“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso
After giving a sincere thought to what you really want to do with your life, you have set goals for yourself. Kudos to you!
Some of you might be in the middle of your journey while some might have just begun.
Now, somewhere between the goal and your current progress, you are experiencing hurdles you never expected. This makes you doubt not only your goals but your ability to reach them. Your motivation slacks and you think of giving up.
Remember it is always easier to give up than living out the purpose of your life.
I’ve often struggled to focus on what I really want to accomplish; be it my health, career, or relationships.
But I fear that the pain of regret will fill me down the line because I did not buckle down and worked hard enough to get what was important for me. I am sure your goals mean a lot to you, and you wouldn’t let go of them easily either.
Here are few tips to help you muster the energy, boost your flagging motivation, and make your journey toward your goals a little sweeter.
We often tend to compare ourselves with others. But what good it does to our motivation? Nothing actually.
It rather triggers self-criticism and makes us feel ‘not being good enough.’ We begin to think of what can go wrong rather what can go right. The fear of failure begins to take root in our minds and sabotages our motivation.
So, what should you do? Be kind to yourself. It will give you the strength to face your fears.
Reassure yourself with a few kind words. It will ground you in the moment and stop the hyperventilating inner critic.
Reach Out to Others
Sometimes incidents of the past or worries about the future just pop up in our mind and refuse to go away. Happens often with me — the never-ending loop of imagined worries and fears.
If your mind chatter and perennial worrying impair your mental strength and make you lose sight of your goals, seek the support of your social circle.
Sharing your thoughts with closed ones relieves stress, improves resilience and happiness levels. They can also remind you of your goals and help you get back in the game.
Open yourself to constructive feedback and social support, be grateful for what you have, and work toward your goals.
Make Sure They’re Your Goals
When I was growing up, it was kind of difficult to pinpoint what I wanted to do with my life. Sometimes my goals would be based on what my friends were doing or what my parents suggested. More based on societal approval or what would help me make money.
This turned out to be a huge hurdle later in life. It was difficult to stay motivated because I realized that these goals were never really ‘my’ goals.
So, take your time to decide what you really want and then base your goals on that.
Make sure you are focusing on something you really want and makes you happy.
Break Down Goals
Always set long-term goals. Something bigger than yourself. When you do this, you will realize that you need to invest considerable time, energy and efforts over a long period.
Does this seem like too much already? If it does, the reason is that we tend to see the larger picture and get overwhelmed right at the start.
What you need to do is break your goals into short and medium-term goals. Make sure you reward yourself whenever you reach a milestone you have set for yourself.
For example, you want to save money for buying a car. If you have been able to save a certain amount each month for 3 months, reward yourself with a special dinner. This will make you want to continue to save and stay motivated.
Tweak Your Habits
How often you do pick up your phone to check an important email but end up not only checking other unread emails but also your social media accounts?
It happens with me sometimes and by the time I realize this ‘mindlessness,’ I am cursing myself for having my attention all over the place.
Most of us have lived our lives mindlessly, and our behaviors have become habits that refuse to go away. If you used to watch TV late at night, but now if it doesn’t serve your daily routine or makes you neglect your health, it is time to change this habit.
Begin with thinking of ways to change your behaviors so that they turn into habits. Old habits take time to change. Remember you are more than your habits.
Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control
What frustrates you? The daily commute, your social anxiety, your miserable neighbors, or weather.
Whatever annoys you, remember that it is up to you to take control of what you can. So if the weather is the reason of your bad mood, get up and drink a glass of water, and say to yourself ‘I am a sane person and I know that it is not under my control to change the weather.’
Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Recognize that you can control your attitude, focus, and efforts. You will be much more effective when you put your energy into the things you can control.
The way we do anything is the way we do everything. We are what we do on a daily basis.
But it is not easy to be consistent if you are not sure of what you really want to do. So, once you have identified your end goal, devise smaller steps to accomplish it. Say, you want to lose weight and become healthier, you can decide to exercise 5 days a week.
Don’t pile up tasks or promises. Use a planner, calendar, or schedule to keep yourself on track. You can use a paper planner or download a scheduling app like Google Calendar.
To remind you of your goals throughout the day, jot them down on post-it notes and place them on visible areas like your computer, refrigerator, car dashboard, and mirror.
Rethink Your Roadblocks
You took up something, something you wanted to do, and one day, you faced a roadblock and then another.
Over time, the going got tough and you began to doubt your abilities. You allowed the roadblocks to bring down your motivation.
If this ever happened to you, you need to take a step back and see how you explain these roadblocks to yourself.
If your explanation is:
You are the problem,
It won’t get any better,
It means you need to rethink and throw the negative behaviors and habits out of the window. Stick to what you were doing, believing in the process, and staying calm and patient.
Those who achieve their goals are not different from you and I. I believe we all have within us the courage and determination to pursue our goals. It is just that we get deterred by failures and challenges.
Stay present in the moment with focus on your goal in the distance, a contagious smile on your face, and the never-say-never urge to get what you desire.
What is your secret to staying motivated? Let me know in the comments below.