There you are, in the middle of it all, just staring off into space. Once you snap back to reality, you look down at what you’re doing. All of a sudden you need a break, to stretch or whatever—just something to get away.

You’ve become so antsy in your chair. You know you have to finish but for some reason you just can’t get your head back in the game.

So you continue to stare off into space. Hey, it was pretty entertaining the first time around.

Mom is not around anymore.

You’ve completely trailed off course. This is usually the point where your mother would intervene and get you back on course. But you’re a big kid now. Mommy isn’t around to make sure you finish your homework. You’ve got to get it all done yourself.

But what just happened? You got over what you thought was the biggest hurdle, starting, and now you can’t finish. You lost steam mid-task. Somewhere down the line you lost the motivation to see the task to the very end. At this point, you’re probably not too interested in completing it at all. You’re pretty much ready to quit.

But you know you have to get it done eventually. And you originally carved out the time to do it now. So somehow you have to do what your mom always did, but a little differently.

You’re going to see this task through by maintaining your own motivation. Long gone are the days when someone else motivated you. You’re on your own now kid. And this is how you’ll pull it off.

1. Be happy.

Kind of odd, I know. But think about how hard it is to do something when you’re miserable! You can’t tell a miserable person anything. So if you’re unhappy you’ll have your work cut out for you when it comes to getting anything done.

Regardless of how you feel at the moment there is a reason somewhere to be happy. Focus on that reason and the other wonderful things around you. The happier you are the more positive work you can do.

2. Expect mistakes.

By now you should know that they are a part of life. Of course you should minimize them whenever you can. But no one expects you to know every single thing at one time, so mistakes are going to happen.

And that’s perfectly fine, as long as you don’t use making a mistake as a reason to throw in the towel. Better yet, use your mistakes to your advantage.

3. Be present.

When you’re staring off into space you tend to think about everything except for what’s going on now. Worrying about the future or dwelling on the past isn’t going to help you one bit in the present. In fact, it’s taking you away from it. Regain control of your thoughts and focus on what you’re supposed to be doing now.

4. Clock it.

When you have to complete a task that is less than thrilling, determine how long it will take and clock yourself. This will make sure that you’re making the best of your time and reduce the allowance for distractions. There’s nothing like working against a deadline to kick your butt in gear.

5. Think about the results.

You do things for a reason. You take on a task because you want to get to the end result. Remember that.

Feeling less than motivated to continue? Remind yourself what it’s all about, why you’re doing it in the first place. Then, the motivation will come.

6. Reward yourself.

Remember when your coach would take the team out for ice cream after a win? You probably spent the whole game thinking about all the toppings you wanted to put on your cone. That’s what motivated you to hit that home run. Who cares about a trophy when you can have your own personalized ice cream cone!

You should continue to reward yourself the same way as you finish different tasks. But I wouldn’t recommend eating ice cream every single time you complete something.

7. Keep track.

When you don’t realize how much progress, you’ve made you can easily convince yourself that quitting is a fine choice. Think about how annoyed you’d be when you realized that you quit after you’ve done so much work and were almost done. Keeping track of your progress will motivate you to hit another milestone.

8. Consider the cost.

Not completing a task means giving up on something bigger. Ask yourself, if you gave up now, what would it cost you? Sometimes fear and pain are the most powerful motivators. They can compel you to begin again when nothing else works.

Look Mom!

Once you master these tips you’ll become a certified finisher. You’ll be able to get more done and be successful at whatever you take on. Nothing will get in your way. Make your mother proud!

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via

Set a Goal For Yourself

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