Staying Motivated With Goals

With smart, attainable goals (link to article 1) and mapped-out solutions for the inevitable obstacles ahead (link to article 2), you’re headed for goal success, but what do you do when your willpower begins to wain along the way?

In a world where busyness is worn as a badge of honour and there are more distractions than ever, our motivation tends to slump in favour of the easy option. At the end of a hectic day, dragging yourself to the gym or cleaning out your wardrobe seems at best unappealing and at worst a total nightmare. Drive is not merely something we inherently “have,” but with some tactical methods, you can grow it in abundance and reap the rewards!

Visualise the end result

Achieving your goals isn’t purely about what you gain at the end, but what you learn on your way there. That said, the end result is a goldmine of motivation. So keep your eyes focussed firmly on the prize and imagine, daily, how you will feel once you have achieved your goals. Imagine the relief, the excitement, the sense of accomplishment.

Repeat a personal mantra on days when you’re really lacking incentive. It could be something like “I can do this. I’m strong,” or “today’s gym session is going to be a huge success. It’s making me stronger!”

There’s no “big secret” to achievement and success, it’s all right there in your head. So believe in yourself and your actions will follow suit.

Stick with like-minded people

Nothing is more motivating than a friend cheering you on. So surround yourself with positive people whose energy you can tap into for a much-needed motivation boost.

Even better, work on your goals with friends. Organise workout dates, book clubs, dance classes and non-smoking work breaks. Overcoming your weaker self is so much easier with a friend in tow. Plus, if tackling your toughest goals is ever going to be fun, it will be in the company of encouraging others.

Break it down

Like any large undertaking, goals are more manageable broken down into smaller, more task-oriented goals. So if you’re staring into the abyss of a monstrously-sized goal, start by setting small weekly or daily tasks. For example, if your goal is to re-organise your wardrobe, begin by tackling the shoes, then move onto the coats, then the jumpers, etc.

Get organised

When you’ve set yourself a big goal, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the steps you need to fulfil it. An over-stimulated mind is no way to start, so take time to move the process from your cluttered head to an organised list. It might be helpful to sit down with a friend or family member and talk through how you plan to complete your goal. Schedule specific times for each task and watch your motivation flourish as you tick off each one.

Keep the big picture in mind

“Zooming out,” or in other words keeping the big picture in mind, is infinitely helpful when you need a metaphorical kick up the bum. The everyday, menial tasks can easily drain your motivation, but staying focussed on the bigger picture – what all the smaller tasks will eventually lead to – is key to keeping on track.

For example, getting to the gym on a rainy, dark evening might not be the most attractive endeavour, but “zooming out” to feeling strong, healthy and fit makes it seem a whole lot more appealing.

Block out the “what ifs”

Often, lack of motivation is, in reality, a fear of failure. It’s a powerful distraction, but one you can overcome by taking control of what you can and throwing to the wind what you can’t. If you can’t control something, it’s a wasted effort worrying about it. And more often than not “what ifs” are out of our control (as in, “what if I can’t keep up in the class” or “what if I write this and no one reads it”). Channel that fear into focussing on doing your very best with what you can control.

Seek out positive info

Be proactive about finding your motivation. If you fill yourself with negative self-talk, you will manifest less-than-positive actions. But if you fill your ears and eyes with books, podcasts and articles containing uplifting and inspiring information, your motivation will appear in abundance.

Read the articles, buy the books and listen to the podcasts. Constant reminders that you are capable of achievement will keep your motivation bank filled to the brim.  

Be consistent

It’s inevitable that there will be days you’re totally not in the mood to work towards your goal, but if you can do one small thing – even if it’s just sending an email, reading for ten minutes or doing a five-minute home workout – you won’t succumb to goal-failure. As long as you’re working at your goal, you’re not failing.


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