Lack of motivation is something that plagues us all. Not being able to get out of bed for an early morning start, procrastinating on piece of work that you’ve already put off for weeks already, the deadline looming ever closer, making excuses for not going to the gym or making meals for yourself instead of ordering another takeaway. What changes in your life can you make in order to achieve your goals? How are they effective? In this article we will have a look at ten tips on how to set and achieve your goals.
Set small, daily goals for yourself, that turn into habits
Motivation is a fleeting feeling that can escape us at a moment’s notice, so it’s important that when the feeling comes you know how to manage it without squandering it, or alternatively burning yourself out. Let’s say you suddenly have a burst of motivation to learn a new skill, a language for example, understand that this goal is big, therefore you’re going to have to acquire habits in order to achieve it. These habits will prevail even once your initial burst of motivation is extinguished. Make it simple, listen to at least one song in your target language every day. It doesn’t take that much effort, it’s fun, you’ll feel rewarded afterwards and by doing it every day, it may give you the inspiration you need to keep up your studying!
Why do we procrastinate?
Persistence is key in creating a habit
So, you have figured out what is it you would like to learn or what skills you would like to acquire. You have made a plan and a daily target you need to meet for, let’s say a year. You have made it through the first, second, even a third and fourth day, and suddenly you notice that your motivation is weaker and weaker every day. When Dr. Maltz would perform an operation – like a nose job, for example – he found that it would take the patient about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. In other words, it takes approximately a month for a person to develop a habit. Whether is it a bad or good one, so try and stick to your plan for at least twenty one days. This should make forming a new habit really easy to do and completing every day’s target absolutely non-problematic.
Make a schedule (and actually stick to it)
Sticking to habits takes motivation, but if you have well-defined schedule for yourself, most of the thinking is done for you, and your daily need for willpower and motivation to complete tasks is partly removed. You’ll be less likely to forget to do things that are important to you, as you would have had them already prioritised in a simple timetable, meaning you can spend less of your energy planning and more of it actually doing what needs to get done!
Identify your source of inspiration
What actually made you feel motivated in the first place? What is the thing that gave you that spark one day that made you think “hey, I could actually do this!” and got you off your bum and working? If your struggling with motivation, take a moment and try to reflect on the reasons that fuelled you. Write them down. Tell your family and friends about them. Find the trigger and keep shooting. Did you feel inspired by a wildlife documentary to change your diet? Watch it again! Did your friend compliment a photo of yours that gave you burst of artistic fervour? Make a photoshoot with them!
Visualize your successful outcome in great detail. Close your eyes, and think about exactly how your successful outcome will look, will feel, will smell and taste and sound like. Where are you when you become successful? How do you look? What are you wearing? Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Now here’s the next key: do it every day. For at least a few minutes each day. This is the only way to keep that motivation going over a long period of time.
Don’t expect too much from the beginning
If you have ever found yourself struggling with reaching a particular big goal or a number of goals, maybe you should consider breaking them into smaller, easily doable chunks. Psychology plays a huge role in the process of completing goals. Often when we feel mentally exhausted and we think we can not continue any further, it is only our brain trying to trick us. This is one of the basic human instincts- save energy and try to survive. Human body was built have a very good physical and mental endurance. Human brain is programmed to look for shortcuts. It will look for an obvious reason or an immediate reward for a certain action, like grabbing a piece of cake from a table for example. Whereas, when the goal or a reward is not that obvious or immediate, the brain will always try to make us choose any possible shortcut which must not necessarily lead to what we really want. Do not let your brain to trick you! Have some balls and make your decisions with an iron fist.
Set clear goals
If you don’t know what success looks like, how will you know when you have achieved it. If you don’t have a clear goal, then you cannot put a clear plan in place to achieve it. Hope is not a strategy! Clear goals allow you to create clear plans, which increase your probability of success.
Commit to your goals publicly
None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when you want to run your first marathon, start writing a column about it in a local daily newspaper or Facebook. So that your entire group of friends will know your goal. You will not back down, and even though motivation can come and go, stick with it and completed it. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable – don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
Build on your successes
Every little step along the way is a success – celebrate the fact that you even started! And then did it for two days! Celebrate every little milestone. Then take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.
Never skip two days in a row
This rule takes into account our natural tendency to miss days now and then. We are not perfect. So, you missed one day … now the second day is upon you and you are feeling lazy … tell yourself NO! You will not miss two days in a row!
Make it happen!
Even though motivation doesn’t last forever, by controlling it, rationing it, and discovering where it comes from, you can help yourself become more productive and creative. Remember, everything is in your head and depends on your mindset. You do not know what you are really capable of unless you try doing it. So, now go do it and never, never, never give up!