#208: 7 Strategies to Stay Motivated (Even When You Don’t See Progress)

Jun 16, 2021 | Advanced Vocabulary, Business Professional English, English Conversation, Motivation to Practice

Does this sound familiar to you:

You start a new English class and you think: YES! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. 

And it is. You have strategies that work. A community you love. And you’re finally making progress.

But then life happens.

You get tired. Your schedule gets busy.

You’ve got deadlines at work.

After the first big steps, your progress starts to slow. You begin to doubt your efforts. 

And slowly, slowly, slowly, you start to give up.


How do you stay motivated when this happens? How do you make the choice to keep going?

If you’re not sure, I’m ready to help!

In today’s Confident English lesson, you’ll get 7 strategies to stay motivated — even when you don’t see (or hear or feel) progress.

7 Strategies to Stay Motivated (Even When You Don’t See Progress)


How do you stay motivated or how do you make the choice to keep going, even if you don’t see any progress happening?

This is one of the biggest challenges that we have as language learners.

If we’re on a personal journey of learning a new skill, or we have some big goal that we’re working toward in any of those situations, I think most of us follow a similar path:

We start with a hopeful possibility. This is the moment when you say maybe I can finally, for example, maybe I can finally really become a confident English speaker or maybe I can finally learn to draw. I’ve always wanted to do that. Maybe I can finally train and run a marathon. It’s been a lifelong dream.

We make that choice to do something we’ve always wanted. And we’re hopeful about it. Usually, that hopeful beginning is also connected to some immediate opportunity.

There is an online course that you join, or you joined the gym, you begin a training program and you have all this excited energy motivation, you think, oh my gosh, this is amazing. I can’t believe I’m doing it.

And then… you hit a wall.

You don’t see the progress that you thought you would see, or you don’t feel it. You don’t hear it.

So again, how do you stay motivated? How do you make the choice to keep going? Even when you don’t see progress.

If you don’t already know, I’m Annemarie with Speak Confident English, this is where you want to be every week to get the confidence you want for your life and work in English.

In this lesson today, we’re going to talk about seven effective strategies that you can use to help you keep that motivation so that you don’t give up on the thing that you want. You don’t stop too soon.

Before we get into seven strategies you can use to help you keep your motivation, even when you don’t see progress, it’s important to know that when you hit that wall…

That moment, when all your motivation disappears, you’re feeling stuck or frustrated, you always have a choice.

It’s not an easy one to make. Unfortunately, progress doesn’t follow our path. It makes its own decisions and it shows up when we don’t always expect it. Sometimes it’s even invisible.

So when you don’t see it, you have a choice to make. You can either believe that it’s there and continue working towards your goals, or you can give up. It’s that simple.

My goal for you today is to help you make that choice of believing that progress is there so that you don’t give up too soon and you achieve what you want in English.

We have a fantastic idiom for this particular moment.

When you want to break that cycle of feeling demotivated, you need to take the bull by its horns, and here are seven different strategies you can choose from to help you do that.

Strategy number one is to remember why you started.

All of my Fluency School students will definitely be familiar with this concept of understanding why a particular goal or why a particular skill is important to you.

There is a reason that you started on a particular journey or started working toward gaining a new skill. Why did you do it? Was it personal satisfaction was an opportunity for career growth or was it something that you just wanted to do for fun?

Sometimes when we get into the weeds and we lose sight of our progress, we forget why we started in the first place. Going back to that idea can help us get that motivation back.

So if you’re feeling a bit demotivated, pause for a moment and think about why you started. Why is it important for you to keep going?

 Strategy two, take time to reflect.

Inside you know that results take time. We all know this truth, but we still want things to happen now or yesterday. Think for a moment about planting a seed in the ground and going back every hour to check. Is there a flower there yet? Is there a flower there yet?

That’s a painstaking process and we all know not to do that. We know that a flower doesn’t grow in one hour.

We also know there are things happening underground that we don’t see, but they will result in that ultimate thing that we want or a beautiful flower.

Now, having said that we do check regularly on the things that we plant. And over time we begin to see those changes.

We see something sprout above ground and it begins to grow taller and we start to see leaves open up.

We can see all of that in our progress as well. When we document it. I am a huge proponent of having some kind of a progress journal or a habit tracker. These are all things that I provide to my students because I really believe in writing down your progress over time.

If you’ve been charting your progress on those days, that you feel very unmotivated and think you want to give up, nothing’s changing, you can go back and see what has happened over time. And that is a huge motivation boost.

If you’ve never started a progress journal or a habit tracker, I have an example of one that you can download several months ago. I shared a lesson that included a free 30 vocabulary-building habit tracker.

You can use that as a way for you to get started in tracking your own progress strategy.

Number three, for keeping your motivation, even when you don’t see progress is to renew and reconnect.

