Let’s be honest, life is a constant roller coaster of emotions. One day you’re conquering the world and the next you may be curled up in your room on a rainy day. In startups things can be even more rocky. With so much uncertainty and very little instant gratification, startups are not for the faint of heart. So how do you stay motivated throughout all this? What can you do when times get tough?

Here’s how you can stay motivated when everything seems to be falling apart around you.

Highlight and Share Your Goals

According to a study, researchersĀ found tremendous value in writing down and sharing your goals with others. In fact they found that about 70% of participants who sent in weekly updates to friends reported they successfully achieved their goals. If you keep your goals to yourself research shows you actually have less of a chance to achieve them.

In addition to this you should also think about restructuring your goals to make a few more attainable. I’m not saying you should sell yourself short but rather create a new milestone that you can achieve in the near future. That way you’ll keep morale high without jeopardizing your long term goals.

Build Your Support System

I know it’s often discouraging to seek help from those around you when times are tough. You want others to think you’re strong and have everything under control. Whether you need to borrow money, advice, or just a pep-talk you should always build out your support system.

If possible you should try to find a few mentors that you can constantly turn to for advice. They don’t always need to be business professionals either. I have plenty of mentors and each serves as a valuable resource for me when times get tough.

Take a Breather

When we hit a roadblock it’s common for us to work twice as hard to get it resolved. While this may seem like the right solution sometimes we just need to take a break and refocus our efforts. If we try to resolve an issue right away we’re often focused on the wrong things. Once you’ve removed yourself from the situation you allow yourself to think in a much clearer light.

Know When to Cut Your Losses

The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting different results. Sometimes we just need to “take it behind the barn”. I’m not saying you should give up on your dreams when times get tough but rather you need to always evaluate your situation without emotion.

The more time you spend on a project or task that has no end-game the more of a hole you’ll dig yourself into. Ask yourself if you truly see value in what you’re doing. If you can’t find a definitive answer it may be time to cut your losses.

Always Put One Foot in Front of the Other

If you’re in a slump one of the worst things you can do is stay stagnant. Sure it’s okay to be upset for a few days but when days turn to weeks you’re in trouble. You need to remember to always keep things moving in a positive direction.

When I’ve been at my lowest point I always reference my vision board to “find the light”. Then immediately block out times on my calendar with actionable steps to get closer to those goals. It may sound corny but it’s helped me almost every time i’ve been down.

Final Thoughts

When (stuff) hits the fan it’s really tough to stay motivated. As I mentioned above it’s always okay to be upset for a day or two. However once you have your moment you need to get back up on that horse. If you’re going through some tough times use the five strategies above to stay motivated and get after it!