How to Stay Motivated When Things Are Taking WAY MuchLonger than You Thought They Would
Have you ever wanted something so badly and no matter what you did, it seemed like it was never going to happen? You started with lots of hope and optimism. You felt so good about this thing and yet as time goes by, you begin to lose hope that this thing that you want will ever happen. You may wonder how to stay motivated when things are going way slower than you thought they would?
You thought it would take a month and it’s been over a year. You thought it would take a year and now you’re in year two. You might have even thought it would take a couple of years but here it is waaaaayyyy past that.
There are so many things we want that take WAY longer to get or achieve than we initially think they will.
The Things We Want
It takes longer to lose weight, get in shape, find a job, make more money, find a partner, fall in love, have children, write a book, or pretty much anything you can think of.
It can take so long to get what we want. When we look around though, it seems like everyone else is crushing it. Are we doing something wrong? Or maybe we’re just a loser?
In the period of time between wanting and having, it can feel like what we want is NEVER going to happen. Ever. And maybe we should thing about giving up.
Except how can we give up when we really really want this thing?
When Things Weren’t Happening for Me
I wrote a post called How to Get Unstuck in Life back in June of 2016. I wrote about a time, following my divorce when I just got completely stuck and how I slowly moved out of that into completing a big project.
Since that time, I have had to use this easy method to get stuff done over and over. But it often seemed like I was still stuck in some areas. It seemed like some things just weren’t happening.
When I wrote Unstuck, I didn’t have a job and I was living in a new place without a circle of friends or a romantic interest. It was lonely and frustrating for quite a while. Looking back this was when I begin writing and delving into things that were important to me. Eventually, I quit focusing on finding a job or a boyfriend.
I focused on writing and growing my blog. As a reader, you may know that I focus on self-growth, nutrition, and fitness. One thing I never quit was trying to live my best life. To do this I continually look for what works. I look for shifts in thinking that allow me to live better and get better results.
Of course, when I finally quit looking both boyfriend and job dropped into my life without any effort on my part. The pieces that seemed to be missing in my life eventually appeared and fell into place.
It Took a While
Here’s the thing. This process took a full three years. Three years of not giving up and three years of being terrified that I was so off track that I’d never get back on.
I don’t want to paint it as three years of all gloom and doom. It wasn’t all that. I saw both my beautiful daughters married to their long-time boyfriends. We welcomed a beautiful granddaughter into our lives. I grew closer to my mom and sister. I started a blog that I love. I’ve made new friends and grown closer to old ones. I grew comfortable with my body and comfortable in my own skin.
There was a lot of growth and good in those three years. Yet a job and romance eluded me. I even began to think maybe it was selfish of me to want more.
However, I am a strong believer that our true desires are there for a reason. It’s okay to want what we want. Yet life doesn’t always hand those out on our timeline. I have no idea why some things come easily and some things don’t.
Anyway, some things take time. Some things take a lot of time. When they take a lot longer than we want, it can be difficult to stay the course. Yet there are ways to stay on-track to what you want—even when it feels like nothing is happening. Here is how to stay motivated when things are taking a long time to manifest.
#1 Concentrate on What is Going Right
It can be really easy to focus on what is going wrong or not going like what we want. Yet, if we look at what is actually going on there is quite a bit going right. Focus on the positive even if it’s not directly associated with that thing you want. Good vibes are good vibes!
Looking at what’s not working feels bad. Looking at what is going right feels good. Think more thoughts that feel good! When you feel good and optimistic you are in a better place to see solutions and opportunities around you.
#2 Connect, Connect, Connect
You never know where your good thing is going to come from. Connecting with others is always beneficial. Call people you haven’t talked to for a while. Smile at people in the coffee shop. Compliment people. Offer to help someone. Invite friends over. Set up a coffee or lunch date. Cook dinner for someone. Invite someone to go for a walk.
Things, situations, and people come to us through other people. Sure, it’s tempting to just want to give up or hide away when things aren’t going our way. Yet, it is other people who are the conduits to the things we want to most.
I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve mentioned something to someone in passing and they either have the solution, know someone that can help, or have the very thing I need just laying around.
#3 Become the Person That Aligns with What You Want
Sometimes, we aren’t really at the place where our good can happen. This is the time to make incremental changes to align ourselves with what we want. Looking for a new job? Are there skills you need to learn or sharpen? Want to lose weight but your pantry is still stocked with junk? Want more friends but you aren’t getting out and about? When things aren’t quite happening—what can you do to be a better match for them?
#4 Find the Funny in Your Situation
I don’t know how many times I had to laugh about my situation. Sometimes I laughed and cried at the same time. Keeping a sense of humor is essential because it helps keep you a little more upbeat and positive. I ran across a blog called, No Bad Dates, Just Good Stories. I used that mantra for two years! If I had only been complaining about my situation, I’m sure people would have began avoiding me. Instead, because I turned my experiences into funny stories, friends and family enjoyed seeing me and hearing the latest installment of my adventures. It definitely helped the time go by.
#5 Accept the Right Thing in the “Wrong” Package
I had a vision of what I wanted in terms of job and boyfriend. Neither came in the package I was expecting. I was so tempted to say no because of this. However, I decided to stay open to the idea that what was best for me, might not look exactly like I was expecting.
My job is in a location I wasn’t looking at and the boyfriend is pretty much opposite of everything on my list. Yet, each is just perfect in their own way for me.
I hear stories of people getting exactly what they have envisioned. That’s cool too. However, that wasn’t my experience and that’s okay too.
Finally, Just Don’t Give Up
Many things feel like failure until they aren’t. We just don’t know exactly when what we want will show up. I’ve met people who have totally given up on certain things. In some ways that may feel safer or better than actually wanting something.
I do believe that we have a right to want what we want. It doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate what I have or that I’ll be miserable until I get that thing. It simply means there is something out there that could add to my life and I’m willing to do my best to not give up until it’s been realized.
As, always, keep showing up! That thing you want IS going to happen.
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.