What I mean by renew is look for opportunities that renew or revive, the passion that you had for that particular goal. You may find a new class, a new webinar, a book, a YouTube video, anything under the sun that could help you revive that initial excitement that you had.

Sometimes we just need something new, a different approach or a different outlook to help us get back on track.

In that process, you can look for opportunities to reconnect with others who have your same goal. Look for a community that has similar struggles or is in a similar place that you are and connect with them. (Like the Confident Women Community.)

Not only can that help revive some of your motivation, but it can also keep you accountable so that you don’t give up strategy.

Number four, reorganize and redevelop.

Sometimes life gets in the way of what we want. We start to get busy and we no longer have the time we want or the time we thought we needed to continue taking steps toward our goal.

So in that moment, we want to reorganize our priorities or reorganize our schedule that might include committing to shorter periods of time. And that’s okay.

A few weeks ago, I did a lesson on how to use podcasts to help you improve your listening skills. Maybe for several weeks, you were really motivated and you spent one hour, four days a week doing that. And over time life started to get in the way,

If that happens, reorganize your schedule. Rather than spend one hour at a time, maybe you spend 10 or 15 minutes listening to the podcast in the morning and you come back to it for 15 or 20 minutes in the evening. That’s perfectly appropriate rather than totally give up on your goals.

It’s much easier to make small adjustments to your schedule so that you can keep taking steps forward while you’re reorganizing your routine. You can also redevelop your strategies.

Strategy number five on our list for how to keep motivation is a fun one. Reward yourself.

Every time you check a box or you review your progress journal, and you know that you’ve made progress, celebrate it no matter how big or how small it is.

This is something that is extremely important to all of us that Speak Confident English. In fact, it’s one of our values as a company. We celebrate every success and we don’t believe that there are big and small successes.

Every step forward is a success.

Now, when it comes to how you reward yourself, that is your choice. And only you can decide what is meaningful to you.

Strategy number six, redefine your measure of success.

This is something I actually did just last week when I realized that I had a measure of success that was totally impossible.

Let me give you an example. You might think that having confidence in English means that you never feel fear speaking English, but that’s not true. Having confidence means that you know how to deal with that fear and that you’re able to continue despite feeling fear.

You might think that being fluent in English means that you’re never going to make a mistake or feel stuck. But again, that’s not true. English fluency means being able to communicate clearly and staying in control so that you can express yourself.

Even if you make a mistake or even in those moments that you get stuck, you can always find a way forward.

In those examples. I’m redefining the measure of success. Success isn’t about never feeling fear in English. It’s about knowing how to go forward. Even when you have that fear and believing that you can.

When we redefine what success is, what it looks like, we begin to have a clearer picture of how we can continue to move forward. And it helps us get that motivation back.

And finally, strategy number seven on our list today for how to keep your motivation is believe that progress is happening, even if you don’t see it.

I know that doesn’t sound important and it sounds incredibly over-simplistic, but the truth is it’s impossible to not make progress when you do something every day toward your goal. Even if it’s five minutes, progress is happening, but remember progress follows its own path.

Sometimes it’s invisible and it usually arrives when we don’t expect it.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t be strategic about what we do. We should always be strategic about how we practice and what we do to ensure that we are being efficient and effective.

That’s why it’s so helpful to learn with others, to have a community, to join a class, or read a book. Those things help us have a clear picture of how to move forward in the most effective way.

But at the end of the day, if you are committing to practicing regularly, you’re making progress and you have to believe that’s true.

So now I want to go back to that question I asked you at the beginning, how do you stay motivated? How do make the choice to keep going? Even when you don’t see progress happening? I would love to know your answer to that question.

Do you have a strategy or a technique that you used that has helped you keep your motivation in the past? If you do, I would love to hear about it, and I want you to share it with me in the comments below the video.

If you don’t have a strategy, then I encourage you to choose one of the strategies I shared here today. Share with me which strategy you’re going to use to help you stay committed to your English, fluency and confidence goals.

As always, if you found this lesson useful to you, you can tell me in one simple way, give this lesson a thumbs up here on YouTube. And while you’re at it, make sure that you subscribe to the Speak Confident English channel so you never miss one of my Confident English lessons.

Thank you so much for joining me. And I look forward to seeing you next time.

I’d love to hear from you! And I have 2 questions for you to consider:

1. What aha moment or insight did you have while watching this video? Share it with me below. 

2. Do you have a go-to strategy you use to stay motivated? If you do, tell me about it in the comments below. Your strategy might be exactly what someone else in the Confident English Community needs to hear.

And if you know someone else who would love some must-have English phrases for online meetings, be sure to share this lesson with them. You can email it directly or share it on social media.

Have a fantastic Confident English Wednesday!

~ Annemarie


P.S. Are you looking for a community to provide support, help you stay motivated, and guarantee that you grow? Check out our Confident Women Community

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