Have you repeatedly delayed starting something exciting because it seems unachievable? Or waited for motivation only to find it never arrives?
Accomplishing a goal can feel amazing but giving up can be devastating. Without structuring your journey, you might be setting yourself up for a cycle of negativity.
Unachieved goals must mean you are lazy or incompetent, right? Wrong! You can fix this starting with how you set off on the journey. That is, in your goal setting. Look at these simple steps to staying on track and enjoying the process.
Begin with Why, not How
It’s easy to become bogged down in work, forgetting why you are doing it in the first instance. This is when work becomes a thankless chore and you lose interest and motivation.
If you feel like sinking to your knees and asking God, “Why?” then it’s probably time to set some new goals, but maybe with a little less of the drama. WHY is the key to your motivation and drive. WHY do you want to achieve this goal? WHY will it make you happy? WHY is this the right way to proceed? And maybe even, WHY haven’t you started yet, if it is the right thing to do?
Do some serious soul searching and ask yourself uncomfortable questions in order to see your motivator with absolute clarity. You don’t want it to fall apart further down the line because you realize you were reaching for the wrong dream.
To make this process of goal-setting a little easier, try following the SMART guide to goal-setting. What is a SMART goal? Briefly defined, it’s a step-by-step tool to help you zero in on the details with a checklist of key criteria.
- Specific (OR simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (OR meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (OR agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (OR reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (OR time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Grab a pen and paper, or keyboard if you prefer, and copy down the list. Now with your goal in mind, check through each individual point to see how your goal measures up. If you find it’s perfect apart from the fact it doesn’t motivate you, you should reconsider why you have set that goal.
Once you’ve exhausted this game of Jeopardy with your brain, you can build a tangible composition of all the things your goal will bring you using the art of visualization. Creating a mood board is great for this. Get a cork board and print photos of everything that your goal encompasses. You can include images from the internet, your own photos, even pictures of people whom you admire and want to emulate, and inspirational quotes.
If you don’t want to physically create the mood board, visit Pinterest to create vivid virtual collages of your dreams. Just be careful not to spend too long there. It can turn into a rabbit hole of eye candy that can suck you in for hours.
Once you have settled on your goal and all the reasons you want to reach it, it is time to take the next step, no matter how small. With every step, look back and check that you are staying on track; it’s easy to get diverted.
And as for motivation, it’s the result of intention! With a great plan in place, you will feel confident and in control, that’s when motivation kicks in and you’re on your way.