10 Ways To Motivate Yourself When You Have No Motivation at All

Motivation can be hard to come by, especially when bogged down by a never-ending list of things to do when building a business. That's what we're here for. Here are ten ways to motivate yourself when you just can't seem to find the spark you need to rejuvenate and work on your business.


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Video transcript: Why am I here talking to you about how to stay motivated? When you come to Oberlo’s YouTube channel, you're looking for business ideas, you're looking for marketing tips. I mean, that's why you subscribe, right? Right?

The reason I'm here today to share ten motivational tips that will keep you working even when you don't feel like it is because I know why 90 percent of you will quit on the way to entrepreneurship. I don't have to read anyone's horoscopes to figure this out. The data is clear. Most people who stop dropshipping simply quit. 

It's not a matter of the failure of a business system, it's a matter of lacking the motivation to continue. 

And I don't blame you. This stuff is hard. However, I know from all of the interviews I've done with six- and seven-figure entrepreneurs, the one thing that makes them different from the people who quit is that they keep going. 

They're not smarter, not richer, they're not more talented, and they're not luckier than you. They just decide to dig in their heels and keep going when everyone else would drop out of the race.

So today, I’m going to share ten ways that you can do the same. I'm going to give you motivational superpowers and I hope you watch this video whenever you're about to quit because I want you on this channel as a success story, not as an audience member, and the only way you're gonna get there is by making it to the end. 

1. Practice the Two-Minute Rule

The first way to motivate yourself when you're feeling like giving up is to start practicing the two-minute rule. Now, physics was my worst subject in high school. But I do remember that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. That’s literally all I remember. But the bottom line of that rule is that once something gets started, it's easier to keep going. On the other hand, that initial effort it takes to start can be a lot. 

Let's back away from the esoteric for a second and talk about your business ambitions. There're a lot of things that you need to do to start a business. And I know what it's like to come home after a day full of classes or a day full of work, the last thing you wanna do is work on your business. It takes a phenomenal amount of effort to sit down and open another laptop screen. 

But if you just tell yourself you'll do it for two minutes, you can trick yourself into getting more work done than you ever thought was possible. 

So the next time you're dragging about scheduling Instagram posts or cleaning up your product pages or checking in on the shipping status of a product, just tell yourself, “I'll do it for two minutes,” and if you're still hating it after two minutes, stop. Science suggests that you'll keep going, you'll solve some problems, and you'll keep building that business.

2. Create a List

So the next way to motivate yourself when you just don't wanna keep working on that business is to create a list. No, not that kind of a list. A distractions list.

One of the things that can so easily derail you as you get to work are the pesky little voices inside your head. These voices are saying everything. They're telling you to quit. They're telling you you're hungry. They're asking you what you have to do tomorrow. They're asking you why he hasn't texted back. 

Whatever they are, get them out of your head and on to paper. It's amazing how that simple exercise will help to focus your mind. So the next time you sit down to work, whether it's two minutes or longer, keep at your side a pad of paper and a pen. 

Yes, I do recommend you go analog with this. 

Every time a thought comes in and starts to loop its way and wind its way around your brain and distract you from the task at hand, pick up your pen, write it down, and move on. 

This has the added benefit of making sure that when you get thoughts in your brain that you do need to address, like take the laundry out of the dryer and so forth, you'll have a place to put down so that you can return to them and get them done later. 

3. Put Your Phone on Silent Mode

The third way to motivate yourself when you're feeling like you have zero motivation left is to put your phone on silent. Here's when we get science-y. A Senior Lecturer of psychology named Éilish Duke reports that looking at our phones even for as little as 2.8 seconds can completely interrupt our productive flow. 

When you get that incoming text message and you just think, “Oh, I'll just take a quick look and then I'll get back to work,” you're lying to yourself. You won’t, your brain can't. So stop self-sabotaging by putting your phone on silent and say that three times fast.

Here's another interesting fact. The Journal of Experimental Psychology found that just hearing the vibration of an incoming message was enough to increase the likelihood that someone made a mistake at work. You're building a business, you can't afford careless mistakes that you can easily avoid. 

So avoid this one by putting your phone on silent. 

4. Accept That You Might Be on Day Two

My next tip for keeping yourself motivated is to accept that you might be on day two. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, every journey has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Author, podcast host, and all-around human-angel Brené Brown explains that that middle is where things can get messy. 

Think about the last project you started. On the first day, you probably had a lot of fire in your belly and you just couldn't wait to take over the world and you knew this was gonna be successful.

Maybe you spend a couple of hours buying a domain name or creating a mood board. And then what happened on the second day? On the second day, everything got real. You had to do the boring stuff like set up shipping pages or actually write for 60 minutes. It's when the dream becomes reality and you have to start figuring out how to make it work that a lot of us get discouraged. This is the “day two” that Brené Brown describes. 

Now, you can follow some of the tips on this list to get around it. But one of the best ways to get through this feeling of day two is to accept it. Accept that you're in the messy middle and know that your idea is not bad, you are not lazy, you're just going through a tough and very natural process of developing an online empire. 

When you know that the “day two” phenomenon is completely normal, it can be easier to get to it and get to the other side. 

5. Celebrate Small Wins

The next thing you gotta do to stay motivated in this process is to celebrate small wins. I love this tip. This tip is so important, and so often, we forget to do this. A lot of us set up ambitions like wanting to make a million dollars in a year or even something like $50,000 in a year. It's still quite a lofty goal. 

