How to Turn Stagnation into Motivation

Lisa Nichols offers five tips for rebounding from derailed dreams

Lisa Nichols

It’s been almost two years since you built your vision board and everything seemed to be on track. You were making progress—until about six months ago. It’s not that you’ve regressed, it’s that you haven’t made any moves at all.

Even with goals and an actionable plan, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’ve hit a wall somewhere along your journey. “Often, when you feel that you are not making progress, it’s really that you’re not making progress as fast as you would like,” says Lisa Nichols, motivational speaker, life coach, and self-proclaimed “breakthrough specialist.” As one of the featured panelists at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo in Atlanta later this month, she’ll be helping business leaders shape their own visions. But check out what she had to say about pushing forward a dream deferred.

How do you stay motivated when you’re executing your vision but you feel like you’re getting nowhere?

You should take a moment and, instead of making another “to do” list, stop and celebrate. Make a list of everything related to your project that you have already completed. You will surprise yourself with what has already been accomplished. Now that you have gotten your feet wet, revisit your strategy and your original timeline. Be open to making necessary adjustments. Make sure that it is doable and realistic.

How often should you revise your goals and strategy – versus sticking with the plan – if you are not getting the desired results?
You should be committed to keeping your goal in mold and your plan in sand. Stay focused on what it is that you want to achieve and remain flexible on how you might get there. If your current plan isn’t working, you may have to make the hard decision of changing directions, adjusting your timeline, even changing partners. Be more committed to the outcome than you are to how you get there.

At what point should you realize that your dream is unrealistic or unattainable?

If going after your dream brings you more hardship than joy or more pain than pleasure, give yourself permission to recreate your vision. While your dream, as it is, may be unrealistic, your dream, modified, could very well be doable.

What is the biggest obstacle that stops people who have goals and an actionable plan from achieving success?
Their limiting beliefs about what they’re worthy to achieve. They’re more consumed by the negative chatter in their head than they are inspired by the dream in their heart. When you are going through difficult times, the one thing that will keep you going is hope. Inspiration never grows old and it doesn’t become outdated. It’s applicable to everyone at any stage of their journey.

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