How do you stay motivated?
We all know there is only one way to reach a goal: actionable steps and a persistent effort that move us forward.
But the road to our goals is never easy, darn it. If it was we would all be fit and rich and happy. Like many of the actual roads here in Oregon, there are ups and downs and potholes and detours and unforeseen obstacles. How do we keep from just giving up and settling where we are?
Here are several suggestions to consider and I hope one or more of them prove useful to you:
Keep the GOAL in sight and make it specific. Write it down and post it in a place you see everyday or make it into a mantra that you repeat every morning. The goal must be something you can visualize and, even more importantly, something you can see benefit from. If you can’t answer the questions of WHY you want to achieve this goal, the chances are poor that you will make the necessary effort. How will your life be better once you achieve it? What consequences will you face if you don’t achieve it? Fill out the whole picture and keep it close at hand.
Figure out HOW, or what steps you need to take to achieve your goal, and schedule them, but recognize there will be days when you push those steps off and procrastinate. When that lethargy sets in, ask yourself this key question: “What is the smallest step I can take today that will maintain momentum?” For example, if you want to exercise regularly to keep your mind and body sharp, there will be days when you don’t want to do that and some days when it’s a big effort just to get dressed. None of us are “on” all the time. If you decide you can do just 5 minutes of stretching, do that. It may mean you want to continue and get your full workout in, or it may be all you really can do that day. Either way, you are moving forward.
How do you recommit after a setback? Say you lost a big sale you were counting on and now it feels like you will never make your quota. Give yourself a little time to feel sorry for yourself or angry that you were out-sold or disappointed not to be chosen by your customer, but then re-evaluate your action steps in light of this new development. What do you have to add or change to get back to a realistic shot at quota? Do you need to take a whole day just to prospect your customers for new business? Or to follow up on stalled proposals? Whatever it is you need to do, identify it, schedule it, and then it’s business as usual.
When we are walking on a road that has many hills and valleys it is tempting to see valleys as setbacks and to feel like giving up, even though the valleys are just part of the road and you are still moving forward. It is also tempting to reach the top of a hill and decide to settle, but if that hill is not your final goal, you must keep putting one foot in front of the other until you reach it. Congratulate yourself on the climb, take a minute to enjoy the view, and move on to your goal and all the good things that will come with accomplishing it.
Wishing you the joy of achieving your goals,