Stay Motivated to Achieve Long-Term Goals
How many times have you set goals and priorities and started with good intentions, but either your enthusiasm has wavered or life has taken over and you have forgotten all about them? This post will provide you with some guidance on how to stay motivated to ensure those long-term goals are achieved, or at least, reviewed.
‘People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily’.
How Clear Is Your Vision?
How clear is the goal you have set? Are you really clear what you are working towards? When people create a goal, they often write it down and then look at the steps to achieve it but then it is abandoned.
Be specific, really specific. Not just in terms of SMART objectives but really go into detail about what it is you want to achieve. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What will success look like?
- How will it feel?
- What will be different about you?
- What will change around you?
Write the answers down and put them somewhere where you can see them. Consider creating a vision board so that you have that daily reminder of what it is you are working towards.
List the outcomes of what success looks like. How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
Make It A Date
Once you have set the goal, you need to break down the activities into small and achievable steps that are required to achieve success. Add a date for each one. This is a crucial activity in helping you to stay on track. Don't just write a list of things to do, create a specific step and add a date of when you will achieve this by.
Create milestones for some of the more significant activities. What will you do when you reach each milestone? How will you recognise and reward your achievement?
Add all of these dates and times to complete the activities into your calendar. Don’t just write them down on a piece of paper, commit them to your schedule and make the commitment to yourself to make them a priority.
What Is Your ‘Why’?
When people are working towards long-term goals, it can be easy to lose sight of what put them on the journey. As time passes, the emotions and situation often connected with the creation of the goal and the original motivating factor, can diminish and be forgotten. Creating a vision of what the success looks like can help with this, however, it is important not to lose sight of why the goal was created in the first place.
Negative motivation, or focusing on what you are moving away from can be a benefit here. Reflect on what you are moving away from, not just the situation but the thoughts, feelings, behaviours that are all connected. Once you have done this, take some time to reflect on the positive of the vision you are moving towards.
Recognise the difference between the past left behind, the present of what you have achieved so far, and the future of how things will be when the goal is achieved.
Remember your ‘why’;-
- Why are you doing this?
- Why did you start?
- Why do you want to finish?
- Why is success important?
Prioritise The Good, The Bad and The Mundane
It is highly unlikely that you will be working towards a goal that has a long list of activities that are all things you want to do. With all of the positive activities, there will be negatives. Whether they are negatives because they are difficult, or tedious, or push you outside of your comfort zone, these activities will be there and are a part of the journey.
Completing these activities can often be the difference between those who give up and those who achieve success. Break these activities up as much as possible. Sandwich them between the more enjoyable activities but recognise that when you get these done, you are overcoming the more challenging elements of the road to success.
Where possible, aim to get these completed at the beginning of the day or week. Get them done and out of the way as soon as you can. Make it a priority and make a deal with yourself that you won't do the more enjoyable activities until this activity is complete.
Break these activities into the smallest possible steps and split them up over a period of time to get them done. Set a target time or date and hold yourself accountable. If you can't hold yourself accountable, then find someone who can check in on you to make sure it has been done.
Surround yourself with people who will be your cheerleaders and give you that extra push when you are struggling to stay on track. Find people who inspire you to achieve your goal or even people who have achieved similar goals who you can aspire to mirror.
Share your goals and intentions with people who will support you and hold you accountable. The more you share what you are aiming to achieve, the more you will find people to support and help keep you motivated when your own motivation runs low. Your cheerleaders will also help you recognise and celebrate your achievements. Find the people who get excited when you achieve milestones and help encourage you to keep going.
In balance with the positive cheerleaders, look for a ‘critical friend’. Someone who will help you stay accountable and on track. Someone who will challenge you and tell you what you ‘need’ to hear and not necessarily what you ‘want’ to hear!
Be your own cheerleader. Don't rely on others though; they are your additional support. The support starts with you and your internal conversation.
You vs You
Don’t compare yourself to others on a similar journey; measure your own success. It is you vs you so don’t be tempted to compare your ‘Chapter One’ to somebody else’s ‘Chapter Ten’.
Other people, social media accounts and groups can be a great motivator and provide inspiration but following other people on a similar journey can have a negative impact, so pay attention to how you feel.
How are you measuring your success? Do you measure the quantitative and qualitative data? How do you think and do you feel better? What have been the other improvements; maybe confidence, new friends etc.? What might you have missed out on if you had not started this journey?
Consider all the benefits not just the obvious ones or the ones you were expecting. You might surprise yourself with the number of benefits you weren't planning.
Enjoy The Journey
Enjoy and trust the process of the journey. This is even more important for long-term goals. The activities and lifestyle, behaviours and changes needed to achieve long-term goals must be sustainable otherwise you will have trouble staying on track.
If you always do what you always did, then you can expect the same outcomes. If what you are doing isn't having the desired outcomes then you need to change it. Variety is also an essential element of this.
Try, try and try again. You may have heard the saying ‘fall down seven times get up eight'. There really is no such thing as failure, only learning and if you can approach your goals with this mindset and attitude, you are more likely to achieve that goal and success.