You’ve spent some time coming up with some important goals. Good job! Setting goals has been linked to higher self-motivation, confidence, empowerment, and autonomy.
At its best, a goal is specific, measurable, realistic, and personally meaningful.
“Goals help keep us accountable, leading us to attain desired outcomes,” explains Dr. Marina Milyavskaya in an Outside Magazine interview. She notes that the steps to achieving a goal can add purpose, energy, and enjoyment to your life.
The doctor is not wrong. However, your motivation is going to ebb and flow. Human nature plain and simple.
Somehow your dreams seem less enticing when the new goal shine has worn off. Moreover, you may doubt your goals and your ability to reach them.
Never fear; success is still within your grasp. Alas, your friends at Zenwise® took a deep dive into the research on goal-setting and how to stay on track.
Please keep reading for our top five tips for keeping motivation front and center.
Break Down Goals
Think of your goal as a river crossing. It’s wide, so you can’t leap across that water in one leap, can you? Nope. Instead, you use stepping stones to reach the other side. Don’t make the tasks so monumental that you’re slogging along for weeks before feeling rewarded. Experts say motivation is highly dependent on the dopamine system. When approaching a goal, pump yourself with these feel-good chemicals by setting and achieving mini goals or milestones.
Here we turn to Mr. Motivation himself, Tony Robins. He says that by rewarding yourself in the moment, your brain elicits positive emotions, leading to the realization that your efforts result in a positive reward. By doing this, he says, your brain will start to link pleasure to accomplishing the task or objective and move towards it in the future. Rewarding yourself for victories, big and small, will make a world of difference.
Seek out friends and family who are naturally encouraging. Even better, if that person shares similar goals, you can be each other’s accountability buddies. Or look for a mentor experienced in the habit you want to change. How did they do it? What were their pitfalls, and how did they persevere?
Get Back On Track
When you mess up – which you will do – don’t freak out. Be kind to yourself and get back on the horse. Remember your ‘why.’ And you maybe revise your goal into something more attainable. Perhaps your goal was too lofty? Weight loss goals often fall into this trap.
Remember to savor your success and take in the good around you as you progress, says neuropsychologist Rick Hansen in a Happify.com interview. “The brain is like Velcro for the negative and Teflon for the positive,” he explains. Dr. Hansen says we need to allow the “warm glow of a job well done to trickle down into the deep recesses of our neural structure.”
Whatever your goal, staying motivated is absolutely within your reach. It’s often just about keeping your end goal in mind and breaking down the larger result into manageable smaller steps.
Looking for some tools to help you fine tune your goals, identify the habits you need to achieve them, and even tools for tracking those habits and your progress? Be sure to download our Goal Setting & Habit Tracking Ebook by entering your email in the form below.
For more info on goal setting, check out our website here.