We’re well past mid-year now which means any new year resolutions you made probably feel like ancient history. If you’re anything like me, then setting goals is the easy part – it’s the achieving them that’s hard.
Whether you’re struggling to make good on your diet promises or still feel miles away from ever finishing (or starting) that book/course/exercise program, or simply don’t even know what you want to get out of this thing called life, there are some practical measures you can take towards realizing your dreams.
First up, figure out what it is that you actually want to achieve. What is it that motivates you the most? Is it feeling healthier for your children? Or earning more money to realise your potential? Think about what success feels like to you – is it personal accomplishment and pushing yourself, or is it the recognition of others? Ultimately all motivation comes down to wanting to be a better version of ourselves in one field or another – be it running or management or cooking.
Your motivation triggers are the things that really mean something tangible to you. The results of your endeavours have to be something you are committed to. If you’re not actually that excited by the idea of having abs of steel, then it’s unlikely you’ll put the required work in, in order to achieve them.
If you’re going to set yourself goals make sure they are ones that you genuinely feel animated by. You know, that little voice that says, hell yeah, I can do this!
If you feel like you have to do something against your will then you won’t feel as positive about it and are more likely to fail. Whatever goal you set for yourself should be something that you know you want, deep inside.
I would go as far as to say that there are good goals and bad goals when it comes to goal setting. If you’re really unfit and want to run a marathon then it can feel an impossible ask when a lousy five-minute run has you panting for your life. While a marathon might be your ultimate goal, chop it into all the steps that are necessary to get there; a change of diet. A first 10 minute run. Then increase your goals from there. Bad goals are ones that make us feel defeated before we have even begun. Pick a goal that you know you are capable of, even if it means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Once you’ve achieved a small step on the way to a larger goal it will send your motivation levels soaring. And good things will start to happen.
Keep it real
Often people speak about smart goals in work – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound. It’s a textbook method that works well if you can apply it in practice. That’s not to say that it’s easy though. One of the most motivating elements of this formula is the time bound part. If you can write in your agenda or set an alarm on your phone for the goals you need to have achieved by a certain date or time, then it can work wonders at motivating you to keep going and deliver!
Forgive and forget (almost)
We’re only human which means at some point along the way we’re bound to feel like we’re not working hard enough at achieving our goals. Whether life is getting in the way or you simply don’t have the results you expected, when the going gets tough it can feel like the easiest thing is to give up completely.
Rather than loose the faith, forgive rather than berate yourself, for not quite living up to your expectations and start over. Set measurable goals that you can check off at the end of every day. E.g. if you’re trying to curb your spending, write down each day exactly what you’ve spent (or not!). A daily recap of your achievements can be very motivating to improve on them the next day and so on.
Celebrate the journey
Getting to where you want to be is all about enjoying the ride as well. OK, so you might not be making a living from your blog right now, or getting as many sales as you want from your new business, but within every goal there are little milestones that you will meet along the way. When something goes right then celebrate. Give yourself a pep talk – post a pic on social media if it makes you feel good – phone a pal and tell them about your good news. They will be happy for you and probably quite impressed too. This will only serve as extra motivation to keep going – and soon you’ll find yourself needing to write a whole new list of goals.
Read more of MBS’s Tips & Tricks column over here.