At Intentionally Inspirational we talk a whole lot about motivation. Last week Jason shared with us that there is no “prepackaged” formula for motivation. If you haven’t read that post you should, go back and check it out here.

Once you have examined your focus and set milestone goals for yourself by working backward from your ultimate goal, what then? I’m glad you asked.

I’ve heard it said that you will never always be motivated but should learn instead to be disciplined. Motivation is really a mood if you think about it. And moods can come or go. You can do things to boost that “mood” and stay productive, but ultimately, you will never arrive at a point where you feel motivated to keep going all the time. We all have down days. That isn’t really the point though is it? The point is how to keep going on those days.

So how do you go about being disciplined when motivation just isn’t there?

That’s the real question we all have. How do we keep going when we don’t feel like it? If you have adjusted your focus, made a plan, set those milestones, and still aren’t feeling it, what do you do? Well…You just do. You keep going. At some point, it boils down to just doing the next task on the list. Here’s how:

Once you have your big-picture focused goals laid out, and you have listed the milestones that need to happen to get there, go an extra step and plot those milestones on the calendar. Having goals and milestones will go a long way to helping you get motivated and keep you going. But what about that week your kids are sick and life turns upside down? It’s easy to end up on the slippery slope of procrastination. Taking a day off is fine, the problem is you may accidentally end up taking a week, then two, then more off. Putting self-imposed deadlines on your self-chosen goals helps stave off that desire to just let things slide.

Be consistent. Set weekly and/or monthly tasks that repeat. These tasks are predictable, allowing you to work ahead when you can, and avoid getting backed up. Plus, as you tick things off of your list, you will get a better sense of when you will reach your goal. Be realistic, and adjust your calendar as you go.

Motivation is fickle. It has a habit of disappearing when you need it and reappearing when you are finally doing well. I’ve noticed that there is a burst of motivation at the beginning of every project, a lull period right after that (which many don’t survive), and then a momentum-gaining period that ultimately rockets your project/business.

You’ll find as those milestones start ending up in the rear-view mirror, your motivation will suddenly appear again. This is the fun part you are looking for if you are still reading this post. Everyone wants to feel the momentum. But that doesn’t happen until your motivation has disappeared, and discipline makes an appearance.

So, next time you find yourself lacking motivation, looking at a list of goals you don’t know how to achieve, zoom in on a single task. Take on that task, and walk away for the day. The next day, do the same. You are laying a road one brick at a time. At first, it just looks like a couple useless bricks. But if you invest the effort to keep adding to it, one day you’ll have that brick road to your goal fully paved.

Written by Emily Dominguez