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7 Steps On How To Stay Motivated For The Long Haul

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There is excitement as we make a decision to do something big – help the homeless, start a business, run a marathon. But all too often these big dreams fall to the wayside. How do we keep the motivation to see a big goal through to the end?

Some people have called me “goal driven” because I persevere on projects that may take months or even years to accomplish. So I got thinking, what is it that helps me to keep going day after day while the end goal is still out of sight? Perhaps my experience can help other people to persist on their goals.

Here are the seven steps to help you stay motivated and stick to a big project:

1Make sure you have control over your goal

When you formulate your goal make sure that it is something under your power to achieve. For example, say “Apply to three graduate schools”, as opposed to saying “Get accepted to graduate school”. When your goal is stated as something that is under your control you are more likely to think of ways to make it happen.

“Everybody has goals, aspirations or whatever, and everybody has been at a point in their life where nobody believed in them.” – Eminem

2. Find subgoals that can be accomplished in 4 hours or less

It can be daunting to look at the big goal. You don’t know where to start. So first make a list of the steps that are required to accomplish a big goal. For example, the goal of writing an app can be broken down into large steps of design, coding, testing, submission, and marketing.

Each day I look at the step that I am working on and choose a small goal that should take four hours or less to achieve. By concentrating on the small goal I can stay focused and not worry about everything else that needs to be done. And, each time I accomplish the small goal I feel good about myself.

I chose four hours as the magic number because frequently tasks have a habit of expanding. Often a four hour goal turns into a three day goal, but that is still a short enough time horizon that I can keep the end in sight.

 

3. Each morning write down the single most important thing to do that day

It really helps me to have the goal for that day in writing.  Then, if I wander off topic, as I sometimes do, I can look at it and pull myself back on course. I know that if I do enough of the mini 4-hour goals that eventually I will accomplish something significant toward my big goal, so I don’t need to think about the big goal that day.

 

4. Live the dream

I can’t postpone good feelings until I have achieved the final result. What I am actually doing each day has to be the life that I want. If it isn’t, I have picked the wrong goal. For example, you will never achieve a goal of running a marathon if you detest having to run three or four times a week.

Having mini goals helps me to live the dream. Every day or two I am celebrating some small milestone that I have reached. When I reach a major milestone I generally take a day off and go do something fun to celebrate.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

5. Take breaks for planning

Since I work towards a series of mini goals I need to have confidence that they are adding up to the intended target. Every now and then, perhaps every couple of months, I take time off from achieving a mini goal that day, and instead spend the day on planning. I consider whether there is a major step that I may have missed, and if so, add that to my list. I think about the major step that I am working on, and whether the activities I have been doing are actually bringing me closer to that goal.

If it feels helpful, I make a list of sub-tasks for the major steps. I like to get these things down on paper so that when I am working on a mini goal I am not constantly sidetracked by trying to think about other steps. Doing this planning step allows me to get it all out of my mind so that I can focus.

 

6. Decide where and when you are going to do your work

Studies have shown that if you decide on where and when you will do something that you are more likely to do it. I sit down each morning after breakfast at my computer and write down my goal for that day. That helps me to get started, and once I am started I generally find it easy to continue.

 

7. Don’t give up

Everybody has bad days, and some things take time to become fun. For example, the first time a person runs can hardly be called fun. It is difficult and tiring and sweaty. But after a couple of weeks, as your body toughens up, it can actually be exhilarating.

So hang in there when things are tough. Face the fact that it is no fun, but do it anyway. You should be back on track in a few days.

What can you do today to take a small step toward your big goal? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Susan de Jong is an app entrepreneur who loves to write software. Her apps include Lucidate, a brainstorming app that helps you explore your innermost thoughts, and Insight Personality Tests, a fun and motivational app. Download the apps today for free.

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How Your Psychological Blind Spots Keep You Stuck in Life

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Sometimes, life doesn’t seem to make any sense. Albert Einstein once said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Here’s the funny thing. We will say that line about someone else, have a good chuckle, and then DO THE SAME THING OURSELVES! This time, it’s not that funny, is it? I know. I’ve done it myself. (more…)

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3 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself and Live an Optimized Life

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The secret to happiness lies in the way you live your life. People think of happiness as some destination they’ll reach when they’ve accomplished the hundred things on their life to-do list. Happiness is often associated with money, material possessions, or even great relationships. (more…)

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These 7 Daily Resolutions Can Change Your Life

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We all strive to be better every day. Most of us want a new day to bring something new, and we plan for it as well. Of course, the execution is debatable as procrastination is real and it becomes an overwhelming feeling at times. Also, not to forget the customary practice of making resolutions on new year’s eve!  All of us are fascinated by the thought of preparing long lists of resolves to mark the beginning of a new year. Not sure how many people are able to translate these resolutions into functional realities. (more…)

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4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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