What we neglect to celebrate are all the little things that we learn and accomplish along the way. And when we neglect to celebrate those small wins, we hurt our chances of reaching the big win. We feel like it's so far away and we haven't done anything. 

When you celebrate small wins, you keep yourself motivated. So think back on this week or this month. What did you learn that you couldn't do before? What problems did you solve that once you thought were unsolvable? What do you have to show for your effort, whether it’s a website or a product? 

Make a list and then figure out ways to celebrate those wins. 

It could be as simple as ordering in from your favorite restaurant or giving yourself a gift that you've always wanted for a long time. All of my small wins are food-oriented so I'm gonna be a little short on examples here. But I would love it if we shared below in the comments some ideas, little ways that we can celebrate small wins 'cause we're on this journey together. 

6. Know Your Chronotype

The next way to stay motivated is to know your chronotype. No, it has nothing to do with being a Scorpio. Your chronotype relates to when in the day you feel energized. In his book, The Power of When, clinical psychologist Michael Breus explains that knowing our chronotype can help us front-load or back-load the work in our day so that we do it when we're performing at our peak. 

This is a very science-y way of saying: Get to know whether you're a morning person or an evening person. A lot of us will feel like we get our best work done either in the morning or maybe in the afternoon or maybe late at night. 

Just knowing this about yourself can be really powerful. 

For example, I'm a morning person and if I have to get a lot of important stuff done, I'll wake up extra early so I can power through it. And that's because I know for a fact that if you ask me to do anything after 6 PM, I will kick and make a fuss like a toddler. 

Instead of fighting against your chronotype, get to know it, and then schedule your days so that you do the hard work when you're feeling mentally ready for it. 

7. Schedule Downtime

The next way to motivate yourself is to schedule downtime. I'm not being a softie here. Athletes will tell you that you cannot train seven days a week, you'll expose yourself to a high risk of injury if you do.

The body needs some time to recover and the mind does too. If you wanna bring your mental “A” game to the business that you're building, you need to make sure to give yourself a break. Make sure those breaks count. If you're someone who has a hard time doing this, then drop it into your calendar, block off a portion of your day, tell yourself that portion is not for working.

All of the successful entrepreneurs I have interviewed still take time off. They don't spend hours every day watching Netflix. But they do it sometimes. They're humans, just like you and I. The important thing is they let themselves rest when that's what they're intending to do, and they make themselves work when that's what they intend to do. 

So take a cue from those successful entrepreneurs and schedule time off to keep yourself going in the long run. 

8. Learn Something New

This next tip is kind of the opposite of what I just recommended. But it's a powerful tool for keeping yourself motivated because it plays a little psychological trick on yourself. 

The next tip to keep yourself motivated is to actually learn something new. Say you're building an online business and you're deep in the trenches, learning about marketing, building a store, product research, creating a product, branding, and all of that stuff. 

You are already learning a ton, there's no denying it. However, just because you're learning a lot having to do with building a store doesn't mean you wanna neglect all of your other interests or potential interests.

It may seem silly to suggest you learn how to make pasta or how to play the ukulele. However, science suggests that when we take up new activities like that, our brains kind of change and our perspective widens. 

Sometimes, you can take creative ideas that you learn in one field and apply them to business. 

And in fact, I would argue that that's what usually sets apart the mega-successful entrepreneurs from people who make a couple of thousand dollars with their online business. They're able to apply something they know from another field to do the field of entrepreneurship or ecommerce, and that's when they really see numbers go up. 

So just because they're building an online business, don't neglect the other hobbies. Take them up and keep that awareness broad so you can be creative and cross-functional in your work. 

9. Choose the Right Goal

Tip number nine for staying motivated is to make sure you’re choosing the right goal. Author and life coach Martha Beck explains that sometimes when we lose motivation, it's because we're pursuing the goals that are wrong for us. 

We have an essential self and a social self. The essential self is creative and spontaneous and knows what's best for us. But the social self wants to make everyone else around us impressed and proud of us. 

A lot of times in life, we can choose goals because well, it feels right to the social self. Who wouldn’t want to say, “Hey, I'm an entrepreneur”? It impresses everyone at a cocktail party. But the fact of the matter is that if you choose a goal that's not aligned with your essential self, you could find yourself losing motivation more quickly. 

You can connect the two, but just pay attention to the activities that make you feel creative and spontaneous. How are they related to your essential self? And how can you craft goals around them?

For example, maybe you wanna build an online business, but you're someone who really loves talking to people, and that doesn't seem to fit with the image of someone who sits behind a computer building a business. 

You can make this work. Use your essential self that loves to socialize to build relationships with communities and influencers and market in that direction. All the people who are more data-driven, maybe, go towards Facebook ads. Just pay attention to what your essential self wants and craft goals around that.

10. Motivational Quote

The last tip is a motivational quote and it's not the motivational quote that I originally intended to share. This is something that I find personally motivating. But I'll warn you right now: It's a bit dark. My dad was in the military, so the motivational stuff that I like tends to be a little dark. 

I've been in situations where I've thought about giving up before too, and when I was, I remembered this graphic, but very motivating quote from Adlai Stevenson:

On the plains of hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who at the dawn of victory lay down to rest, and in resting died.

Luckily, ecommerce is not a life or death matter. However, this quote is a powerful reminder that so many people quit just before they're about to make it big. Don't be one of those people. I've got your back. And all of us here at Oberlo can't wait to see you succeed. 

Until next time, happy hustling.

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