Use goals to live longer. No medicine in the world is as powerful in bringing about long life as is the desire to do something. -The Magic of Big Thinking
Do you ever feel like you reach for the stars and never seem to get where you want? Like you’re trying so hard but not getting the results you want?
You’re not alone.Advertising
But here’s the good news: you’re already ahead of 99% of people. You just need to tweak your approach and you’ll reach your ultimate goal. Here are eight ways to get you going on the right path:
1. Set the right types of goals.
Ever heard of a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG)? It’s a term coined by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, to describe a goal that’s strategic and emotion-driven. Collins advocates setting these types of goals because the traditional “SMART” goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-driven) lack the emotional connection necessary for accomplishing big life goals. A better approach, according to Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ, a leadership training and research company, is to form “HARD” goals:
- Heartfelt: having an emotional attachment to your goal.
- Animated: motivated by a vision, picture or movie in your mind.
- Required: goals need to feel so urgent and necessary that you have no other choice but to start acting on them immediately.
- Difficult: drag you out of your comfort zone, activating your senses and attention.
2. Map out your plan.
It’s not enough to have a goal. You need a plan to accomplish it too. This is where many people fail. They set goals but don’t follow-up and create a plan to get started. When this happens, big goals seem overwhelming and we’re more likely to give up.Advertising
Create a road map to reach your goal. Plan one or two actions you can take each week and focus on doing small things every day. For example, if your goal is to start a new business this year, this week you can choose a URL and do some research on building a WordPress website. The key is to break your goal down into smaller steps that are more achievable.
3. Visualize and reflect.
Social scientist Frank Niles, Ph.D., says:
When we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to “perform” the movement. This creates a new neural pathway–clusters of cells in our brain that work together to create memories or learned behaviors–that primes our body to act in a way consistent to what we imagined.
Visualize yourself reaching your goals, including the process and work it will take to get there (this is important). Try to feel what it will be like once you reach those big accomplishments. This will form a lasting picture in your mind.
4. Write yourself a letter.
I love this tip from John Carlton, the legendary copywriter. He says, “My trick to setting goals is very simple: I sit down and write myself a letter, dated exactly one year ahead.”
Carlton says you should write yourself a detailed letter describing your life one year from now. It’s a powerful technique and is another way to use visualization to map out your desired outcome in your mind.Advertising
5. Take action every day.
Look, it doesn’t matter how much you learn if you don’t take action. Don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis. The best way to learn is by doing. Embrace failure–it’s the stepping stone to success.
6. Tell others.A psychology professor at Dominican University found that people who wrote down their goals, shared them with others, and maintained accountability for their goals were 33% more likely to achieve them. So go spread the word to your family and friends, and let them in on your goals and plans. You’ll likely get valuable feedback too.
7. Plan for setbacks.
Being a good goal-setter is kind of like boxing; you need to learn to roll with the punches because you know you’re going to get hit. The best way to minimize the impact of setbacks is to plan for them. Have a contingency plan for when things go wrong. Be prepared to react and learn from those setbacks. They’ll be valuable learning opportunities.
8. Evaluate your progress every week.
Ask yourself: what did I do this week to get closer to my goal? What worked? What didn’t?
And don’t forget to celebrate your success too. Allow yourself to bask in the success of a great week and then get right back at it and check the next things off your list. That’s how you’ll reach your ultimate goals.
Featured photo credit: zen! via flickr.com
Last Updated on December 10, 2019
How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life
It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.
So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:
1. Find Your Good Reasons
Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.
You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.
If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.
Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.
Some ideas for what a good reason can be:
- A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
- Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
- A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
- A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.
2. Make It Fun
When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.
Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!
Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!
They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.
Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!
A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:
- How can I enjoy this task?
- What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
- How can I make this work the best part of my day?
As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.
Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.
However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.
3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up
When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.
You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.
That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.
If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.
Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.
My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.
4. Recognize Your Progress
Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.
We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.
Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:
Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.
For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.
You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.
Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.
For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.
5. Reward Yourself
This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!
Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.
Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.
For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.
For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.
For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.
Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.
The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.
Mix and Match
Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!
Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.
Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.
Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.
More to Boost Your Motivation
- 8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times
- 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams
- How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com