Do you ever get the feeling that you’re always setting goals, but never quite reaching them? If you have, you’re not alone.
Countless other twenty-somethings, myself included, have encountered the same resistance. Let’s face it: it’s fun and exciting to come up with the goals, and even making a plan to achieve them, but the time and effort it takes to actually make it happen is a force to be reckoned with.
Reckon we must, though, if we want to have any hope of doing what we set out to do.
Over the past few years, I’ve overhauled my strategies for keeping myself motivated on my way to reaching a goal. I’ve used them to launch my own business and write 10,000 words of a novel in a weekend, among other things, and now we’re going to go over some of them together, so you can make incredible things happen with your goals.
1. Figure out an accountability system.
No matter how excited we are about our goal, we need something that’s going to keep us accountable along the way. Some ideas would be:
- Checking in with a friend or colleague who knows what you’re striving for and supports you wholeheartedly
- Creating an account with HabitRPG and setting up tasks related to your goal. You level up and get other questing goodies as you accomplish to-dos, while failing to do daily tasks nudges you closer to mortal peril! (Or losing a level. Same thing.)
- Making a public declaration of your intentions to your followers by writing a blog post or Tweet about what you’re trying to achieve and over what timeline.
- Setting calendar reminders on your phone or in Google Calendar at regular intervals about what you’re trying to do and what landmarks you need to reach at each point along the way. Don’t forget to celebrate these landmarks! They’re just as important as the end result, and motivating, too.
2. Stay healthy.
This might seem like a no brainer, but when you’re spending a lot of time and energy going after a goal you desperately want to achieve, it’s a wee bit too easy for your health to fall by the wayside.
If you’re sick or exhausted (or both!) your motivation will plummet, and then it will get worse because you’ll feel too under the weather to work towards your goal. Vicious cycle, anyone?
- Cut it out. If there’s something you eat regularly that you know doesn’t agree with you but you’ve been reluctant to cut it out, now is the time to try. For thirty days, try phasing out coffee, or dairy, or wheat, or sugar, or whatever it is that makes your body want to curl into a ball and say uncle.
- Stay hydrated. water, green tea, kombucha, the occasional mug of hot cocoa for a treat. Make sure you’re drinking enough, or you’ll be fending off headaches and reaching for snacks.
- Get enough sleep. What this means is going to be different for everyone, but however close you can get to your ideal sleeping schedule (both the number of hours per night and the times it works for you to get to sleep and wake up), make it happen.
- Exercise. Check out some gentle yoga videos on YouTube and do one a day, or go for a walk after work. This will not only help keep you from getting sick, it’ll help ideas flow and keep motivation high!
- Don’t forget your mental health! Whether it’s meditation or prayer or a walk in the forest, do what you need to do to give your mind a rest, even – especially! – when resting feels like the last thing you should be doing.
3. Keep Distractions at Bay
Whether this is a long-haul undertaking or an intense weekend project, distractions are bound to surface. Here’s what to watch out for:
- “I should really do those dishes/clean the litterbox/sort the recycling bin.” Yes, these things need to be done at some point, and yes, some of them need to be done sooner rather than later. If this yearning to do household chores always comes up when you’re sitting down to work on your goal, though, things have gone awry. Chances are your apartment won’t fall apart if you give yourself an hour to work towards your goal before sorting out Muffin’s litterbox.
- It’s basically a law of the universe that as soon as you start making progress on one project, you remember five others you want to tackle. Keep a running list of these things as you go, so you can get them off your mind, knowing they’re somewhere safe where you can access them again in the future, when you’ve accomplished your current goal. I like to keep a section set aside for this in my bullet journal.
Keeping yourself motivated on your way to reaching a goal isn’t always the easiest thing in the world, but it is possible, especially if you take it in small steps.
Look at the points above and decide which ones seem most likely to come up for you, and tackle them one at a time. Taking a proactive approach to problems before they crop up will bring your goal that much closer!
What’s one action you can take today to keep yourself motivated?