10 Strategies To Help You Stay Motivated In Your Career

It doesn’t matter whether you are currently in the middle of looking for a new career, or you are faced with a lack of motivation at work – it can affect all of us when we least expect it.

Staying motivated within your career can be a difficult task, especially when you feel weighed down by external pressures.

However, being motivated to advance in your career doesn’t have to be as difficult as it is often made out to be.

According to Forbes, motivation is something that is tied to our emotions.

This means that it is paramount when being productive and learning new skills – it is all within the mindset.

Because of this, there are steps you can take to become motivated.

In doing so, you can figure out exactly where you want to be in your working life.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at these 10 strategies to help you stay motivated in your career.

You might just be surprised at how easy it is.

10 Strategies To Help You Stay Motivated In Your Career

Start With Small Steps

Before you can think about the bigger goals within your career, it is always best to start with smaller steps.

To be even more specific, this means setting some SMART targets for you to achieve.

SMART targets (which stands for Specific, Measurable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) are a way for you to measure the progress that you are making, as well as to be accountable for any success that is achieved.

This means you can set realistic goals for yourself that help you to evaluate exactly what you are hoping to achieve.

You can also assess what you need to do to get to that specific goal.

Using the SMART targets method means that you cannot be vague with your set goal.

Doing so will only hinder this method.

Instead of saying something like “I want to become better at my job”, go for “I want to learn javascript to add more coding skills to my resume”.

You can then use the SMART targets to set realistic and attainable goals.

To do this, you will need to ask yourself the 5 Ws.

These are:

  • Who? (Specific) – who or what is involved when making this goal. Narrow things down to avoid being too vague. Being as specific as you can is always better.
  • What? (Measurable) – what is the goal you are wanting to accomplish? What evidence will you have that will ensure you are progressing with the goal? This is a step you will likely need to revisit as you go forward.
  • Where? (Attainable) – where will the location of the goal take place, and is it realistic? Is this goal something that you can achieve within your set time frame?
  • Why? (Relevant) – Why did you choose this particular goal, and does it line up with any long-term plans and objectives? How does this goal fit in with your future career?
  • When? (Time-Based) – What is the time frame that you will need to achieve this SMART goal? Set a date that will allow you to work on this target efficiently enough, without any stress. However, you need to make the time frame realistic, meaning you should give yourself time to achieve the goal. However, do not make it too far in the future, for example, a year.

Setting SMART targets is a great way to motivate yourself into achieving bigger goals.

It makes the bigger goal less intimidating, and it allows you to tick things off while feeling satisfied that you are achieving results.

Learn New Skills

If you have been doing the same job for years, it comes as no surprise that you have lost motivation when it comes to your career.

Learning a new skill is often something we do during our student years, or when we start a new job.

However, what is stopping you from learning a new skill right now?

Learning a new skill can easily bring some motivation back into your working life.

Not only will it change things up for you when it comes to your daily routine, but it will also stimulate your brain, as well as add something new to your resume.

There are two reasons to learn a new skill to help motivate you within your career.

Firstly, you can learn a whole new skill that doesn’t relate to your current career at all.

However, this isn’t just a hobby.

Learning a brand new skill gives you choices.

If you are looking to change your career entirely, then learning new skills may be for you.

While you might have the basics of this new career choice down to a T, there is nothing wrong with advancing on those skills to make sure you are a strong candidate for the job.

If you don’t end up changing your career, it may still give you extra oomph within your job.

You may find that you can use this new skill within the job you are in.

Secondly, you can learn new skills to upskill your current job.

If you are wanting to advance in your current career but have been lacking motivation, learning new skills to move up the ladder can do wonders.

This is because the lack of motivation may be to do with where you are in your job currently.

Upskilling yourself adds more skills to your resume which in turn will give you an advantage.

As you get better at what you do, you will become motivated to work harder and potentially move up the ranks.

There are plenty of E-learning websites that you can use while working.

This is because the lessons are able to be done in your own time.

Create A Big Goal For Yourself

Before you make a SMART target, you may want to create a big goal first.

This allows you to understand exactly where you want to be within your career.

A big goal can be something that you are looking to achieve within a year or even five years.

Perhaps it is getting to a certain position within your career, or having success with a particular project that you are working on.

Whatever it is, setting a goal is a great way to motivate yourself to work towards it.

Having a big goal set also means you can be vague with it too.

For example, you do not need to set the same SMART targets which are smaller, specific, digestible goals that will lead you to this bigger goal.

You do not need to go through the 5 Ws for this.

Positive Psychology says that setting career goals is linked to better self-esteem, more motivation, higher self-confidence, and more freedom with the way a person works.

Having personal goals is connected with being successful.

This is likely because you are paving the way to success by clearly setting out what you need to do, to get to the bigger goal that you would like to achieve in the future.

