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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.

Life

Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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​​4 Boss Level Growth Strategies That Create an Optimized Life

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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Life

Practicing Self-Devotion: 3 Ways Towards a More Mindful and Compassionate You

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I can still hear the voices of my older relatives and my elementary school teachers telling me “be disciplined”, “keep at it”, to give time and energy towards what we want. As a young, impressionable child, I believed all those things because well, they made sense. They worked. And honestly, I felt like it’s the only way to flourish. (more…)

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