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How to Get Unstuck and Keep Motivated

Returning to work can be tough and it is easy to get stuck, particularly in the current environment.  It can feel like a drag to keep going – we want to bury our heads in the sand whilst feverishly wishing we would wake up and things would be different. If you’re feeling a bit stuck right now, whether that’s lacking motivation, feeling like you have too many hurdles to jump, that you don’t have enough time in your day or that you have no idea where to even start, let us help you get unstuck and motivate you to keep going.

Where are you right now? 

Wherever you are in your return to work plan you might be faced with a barrier. Whether that is knowing where to start, struggling to get your CV refreshed, finding the right job to apply for or working out who is in your network. Then you get stuck, so you leave it for a few days and then you have lost the energy to pick it up. Does that sound familiar?

Breaking Down your Barriers

Recognising the barriers that are impacting us and whether they are internal barriers (psychological) or external barriers (practical and tangible) is the first step.  Next, challenge those barriers to help you break them down. What one small step could you take to overcome them? On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you to take that step?  If it’s 8 or 9, great then go ahead and do it now.  If it’s 2 or 3, what is stopping you? What do you need to do to get to a 7-8?

Here is an example:

“I’m feeling really fed up, I’m struggling to find the time to focus on my job search and what’s the point I’m never going to be successful.”

My barriers are:

  1. Lacking motivation (internal)
  2. Lacking time (external)
  3. Negativity bias (internal)

The small steps can I take:

  1. Speak to someone positive who will help build my energy
  2. Read about other returners who have overcome barriers to help me feel more hopeful
  3. Revisit my plan and identify an achievable quick win

My scale of motivation to take these steps:

  1. I don’t want to speak to someone right now (so I’m a 2)
  2. I feel happy to read inspirational stories (I’d rate that an 8)
  3. That will give me the impetus to revisit my plan (now a 5 but could go up if I feel more hopeful)

Psychology of Motivation

Deciding to do nothing breeds doubt and fear, whereas taking action builds confidence and courage. When you achieve even the smallest of goals, your neurotransmitters kick in and you feel good. That helps build momentum and encourages you to keep going, gaining that sense of achievement. Taking time to celebrate these small wins, recognising you are one step closer, is important in maintaining your motivation.

Be Patient and Persistent

It is likely to take a while to secure a role following an extended career break, but don’t be discouraged. For some returners it can happen in a few months, for others it can easily be a year or more. Use the time wisely to refresh your skills and knowledge, continue to build your professional network , take steps to prepare for an interview or do some advance preparation for your return. If you need to take a break, allow yourself to do so. Just do not give up! Set yourself a timescale of a week or two and commit yourself to a date when you will come back to it.

Needing inspiration?

We recommend that you read our Library of wonderful Returners Success Stories to help you feel motivated and inspired. Role models are important. If you can see and read about return to work successes, it helps to believe that if they can do it, so can you!