To make sure the bigger goal does not overwhelm you, write down the SMART targets as soon as you can.

You will find the bigger goal much more attainable, as well as manageable.

Not only that, you will become motivated due to seeing all the little successes unfold when you get to tick off the smaller goals.

This will help you along the way in making sure you stay focused on the bigger goal, and advance in your career.

Find A Mentor

If you work better when you have support, then you could try hiring a mentor.

Careers are a personal thing to every one of us, and a mentor can help you to succeed in yours.

Mentors (also known as coaches) can help you with a variety of things when it comes to your career.

They can help you to write your resume, find the best strategy for finding a particular job, and help you with transitioning to a different career.

They can also help you to understand how to grow within your career, all the way to interview preparation and setting goals.

The options are endless when it comes to hiring a mentor.

They are there to offer you advice via video chat or phone calls when you need it the most.

They will then support you with your career going forward and help you to make the best decisions possible.

Sometimes you need a helping hand from people who are professional and career-wise, rather than a family member, friend, or colleague.

While you should most definitely talk to someone you know, also think about hiring a mentor to help you in a professional capacity to keep you motivated.

You are less likely to give up on your goals when you have somebody there to help you along the way.

Reward Yourself For Your Achievements

According to Zippia, 37 percent of employees say that receiving recognition at work either by the company or their manager is a great way to keep them motivated.

While this should never be ignored and is positive, rewarding yourself for great work is a wonderful way to motivate yourself to complete tasks.

It also means that you can recognize when you have hit particular milestones within your career too.

Making sure to reward yourself during these times can help to boost your morale and motivation to work.

It can also keep you on track, as hitting targets and achievements helps you to know where you are at within your career.

Also, having the ability to reward yourself for even a little success can help you to stop comparing yourself to other people who are in the same industry.

Everyone works at their own pace and has a completely different life.

Enjoying your achievements keeps you grounded and confident.

Whether you decide to go all out and celebrate something, or just give it a little nod, just remember to celebrate hitting another goal that you set.

Let your hair down this weekend, or tell your mom about it – just remember to acknowledge that you are doing well.

If you need some help when it comes to celebrating your successes, big and small, here are some things you can do to reward yourself:

  • Go for a meal.
  • Buy a coffee.
  • Tell a friend or family member.
  • Play video games or enjoy another hobby.
  • Order takeout or make your favorite meal.
  • Watch a movie at the cinema.
  • Binge-watch a Netflix show all evening and don’t feel guilty about it.
  • Buy a concert ticket and treat a friend too.
  • Make a note of it inside a journal and give yourself gratitude.
  • Enjoy a trip to a local museum or art gallery.
  • Take a day trip somewhere you have wanted to visit for a while.

Track Your Progress

Once you have goals in place, you will want to begin tracking your progress.

Watching yourself tick off different goals and achievements is highly motivating, especially if you place the tracking somewhere that you see every day.

However, it isn’t just about seeing SMART goals come to fruition either.

This tracking system can also help you with daily tasks.

It will still have the same effect because you will be able to cross off chunks of to-do tasks that you have been able to complete within a good time frame.

Seeing that you are working efficiently every day can help to motivate you to work at your best within your career.

No doubt you will be spurred on to complete even the most mundane tasks because you will feel a sense of accomplishment once the tasks have been ticked off.

One of the ways you can track your progress at work is by creating a poster that has a bar on it.

This shows your progress which is filled in every time one of the goals you set has been completed.

The top of the progress bar will be the big goal that you are working towards.

You can also make basic to-do lists, which are helpful when you are looking to tick off daily tasks and weekly jobs.

This gives you short bursts of accomplishments that will help you to see how each task that is finished can make you feel more motivated to work.

You can also use online tools and software that have built-in task managers to allow you to track progress, mini-goals, big goals, and more, within one place.

This also keeps everything work related at work, as you can download this onto a work laptop if allowed.

Surround Yourself With Motivated People

Research states that sharing and surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals, and an opinion that matters to you, can help to motivate and strengthen your commitment to reaching a particular goal.

It is highly likely that if you surround yourself with other people who are also motivated to reach their own goals, then you can bounce off of each other and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

If you find that the people around you are negative, especially when it comes to the job that they are in, then this may rub onto you.

It may also leave you drained and feeling emotional.

Making sure the people around you are positive can have a huge impact on your health and your positivity.

You are more likely to discuss interesting ideas and future ambitions, but also be able to support each other when times get tough.

You may also work on some new and exciting things like projects, or even have the chance to start an interesting club that will give you time away from thinking about goals and work-related stuff – after all, it is healthy to have a break.

If you are struggling to find positive people to surround yourself with, you could also practice gratitude.

This is embracing what you already have at work.

