At its essence, motivation is the desire or willingness for a person to do things.

This definition might come across as simplistic, but motivation is a crucial element in both setting and achieving goals.

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Let’s face it, it’s easy to stay motivated at your job when your career is taking off and your company is running smoothly. However, there will be ebbs and flows of profitability and productivity that can negatively affect your motivation.

I spoke with Harold “Skip” Bird, principal of S2 Capital, who has been in the commercial real estate business since 1985. While Skip has made a name for himself as a trusted professional in his industry, he has also experienced the rise and fall of his own motivation over the years.

“It’s easy to lose sight of your goals when you are no longer professionally motivated,” said Bird. “While it is challenging to pull yourself out of any slump, professionals can emerge as better employees if they continually remind themselves of what they originally sought to achieve.”

Here are three tips that will help maintain motivation in the workplace:

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1. Make your goals visible and celebrate small wins

A study conducted by Gail Matthews at Dominican University researched the value of writing down your goals and sharing them with a trusted source. Along with sharing or displaying your aspirations, ensure that your goals have an achievable time frame as well as measurable details so you know exactly when you’ve achieved them.

Goal setting may come naturally to some professionals, while others may view it as a very challenging task. Despite how big (or small) a goal might seem, professionals who lack motivation need to celebrate small successes in order to continue working toward an end goal. Even if things don’t go as planned or are more difficult than originally anticipated, displaying your goals somewhere nearby or asking a friend to hold you accountable will guarantee that they are always top-of-mind.

2. Seek out mentors who will inspire you

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? If you are experiencing a lack of inspiration, find other colleagues, friends, or acquaintances that inspire you.

If you are having a hard time finding a mentor that you can confide in, don’t be afraid to get in touch with the people you admire and ask for mentorship. These individuals will almost always respect your enthusiasm and desire to learn from them, and the mentorship experience will benefit them as well.

Once you begin to identify and spend time with positive, determined individuals, you will begin to mimic their behaviors. You can also tap their personal knowledge for actionable tactics to push yourself and your team through a difficult time.

Not only will a mentor be genuinely concerned about your success, mentors also offer direct constructive feedback. Mentors will hold you to higher standards — they will congratulate you when you meet their expectations and will correct you when you fail to do so.

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3. Avoid debt at all costs

If you feel yourself losing the desire to go above and beyond in the professional realm, collecting debt will only inhibit you from reaching your full professional potential. If you already have debt, remember that paying off debt is a marathon, not a sprint.

A recent article from the Huffington Post revealed three behaviors that inevitably lead to more wealth. One of these behaviors is to stay frugal, which also aligns with Skip’s philosophy of cutting down on expenses to stay on track with your goals.

“There have been several times in my career that the commercial real estate marketplace was crumbling, and I was put in a position where I needed to make money — and needed to make it fast,” says Bird. “It was during this time that I learned the importance of not overspending while honing in on my professional skillset to ensure that any short-term satisfaction of excessiveness would not impede my long-term goals.”

Professionals will experience highs and lows throughout their careers, but staying determined when everything seems to be falling apart and motivation is low is a continual journey. Some downturns will be easier to overcome, but these tips will help you persevere and maintain motivation both in and out of the workplace.

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