work rewards and accountability into your system so that you really are encouraged to stick to deadlines. Deadlines can make your passion project feel like a chore you need a break from, so come up with rewards that are related to your goal. This might be buying a new book on the topic of starting a business, or buying art supplies if you’re trying to launch an art career. Make sure your rewards compliment your goal, not contradict it.
  5. Get an accountability partner. Sometimes it can be really hard to hold yourself accountable, so have someone else help push and motivate you. You can find and partner with a group of peers who are committed to helping each other reach their goals, and you can plan to check in on a regular basis to review your progress, share your goals and provide support, feedback and encouragement.

 

What’s Next?

I want to encourage you to give yourself the time to work, even for as little as five to fifteen minutes a day, because it’s better than nothing at all. The easiest way to stop a project before it even starts is to claim you don’t have enough time to dedicate to it. If you don’t have 15 minutes a day to dedicate to your passion project, it’s time to give your daily priorities another look.

Start small, but just start.

I talk about this in more detail in episode 051 of my Productivity Paradox podcast, and I think those extra tips I give there will be even more helpful for you if you enjoyed this post! Head over to iTunes now and give it a quick listen!

Download one of my favorite worksheets (one that I used when I started my own podcast!) … the ACTION Roadmap and listen to episode 003 if you’d like some extra help getting started!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton