Let’s stop to think for a moment. Can you number all the resolutions you had when the year started? Now, how many of them are you working on, or have you accomplished?… What was that goal again?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell me the official number. But, if your answer is none or close to none, you are not alone in the struggle.
The truth is, one of the most difficult things to do when establishing a goal is to keep motivation. Between a full-time job, studies, a family, and other responsibilities it becomes difficult to stay on track. Eventually, excuses like the lack of time start to creep in between us and our goals.
Yet, what can you do? You know you start the right way but, somehow, you lose the impulse and return to your usual routine and habits.
Let me tell you a secret: there are multiple hacks that can help you to keep your interest as you work towards your goals. Get your pen and paper! Here are the 20 things that you can do you to keep the motivation to reach your goals!
Reaching Goals 101
How many times have you visualized yourself with the perfect job, the house of your dreams, or the type of body you always wanted? And then, that’s it, that vision just stays in your imagination.
Visualization can be really powerful if we use it correctly. When something stays in our imagination, it is easily forgotten. Therefore, you should get your vision out there. Make a physical vision board. Look for ideas on Pinterest, print images, and put them together on a board or wall where you can see them daily. That way you’ll constantly remind yourself about what you are working for.
2. State the why behind your goal
Let’s say you have the goal to buy a house in the countryside. You start saving money and then one day, something comes up and you think to yourself: “It’s ok. I already have a house. I’ll use the money for this other thing instead”.
Does it mean a house in the countryside was only a caprice? Probably not. However, you failed to understand WHY you wanted a house in the countryside. For example, maybe you wanted to retire to a quiet and peaceful area, something impossible to find in any city. Nevertheless, you forgot about it because you weren’t clear about your why. You shouldn’t just think about what you want, you should define why you truly want it and make it a priority.
3. Make a list of reasons
As it happens with visualization, your why’s and reasons shouldn’t stay in your head. Make time to write down the reasons behind your goals. Only then you will have a full acknowledgment of how much you want something and you’ll reinforce your commitment to that wish. You should also place that list somewhere you can see it.
4. Have both small and big goals
We all have that big goal we want to reach. However, when it comes to setting goals, we should think smaller too.
Before you believe I’m telling you to quit that big goal, I want to clarify I mean totally the opposite: add more goals to your list. The thing about big goals is that they usually take time and effort to achieve (which is totally fine). Therefore, by not seeing quick results, we might get discouraged and stop pursuing that long term goal.
Hence, you should have smaller goals (or short term goals). They could be related or unrelated to your long term goals. By having monthly, weekly, and even daily goals, you will enjoy a sense of accomplishment more frequently and it will give you momentum and motivation to work on those long term goals.
5. Break your goal into small tasks
This is kind of self-explanatory. Some goals might require a lot of steps towards them. If you’re overwhelmed by those immense goals, break them down into “doable” tasks. That way you’ll work towards them little by little, feeling accomplished and motivated by each phase on the way.
6. Put a date on it
This is a common mistake: you visualize the goal, you write it down and then you just keep working towards it whenever you can. Eventually, you’re bound to lose interest and motivation, because you’ll prioritize “more urgent” matters over those objectives.
Instead of pretending to reach a goal “someday”, PUT A DUE DATE ON IT. By having a tangible deadline it’ll be harder to lose motivation
7. Keep a streak
If your goal is something that requires you to work every day (is there any that doesn’t?) you can use a calendar to strike out every day you attain something. For example, if you set a goal to read a book in two weeks, you can cross out each day you read so you can see your strike. You’ll be encouraged to continue it until you attain what you wanted.
8. Measure the steps towards your goal
You might be placing all of your efforts into achieving a dream. Nevertheless, if you don’t know how you’ve performed so far, you will certainly lose the impetus. At least once a week you should review your accomplishments, see where you are standing in relation to your goals, and most importantly witness how far you’ve come. For sure, this will keep your engines running!
9. Reward yourself
You shouldn’t just cross out your to-do list! Reward yourself for those actions taken towards your goals! Deep down, we are still like kids, we like to receive prizes for our good job. So, even if it’s just with your favorite meal, recognize your work and your victories.
10. Plan for the lack of motivation
Losing motivation at some point is bound to happen. However, the lack of motivation shouldn’t make you lose motivation! No, this is not a tongue twister.
What I mean is that it is normal to feel down at some point in your journey. Don’t let that fact get the best of you. Prepare yourself for that moment with self-discipline and commitment.
11. Constantly reflect upon your reasons
You can find yourself lacking passion in your pursuit if you forget the reasons that made the fire burn inside your heart. As with marriage, it is easy to forget why you started out when things become different or difficult.
Therefore, once in a while review the initial reasons behind those goals. Are they still valid? Have they changed? Do you still want it? Then go for it.
12. Make a routine
Although we complain about it, we humans like routines and habits, a lot.
Creating a routine around that goal might help us keep the motivation. For instance, let’s say every morning you make breakfast, drink coffee, go for a walk, take a shower, and sit in front of the computer to study.
All the steps before sitting in front of the computer, if done always in the same order, will already signal your mind it is time for studying and it will make you look forward to it.
13. Share your goal with someone
This is probably one of the best ways to stay motivated to reach a goal. Tell somebody what you want to do and why you want to do it. This person’s job is to remind you of your reasons and to celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Feeling like you are accountable to someone besides yourself will help you stay motivated.
14. Get breaks
There will be occasions when you’ll feel overwhelmed and restless by all those to-do’s, goals, steps, and reviews. Taking a break for a day or two is totally acceptable and necessary. If you burn yourself out, you are more likely to drop out.
15. Change your course if necessary, not the goal
Ever heard of a plan B? Well yes, you might need to use it. Instead of losing motivation because it is too difficult to achieve something this way, try doing it that other way. You know what they say, change the method, not the dream.
16. Watch and read motivational stories
We learn by example. Surprisingly, we get motivated by example too. Seeing how other people have surpassed themselves will inspire us. If they did it, why not you?
17. Use reminders
Technology can be a distraction but it can also be a tool. Set reminders on your smartphone’s calendar so that it reminds you constantly and frequently that you should be “starting out a paper” instead of watching videos on YouTube.
18. Make a choice in the present
Goals are mostly visions of our future selves. They are things we want to become part of our reality. Yet, even if they are in the future, they start today. Knowing the steps you take daily, now at present, are constructing that future self, will help keep your desire for that goal.
19. Get physical
Get moving! Walk, exercise, dance, write, cook, create. Activating your neurons and systems will encourage you to get things done. A body that doesn’t move is literally “a potato”. If you lie in bed all day, chances are you won’t get up at six in the afternoon to work on your goal.
20. Commit to your goal
Oh, commitment! What a big word and a big responsibility. Sometimes the way to your goals is simply to commit to achieving them. Make the purpose within yourself to finish what you started. You won’t always feel that initial drive, but a commitment to success will keep you working.
You’ll find that when you pursue your goal just because of commitment, you end feeling motivated anyways. Who wouldn’t feel pumped up after feeling they are approaching their dream?
Finally, remember there is no single formula for working towards your goals. Find what works best for you, mix and match it until you get your engines going. Stay motivated and stay committed! Remember, you are building the future you want for yourself…
Have you tried any of these tips before? Let me know in the comments!