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3 Enemies of Motivation

Or 3 friends of demotivation, if you prefer

Photo by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash

One of the hardest and most rewarding goals I’ve achieved in 36 years is learning English in my adulthood. When I talk about this on podcasts, I often get asked, “How did you stay motivated to achieve your goal?”

Three things helped me:

Knowing where the finish line was

I wanted to become a teacher of English. I thought that reaching a point where I could confidently walk into a class full of people waiting for me to teach them English would be the indication that I had become a proficient speaker of my second language. Having a clear idea of where the journey ends helps you get there.

Noticing progress

Realising I could express myself better than 3 months before was a signal I was improving. “It’s working! I’m doing well!” Deliberately noticing progress helps you make more progress. 

Realising I still had a lot to learn

Hearing myself talk and realising I couldn’t express my ideas like I wanted to meant there was more learning to do. And I enjoyed learning. Question: if you’re enjoying a TV series, would you want it to finish as soon as possible? No, you want more episodes. The same goes for doing anything: if you’re enjoying what you’re doing, knowing there’s more to do makes you want to do more. Obstacles become exciting challenges, and seeing obstacles as interesting challenges motivates you to keep playing.

Whatever goal you’re trying to achieve, if you feel demotivated it might be because of one of these reasons:

  1. You don’t know where you’re going.
  2. You’re not making or noticing progress.
  3. You’re not enjoying what you’re doing and, consequently, take obstacles too seriously.

Fabio Cerpelloni is an English language teacher, writer, author, and podcaster from Italy. You can find out more about him and his work by clicking on his glass of beer in the photo.