Everybody has goals. Maybe you want to run that half marathon coming up in six months, or you want to finish up your degree and go for a promotion. Whatever you are working towards it is important to continually take steps towards success and find ways to improve yourself along the way.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. You might reach an unexpected roadblock, or a task you need to complete might be much more difficult than you expected. When this happens, it’s easy to get discouraged, and lose your motivation. It’s so important that you don’t let this happen. Every step that you take towards reaching a goal doesn’t just get you closer to accomplishing something. It’s also a step towards self improvement.
If you are feeling like giving up, try a few of these motivational tips below:
1. Keep a jar of accomplishments
If you are active on social media, you have seen a post suggesting that people start a jar of blessings. The idea is that whenever something good happens, you write the blessing down and put it in a jar. Then, at the end of the year you open the jar and reflect on the blessings of the past year. This is a great idea, but why not start a jar of accomplishments as well?
Every time you accomplish something that is related to your goals and improving yourself, write that down and put it in a jar. However, in this case you don’t wait until the end of the year to review your accomplishments. Instead, look them over whenever you are feeling discouraged.
2. Find a support system of like minded people
Whatever you are trying to do to accomplish your goals, chances are there are other people doing the same. One thing that you can do to boost your motivation is to find these people and use them as a source of help and encouragement.
Of course, it goes without saying you should also reciprocate by being helpful and encouraging yourself. If you look online and in your community, you can probably find others who are trying to accomplish the same goals. If a group exists, join it. If it doesn’t, consider taking the steps required to create one.
“Surround yourself with people you can always learn something from. Always work with people that are better at their craft than you are.” –Tony Vincent
3. Set goals that allow you to see frequent progress
It can take over a year to train to run a half marathon. Finishing your college degree can take several years. If your only measurement of success is whether or not you achieve some big, final result, you may find it difficult to stay motivated.
This is why it is so important to set incremental goals within your bigger goals. If you want to make it to finishing your degree, you should take the time to celebrate each semester you successfully complete.
4. Always spend some of your time learning something new
One of the great things about self improvement is that one action taken to improve yourself tends to boost your motivation, and increase your chances of successfully achieving your other goals. Learning new things is a great way to do this.
You can take online classes or sign up for education classes at your local community center. All that matters is that you are constantly learning something new and that you study effectively. You should never lose motivation when it comes to learning new things.
5. Write it down as an affirmation
Take whatever you are trying to accomplish and write it down on a piece of paper. Then, figure out how to rewrite it as an affirmation. For example, if your goal is to finish your degree by the end of 2016.
You might write down “I want to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Human Services by December, 2016”. Then your affirmation would be “I will have my degree in Human Services by December, 2016”. The point is to write your goal, and then turn it into something that is a given.
6. Meditate and visualize
Many successful people give some of the credit for their accomplishments to the fact that they meditate. Why not join them? Meditation is easy to do, and it requires no special training or education to get started.
Simply find a quiet place, close your eyes, focus on breathing in slowly and breathing out slowly, and then visualize yourself successfully reaching your goals.
7. Take care of yourself
Sometimes, we spend so much time focusing on the work of meeting our goals that we overburden ourselves, and we end up burning out.
While it is very important to work very hard, it is also important to take of yourself in the meantime. This means getting enough sleep, leaving time to interact with loved ones, and engaging in hobbies and other activities that we enjoy.
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.” – Swami Vivekananda
8. Read motivational and inspirational books
If you want to stay motivated, read books that motivate and inspire you. These books could be inspirational biographies and autobiographies, self-help books, or even works of fiction that are uplifting to you.
Think about it. If you are like many people, you probably spend more than an hour each day watching television and surfing the internet. Why not dedicate 20 minutes each day to reading something that will keep you inspired?
9. Limit the time you spend with negative people
People who continually find fault, place blame, and nit pick are toxic. They sap the emotional energy of the people around them, and the unfortunate thing is that they don’t even realize it.
If you have somebody continually draining your emotional reserves, do whatever you can to limit the amount of time you spend with them. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you get back to feeling motivated and ready to tackle your goals.
10. Be a source of positive energy for other people
When it comes to motivation and inspiration, you really do get what you give. So, be encouraging when others tell you about their goals, and curb your own tendencies to complain or be a downer.
When you do this, you create positive energy within your inner circle. That uplifts everybody including you.
Which motivation tip helps you get motivated? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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