Many people feel as if they’re adrift in the world. They work hard, but they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile.
A key reason that they feel this way is that they haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from life, and haven’t set themselves a formal goals. After all, would you set out on a major journey with no real idea of your destination? Probably not!
Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. But goals aren’t enough, you need more and we’ll cover that in a second.
The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.
Having a goal is an easier part. Reaching it? Well, that’s something else entirely. If you’re frustrated because you feel like you keep coming up short when it comes to realizing your dreams, maybe it’s time to try a different approach.
Goals that get reached are those that are firm, well-defined, and to which you are truly and completely committed. Ask yourself why you want to achieve that particular goal. What will that do for you? Why is it important? What will your life be like when you have reached it? How will achieving your goal change things for you?
A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants (some of which we’ve included in parenthesis), SMART usually stands for:
- S - Specific (or Significant).
- M - Measurable (or Meaningful).
- A - Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
- R - Relevant (or Rewarding).
- T - Time-bound (or Trackable).
One of the biggest challenges in meeting any goal, whether it be related to productivity, waking early, changing a habit, exercising, or just becoming happier, is finding the motivation to stick with it.
If you can stick with a goal for long enough, you’ll almost always get there eventually. It just takes patience, and motivation.
Motivation is the key, but it’s not always easy, day in and day out, to find that motivation.
8 Ways to Motivate Yourself From the Beginning
It’s important to start out with the right motivation, because a good start can build momentum that you can sustain for a long time. If you start out right, you have a much better chance of succeeding. Here are some tips for starting out:
- Start small. It’s one of the most important tips in motivating yourself toward a goal. Don’t start out big! Start out with a ridiculously easy goal, and then grow from there. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.
- One goal. Too many people start with too many goals at once, and try to do too much. And it saps energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.
- Examine your motivation. Know your reasons. Give them some thought … and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.
- Really, really want it. It’s not enough to think it would be cool to achieve something. It has to be something you’re passionate about, something you’re super excited about, something you want deeply. Make sure that your goal meets these criteria, or you won’t stick with it for long.
- Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. No, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
- Get excited. Well, it starts with inspiration from others but you have to take that excitement and build on it. Talk to your family about it, read as much about it as possible, and visualize what it would be like to be successful. Once you’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.
- Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. By delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.
- Print it out, post it up. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (“Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.
But sometimes being motivated is not enough! You really have to uncover how momentum is created and most importantly how to get it back when it’s gone. And then when you’ve got it – how to keep it!
We’re excited to welcome Michael Bernoff, a brilliant personal development coach, to the BeWellBuzz family. He’s an expert that helps many people to successfully reach their goals consistently. Watch the video below that has a special message from him that will help you achieve your goals.