Motivation and goal setting go hand in hand. No matter how much time you put into the goal setting process, if you’re not motivated by your goals, you’re unlikely to keep after them. Motivation keeps you focused and makes you more confident.
This installment of the week-long goal setting series focuses on the role motivation plays in reaching your SMART goals, and what you can do to follow the formula for success and stay motivated.
Visualize Your Future Success
In order to be motivated to do something, you have to have an idea of what it will feel like and look like to be there. Imagine that you’ve accomplished the goal and think about all of the perks that will come with your success. How will you feel? What will you do to celebrate? What will accomplishing the goal provide?
Once you’ve pictured your success, write down some triggers that will remind you how much you have to gain by accomplishing your goal. Then, revisit them any time you need a little nudge to keep going.
Plan the Work
Many of our most desired goals require a lot of work. Sometimes, this can be overwhelming because it seems like there’s so much to be done. Break down the work and plan out what you will be doing each step of the way, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly. A solid plan can take a lot of the overwhelm out of the goal and help to keep you motivated to continue.
Reaching for your goals will not always be a smooth process. In fact, you should expect to make some mistakes along the way. Although it may be discouraging, in reality, mistakes are good! When you make a mistake, it means you’re trying new approaches, taking chances and continuing to move forward.
Once you get past the disappointment of the mistake, use it to strengthen the process by learning from it and letting it change your process for the better.
Focus On Your Mini-Goals
One of the biggest motivational aspects of goals is reaching success. The more you accomplish, the easier it will be to move into the next phase. That’s why mini-goals, or goals with an immediate result (i.e., within a week), are so vital.
By nature, mini-goals are small and somewhat easy to accomplish. And you may have a handful of them at any given time. Usually, they support a larger, longer term goal, so with completion of each one, you’re one step closer to your big goal. Plus, each time you accomplish a mini-goal, you’re building your confidence and commitment to reaching all of your goals.
Psych Yourself Up
Some of your goals will require an extra amount of gumption. So when it’s time to hit a goal that really stretches you, you may need some extra motivation. Take a few minutes to do what normally gets you pumped up – exercise, music, reading inspirational quotes – then go for it.
Don’t Let Yourself Quit
It’s hard to keep going when success seems so far away. And many times, this is why people let their goals go. Make a commitment to yourself not to quit. Then, do what it takes to stay on track. If you thrive on rivalry, make it a competition with a friend or colleague who is working on his or her own goals. Or ask a friend to be your accountability partner. Make a commitment and then do whatever it takes to see it through.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated to reach your goals?
Image credit: Sigurd Decroos
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