This was your year. You were ready.
You had big ideas and a life to-do list you couldn’t wait tackle.
Well, it’s been a while now since the happy glow of new year’s resolutions and personal goal planning. How’s it going?
Not so long ago you promised yourself you wouldn’t forget or set aside your goals again.
Then old habits and distractions happened… again.
The lists you wrote, the mission statement you crafted, the fire in your belly faded… by Valentine’s day.
Why is motivation so hard to come by?
When it comes to self motivation, time tends to eat away at our resolve and enthusiasm with diversions, unexpected life events, and everyday responsibilities. Is it possible to keep enough motivational pressure on yourself to accomplish your goals?
Of course! Your life to do list is entirely doable. Forget about seasonal resolutions and past failures. Today is a new day. Focus on these 7 ways to motivate yourself to accomplish your goals:
1. Kill ambiguity.
Clear direction is key to pursuing a goal. Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, impress on people looking to realize their goals that no one gets very far without clear direction. Ask yourself questions about the purpose and execution of your goal each day. Engage the logical part of your mind to make a plan and break that plan into doable parts. The big picture is a lovely dream to inspire you, but you need clear, scripted strategies to get you through the hard work and to power you through periods of tempting procrastination.
2. Get emotional.
The Heaths, and many other motivational writers and speakers, acknowledge the power of emotion when it comes to getting things done. How you view your goals and the required work to accomplish them is central to success or failure. Try to become more aware of how you speak or think about accomplishing your goals. Are you using your emotions to their best advantage? Feel what you’re feeling and direct that emotion instead of letting it hinder you. Emotions are often more motivating than intellect.
3. Take charge of your environment.
Think carefully about what is distracting you from the things you really want. Be willing to adjust how you live, spend leisure time, and engage others in your space. Are you motivated by a little hustle and bustle or do you need quiet and solitude to feel motivated? Put yourself in the best situation for success.
4. Don’t skimp on self-care.
You do yourself and your aspirations a disservice by running yourself down and wearing yourself out. Pay attention to the quality and amounts of healthy foods and restful hours of sleep you’re getting. Exercise for stress relief and fitness. Take breaks and vacations so that the road to your goals is filled with happy memories. Check in with a counselor, life coach, or therapist to discuss your goals and progress and to maintain your mental health as well.
5. Connect with cheerleaders, go-getters, and heroes.
As always, people and connections are a vital part of what we do or hope to do. To keep yourself motivated, seek to gather these folks around you for mental support:
- Non-judgmental, supportive friends and family members. All you need is a few key people who know you well and won’t hold it against you. In other words, those loved ones who will cheer you on toward change without trying to keep you tied too tightly to the roles of your past.
- Like-minded peers. There’s nothing like a few good running mates to keep you accountable and inspire you. Surround yourself with and engage people who are actively going after their goals, you’ll likely not want to be left behind.
- Inspirational mentor. Find a person who is where you want to be. You want to lose weight? Look around the gym, who’s been there and done that? Are you interested in switching careers? Find a person who’s done it successfully, pick their brain, and use your new knowledge to fuel your own progress.
6. Practice positivity.
Change can be scary. If you let it. Let that fear be a motivator. There is a lot to be said for optimism, positive mantras, and even a daily pep talk to keep your enthusiasm high. Develop a go-getting mindset. When you think of your goals think of a positive word like “believe” or an inspirational quote. Write it everywhere. Make a poster or a coffee mug with slogan on it. Look at it a lot. Smile when you read it. When you think of your goal, train your mind to be inspired rather than intimidated.
7. Reward yourself well.
Almost everyone likes to shoot for a goal when there is a reward on the other side. Acknowledgement for a job well done is necessary in any pursuit, and sometimes it takes time. Staying self-motivated is no easy task, when you make gains, pat yourself on the back. When you don’t but you tried, still pat yourself on the back. Research shows that rewards are key to positivity, progress, and commitment, regardless of the goal.
Alright, now you know what to do and how to keep going until it’s done. Have fun and start checking things off your life to do list. Now’s your time!