It can be time-consuming to constantly think about where you want to be.

It can also make you forget to appreciate where you already are in your career.

Because of this, you may want to spend time thinking about the good things when it comes to your job, your coworkers, and even the company.

Having gratitude isn’t to make you stop wanting to advance in your career, but it helps to know that you have already made achievements in your life.

It will boost your motivation and allow you to take stock of where you are currently career-wise.

Visualize Where You Want To Be

As we grow up, we tend to visualize ourselves in several different dream jobs and scenarios.

The majority of us are not in the type of job we thought we were going to be in at eight years old – after all, it is often a job that is well out of our reach, like an astronaut or owning a unicorn farm.

While you can still dream of having wacky and crazy jobs, you still need to be able to visualize yourself in the job that you are wanting to work towards today.

If you can’t see yourself there, then there is a good chance that you are wasting your own time.

If you are looking to try a whole new career path, you may want to think about the location, the salary, the industry itself, and what your ideal situation is.

If you are having trouble thinking about yourself in this picture because it seems unrealistic to you, then it probably is.

Visualizing yourself in certain job roles can help you to understand why you want to be in a particular industry.

When it is the kind of career that you want, then this visualization will motivate you to get there.

Not only that but having this end goal visual is likely to remind you why you want to have this type of career in the first place, as well as think about the targets and goals that will get you there.

If you are currently looking to change your career, or want to get ahead in your current job, then creating a vision board is a great way to keep you motivated every single day.

Not only will it be fun to put together, but the vision board will be a constant reminder of where you want to be in your career.

You can also add your SMART goals and end goal to the board, making sure to tick things off as you achieve them.

Having a visual and constant reminder every day will keep you in good spirits and motivated to get the work done and on time.

Keep Updated With Industry Trends

Whether you are looking to start a new career or not, keeping up-to-date with the latest trends within your industry is key.

Things are changing at a faster rate than they ever have before, so keeping in the know means you can understand what is happening.

Being familiar with trends also means that you can make changes yourself too.

That could be needing to learn a new skill to keep up with demands, or making sure you can answer certain questions in a job interview.

Having this first-hand knowledge can set you apart from other employees too, as you will be able to bring fresh and inspiring ideas into the workplace.

This in turn may motivate you to do well at your job.

Another thing you can do is use social media to follow industry leaders within the field of your work.

You can use social media as a way to stay positive by listening to their talks, but also learning about new things that are happening.

You might even find that some of these industry leaders have done a Ted Talk too, which is likely to inspire you to stay motivated while working towards your goals.

Once you find these people to motivate you, remember to allow alerts so you can be notified every time they publish something new.

Plan For Imperfection

While you may have the means to be positive and want to strive further towards your goal every day, not everything always goes to plan – and that is absolutely normal.

You are probably already aware that life sometimes gets in the way, or maybe your goal didn’t work out the way it planned to.

Because of this, you will want to plan for imperfection.

If you are suddenly faced with something going wrong, it can easily knock you for six and cause you to lose motivation.

While this lack of motivation may last for a day or even a week, it is something that you will want to avoid.

When you create a goal, especially when it comes to SMART targets, create a list of what could potentially go wrong.

This could be:

  • Potential illness if you have a particular chronic disease.
  • Losing internet access.
  • Not receiving the funding that you had hoped for.
  • A Life commitment unexpectedly gets in the way.

And the list goes on.

We cannot plan for every potential thing that may go wrong, but we can think about what we can do when obstacles come our way.

Once you have written your list of potential issues, write plans down to combat them.

Not only will this make you feel more confident, but it will help you to stay focused and keep your momentum going.

If you don’t have a plan B and an obstacle does happen, then just remember that it is not the end of the world.

Goals can be revisited and changed, and should never be so rigid that they make you feel stressed.

Goals are there to keep you motivated, which means they do not have to be set in stone.

Not only does life sometimes get in the way of our plans, but sometimes bigger goals change too.

This means you may even change your career focus, and with that the SMART goals too – and that is absolutely fine.

You can also try the WOOP method.

This stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan.

The ‘Wish’ means to set a goal.

The ‘Outcome’ means to imagine what the achieved goal would feel like.

The ‘Obstacle’ means to plan what things may get in the way.

And then ‘Plan’ means how to overcome the identified obstacles to obtain the goal.


Being motivated within your career is important.

This is because it allows you to be in a positive mindset that will help you with achieving your goals.

If you lack motivation or have a negative mindset, then you are less likely to want to try and do your best at your job, or advance in your career.

When you have no real motivation to do your job, whether that is because you are looking for work within the same field, or you have been in the role for years, it can affect your outlook when it comes to your overall career.

Using the 10 strategies above can help you to stay motivated in your career to make sure that you achieve your goals – both big and small.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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