Motivation and Goal-Setting
Staying motivated is important when it comes to setting and completing goals. When we combine our desires, our values, and our beliefs, we create motivation. Since we have influence over each of these three elements, we can therefore control our level of motivation. When you value something and choose to set realistic goals for attaining it, there will likely be a good outcome.
Steps to Get Motivated
Getting motivated begins with a choice. The following steps will help you generate the energy needed to take action:
- Identify your values, beliefs, and desires about life.
- Think specifically about your work, health, and relationships. How do they relate to your values, beliefs, and life’s desires? Write down these connections.
- Prioritize your goals. Are some of these items long-term or short-term? Do you see any themes emerging with your list?
- Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to assess what goals are realistic.
- Adjust your goals accordingly, as not every circumstance is under your control.
- Understand that success is the result of your motivation, goals, circumstances, and hard work.
When it comes to goals, it can be easy to get sidetracked or stalled. Consider these tips to gain and maintain your motivation:
- Accountability - Surround yourself with supportive people who are working toward similar goals. Encouragement from others is important, especially those who have previously completed a goal like yours. If you are constantly competing with others, you’ll feel alone and begin to lose momentum.
- Inspiration - Look for daily ways to uplift your mind and motivation. This might mean posting an inspiring quote or picture to your mirror or reading about influential people you admire.
- Consider the alternative - If you don’t make this change, what will your life be like? Your reaction to this question is a clue to how much you value this goal.
- Practice self-care - When you take care of yourself, you’re more likely to reach your goals. This could be as simple as drinking more water, getting good sleep, or exercising a few times a week. Small changes like these can make a big difference in your energy level and mood.
- Forgive yourself - It is all too easy to be your own worst enemy. Understand that you will have days you fail, make mistakes, and get rejected. However, if you stay positive and refuse to beat yourself up, you have already won the battle. Learn to forgive yourself and move forward.
When it comes to setting goals, sometimes it can be hard just to know where to start. Consider the following guidelines when determining your new goal:
- Plan - Set aside some time to think about your goals. Sometimes you might have a few false starts when you begin. Don’t be discouraged; this is a normal part of the goal-setting process.
- Think big - Put logic aside for a moment. We can be afraid to think and dream big when we set goals. Negative thinking can quickly take over. Remember, just because you cannot reach a goal today does not mean it’s never a possibility.
- Stay positive - Use uplifting language when you are constructing your goal. Focus on what you want for yourself rather than what you don’t want. For example, say something like, "I want to lose 20 pounds, so I can play in the backyard with my kids." This is more positive than, "I want to lose 20 pounds so I don’t have a heart attack."
- Break it down - Goals should be broken up into attainable and measurable tasks. Setting a daily or weekly goal will continue to keep you motivated. This also allows you to monitor your progress.
- Envision your future - Who and where are you in five or ten years? What are you doing? Who is around you? What is making you happy? Imagining yourself in the future can be highly motivating.
- Write a vision statement - When you feel overwhelmed with daily tasks, having a clear and concise vision statement, or purpose for your goal, can help you stay on track. This is sometimes known as a "why" statement. The more passionate you feel about your purpose, the more determined you will be to stay the course.
- Be flexible - There is no rule that says you cannot revise your goals or daily tasks. As we move through life, our circumstances and passions will change. Sometimes we need to alter the steps toward our goal as we learn along the way. It’s important to be flexible and open to change.
Learning to set and meet goals is a life-long process. When you achieve one goal, be sure to set time aside to celebrate the victory. Then, set your sights on a new objective, and include others in your process. Helping another get started on their journey is a great way to stay motivated and keep moving in the direction of your dreams.