12 habits of people who maintain their motivation (even during setbacks)

Staying motivated even when things seem to be going in the wrong direction is one of the most important things in life. 

Just think about how many people drop out during their first year of college, don’t go to the gym after one or two months, or don’t stick to a healthy diet despite health issues.

To find out how to maintain your motivation even during setbacks, the best thing to do is learn from highly motivated people and see what their habits are.

So, let’s jump in!

1) They are go-getters

Let’s jump in sounds like something a go-getter would say, right? It’s precisely the mindset you need to have to stay highly motivated.

Saying “yes” to activities, networking, and business propositions, as well as being open to new friendships, is an invaluable habit.

Introverts definitely struggle with this, however, by saying “yes” at least some of the time, you’ll quickly get into the habit of it and won’t think twice anymore.

2) They have a positive mindset

Saying “yes” to things and people doesn’t automatically mean you have a positive mindset. Oh, no, my friend. You will have to dig deeper than that.

To have an optimistic outlook, you’ll have to change your whole worldview and start believing in humanity and other individuals. Even strangers.

By thinking, or even better, knowing everything will be alright, you’ll drop that massive weight off your shoulders.

However, to do that, you have to work on the next thing on our list.

3) They have a clear purpose

When you know exactly what you’re building towards, it’s easier to make it happen and to look at setbacks as mere roadblocks you can get around or jump over. 

I’ll mention one famous example.

Mahatma Gandhi had one goal in mind. He aimed to achieve Indian independence from British colonial rule through nonviolent civil disobedience and peaceful protest.

He mobilized the masses through various nonviolent movements, something the world had never seen before, and ultimately achieved his vision of an independent India.

He had so many setbacks that many would have given up long ago. You see, Gandhi was subjected to physical violence and attacks from those who opposed his ideas throughout his life.

Now, that’s some motivation right there! Let’s see what other habits will help you stay motivated.

4) They think long-term

Thinking long-term is an underrated habit that comes naturally to older generations. They also had more stability in their lives, especially after the WW2 ended.

These days, let’s face it, it’s all about instant gratification. If you can’t have something right away, what’s the point of doing it?

Naturally, that leads to many problems down the road as we don’t have the compound effect to help us along.

For instance, did you know that most people become millionaires in their late 50s? They achieve that by saving money in their 401(k)s. Who knew, right?

The popular belief is that most people become rich in their 30-40s. And kids these days think they should be rich by the time they hit 22.

I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but you’re better off having a long-term outlook on things.

And what can help you with that? Read on.

5) They are organized

Maintaining your motivation and long-term outlook is easier if you’re fairly organized and love to make plans, set deadlines, and track your progress.

That way, you know exactly what you need to do and when. You also shouldn’t have (too many) nasty surprises.

People that are able to maintain their motivation know this.

6) They hold themselves accountable

signs you need major change in life 1 12 habits of people who maintain their motivation (even during setbacks)

Putting things on paper or even your wall or bathroom mirror helps you stay motivated and accountable.

Sure, you can hold yourself accountable, but a much more effective way of doing so is to find a mentor, an accountability group, or a mastermind.

You don’t have to go out and find one in a community center or something. Simply search for Facebook groups or local and international websites dedicated to that. Think Discord, forums, Whatsapp groups, and similar.

By sharing your progress with like-minded folks and peers, you’ll have to put up or shut up.

7) They surround themselves with encouraging people

Speaking of encouragement, it comes in many forms. It can be a mastermind group, a mentor, or your peers, but it can also be your friends and family.

Encouraging someone in their (new) ventures is the bare minimum we can do for them.

However, it looks like, for some people, even that is too much, as envy, bitterness, and discontent can take over for some reason.  

I’m sorry to tell you this, but you might need to find new friends for encouragement.

8) They know when to take a break

Dealing with people, kids, and work obligations can be stressful, I’m sure you can agree with me. It doesn’t help that in today’s world, we’re constantly ON and available almost 24/7, 365 days a year.

There’s barely any time to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, let alone read a good book.

But there should be. And there is. We just have to carve it out for ourselves.

Do you know how many hours there are in a week? 168. If we deduct 16 hours daily for work and sleep, you’re left with 56 hours.   

Find some time in these hours for yourself. It will make a world of difference.

9) They take care of their health

People that are masters at maintaining their motivation are generally those that use the proverb:

“A healthy mind in a healthy body”

Do you think that’s true?

I’m sure it is, that’s why I try to eat as healthy as I can and work out a couple of times per week and meditate on occasion.

Having a family can somewhat interfere with that as we don’t have the same schedules, but if I can make it work, so can anyone.

10) They are adaptable

Speaking of schedules, they don’t always work out, do they?

I want to tear mine apart every couple of weeks, frustrated with how many things I have on my plate, but I don’t.

I learned to adapt from a dear friend of mine that is someone I look up to and who’s a highly motivated person.

Of course, you have to be able to adapt to things happening. I always think of that “This is fine” meme where the dog drinks coffee while the house is burning around him.

Be the dog and embrace the chaos; you’ll be better off because of it.

11) They learn from setbacks

Setbacks can happen.

For some people, they seem to happen more than for others. However, we all need to learn from our own mistakes and setbacks to stay motivated through hell and high water.

You know what’s even better? Learning from other people’s mistakes.

Why go through something yourself if you can take cues and avoid mishaps altogether?

This brings us to the last habit of highly motivated people.

12) They celebrate small wins

Do you ever take the time to celebrate small wins and to reflect and say grace for them?

It can be as small as eating healthy for a week, not having any alcohol for a month, learning ten words in a different language, etc.

Take some time to acknowledge how much progress you’ve made. Celebrate a milestone with a dear friend or family member, and you’ll be much happier and more inclined to continue.

Final thoughts

Maintaining your motivation when life throws you lemons is challenging. Nevertheless, you can learn from the habits mentioned above. Adopt at least 5-7 of them at the beginning of your journey, and you’ll be better off.

If you also want to learn how to live in the present moment, here are 7 mindfulness exercises for a more fulfilling life.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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