When settling into a long-term career, staying focused and motivated is essential. However, when that motivation wavers, it can feel difficult to regain and maintain it.

To stay motivated in your career, it is important to understand what makes a work environment inspiring to you. By focusing on what aspects of your field of expertise drive you, you can optimize your experience in the workplace.

Motivation can be a tricky thing to deal with. In this article, I will discuss how you can stay motivated to achieve a prosperous career.

Understanding Motivation vs. Discipline

When it comes to a lack of motivation at work, many of us jump immediately to looking for the faults in our careers.

The reality is comparatively much more complex. Motivation is not an inherent emotion we feel automatically, but rather a desire to do something that feeds off of many other factors in our lives. If we are feeling down emotionally, our motivation levels can naturally end up dropping as well.

This is where discipline comes in.

Discipline is a person’s ability to do the work they need to do, regardless of their feelings towards it at any given moment. Due to how motivation can ebb and flow over time, discipline is an incredibly important skill to have to get us through moments of lower enthusiasm.

When you are feeling unmotivated at work, your mind may first jump to the conclusion that you no longer enjoy what you do. However, when you understand that it is perfectly normal for your motivation levels to fluctuate, it is easier to stay focused on your career knowing the motivation will return.

How to Stay Motivated in Your Career

Set Clear and Realistic Goals

One of the best ways to fuel both your motivation and discipline is to set optimistic and obtainable professional goals.

Giving yourself a set of goals to work towards means that even on your least enthusiastic days, you will still have an idea of what tasks need to be completed. Plus, you will also have a more long-term goal and big picture idea to strive for, making smaller tasks feel more meaningful and impactful.

While it is important to maintain a sense of optimism, it is also key to be realistic with yourself about what can be achieved within a given time period. For this reason, it may be useful to break your goals down into three separate categories:

  • Optimistic Goals: This is the height of what you believe can be achieved. For instance, if you are setting sales goals, your optimistic goals should outline the maximum amount of sales you expect to make during a set timeframe.
  • Setback Goals: These goals are what you hope to achieve even in the face of failure. Many factors within any career or business can result in setbacks. Planning accordingly for these ahead of time will make them far easier to deal with should they arise.
  • The Happy Medium: These are your most realistic goals, with their final objectives falling in the middle of your optimistic and setback goals. Your happy medium will account for both successes and failures, and will give you a more accurate and healthy vision for the future that makes maintaining motivation easier.

Define Your Ideal Work Environment

If you are experiencing a lack of motivation at work, but you love your line of work nonetheless, it may be that your current work environment is not well-suited for you.

As you search for the ideal position within your field, you need to take a personal inventory of what aspects of a business environment inspire and motivate you. For many, collaboration and supportive peers are key elements behind keeping up their enthusiasm for work.

For others, a more competitive work environment may help them to feel professionally energized.

It all comes down to your personal preferences and what you need from your peers and managers. By defining your ideal work environment, you will have a much smoother transition into a sustainable and motivating career.

Final Thoughts

Motivation will come and go throughout your professional career.

As such, it is crucially important to understand that there is more than just motivation to focus on. By practicing discipline, setting clear and realistic goals, and defining your ideal work environment, you will have a much simpler time regaining your motivation.