3 Ways to Stay Motivated

Is it to have more money? Fame? Your Personal Brand?
Finding your passion, the “thing” that you want to do or to have more than anything else, is key in figuring out what will motivate you to work harder toward reaching it.

If the goal you set is not one that you really feel is important, or if it is a goal that is set by someone else like a coach, a boss, a well-intentioned loved one, then the motivation to reach that goal will be limited.  A goal keeps you up at night, gets you up early in the morning, and gnaws at the back of your brain till you achieve it. 

How Can I Motivate Myself to Work Harder?

Specifically, the goal has to be something that YOU want for yourself, not something that will only benefit another person. For example, if you are trying to get motivated to stop smoking because your spouse has asked you to, but it’s a habit you really enjoy, then ask yourself who is the beneficiary of this goal?

if you are not personally invested in the goal, the likelihood of success is greatly reduced.

In the three steps below, you have a guide to becoming more motivated to reach the goals you set for yourself. You can also use these steps to reach goals that you need to reach at work or in other areas of your life. Setting specific goals, being accountable for those goals, and rewarding yourself when you reach them will help you stay motivated toward any goal that you wish to reach.

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#1 – Be SMART

Define your goal, and be SMART about it. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-limited.

They should be framed in such a way that if you ask “did I accomplish my goal?” the answer should be simply “yes” or “no.” Having a goal that meets these criteria helps you know exactly what you need to do in order to say “I did it.”

A specific goal is one that answers the“W” questions: who, what, when, where, why.

For example I want to finish the Shamrock Shuffle 5K on March 24th in Chicago in under 30 minutes so I can break my personal record and get my first racing t-shirt. This is a goal that can be answered easily with “yes” or “no.” Write it down.

Make it measurable.

What steps are you going to take to reach this goal? How many times per week are you going to run? Where? How will you keep up with your distance and speed to measure your progress? When you measure your progress, you are able to stay motivated toward your goal, celebrating milestones along the way to your goal.

Is it attainable?

When you review the steps you have to take to reach your goal within the specified time frame, does it motivate you to succeed, or does it seem like too much for the time frame?

Is it reasonable?

Look at your abilities. If you have health conditions that prevent you from being able to run a 5K, is this a realistic goal for you? Having high goals can be motivating, more than having low goals. Working to reach a goal that seems a bit too hard can motivate you to work harder. Having a goal that is impossible can be demotivating so try to keep that in perspective. 

Set a time frame that works.

When you review the steps to reaching your goal, does it look as though you can reach your goal by the date you set? Having a time limit on your goal keeps you motivated toward the end result. Setting milestones along the way helps avoid procrastination as there are small rewards along the way to reaching your final goal.  Having goals with no timeline ensures you will never achieve them.

#2 – Be Accountable

Having someone that is aware of what you are working to accomplish can help you stay motivated toward your goal.  Make sure this is someone who will push you and keep you accountable.  They should encourage you.

Find a partner to keep you motivated.

Just the knowledge that you may have to tell someone what you have and have not accomplished toward your goal can be enough motivation to keep you going if you choose the right accountability partner.  Its easier to get up early in the morning for your run if you know someone is counting on you to be there.

Is your partner motivated to help?

Make sure that they understand the importance of completing your goal and any small steps that you must take along the way to get to the goal in time. Have them set up some way to text you as a reminder or ask for updates as needed. They can also simply send you encouragement if they have no interest in what you are doing in your goals.  As them to appreciate your effort and you should appreciate their support.

Not ready to let your friends and family in on your goals?

That’s okay! There are also many groups online to seek out accountability, depending on your goals. Find like-minded people that have the same interests through internet searches, if you feel that having anonymity is more in line with your particular goal.

The key is to have someone on your side so that you are not going into this alone. Having a motivational partner or a group of people to keep you going will push you to succeed, and you may inspire others at the same time.

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#3 – Be Rewarded

Everyone likes to get something for their accomplishments. So why not reward yourself when you reach your goal or a step closer to your goal? Go ahead and decide what that reward will be so that you can know what you are working toward beyond the goal. Having that knowledge will further motivate you toward the goal and help keep you on track.  I recommend taking pictures of your reward and looking at them to motivate you each day.

Remind yourself of your reward.

As you progress through the steps toward your goal, remind yourself how much closer you are to your reward. Print out a picture of your reward and post it somewhere you will see it as a consistent reminder of your motivation toward completing the goal.

Your reward should be in line with your goal.

It wouldn’t be beneficial if you rewarded yourself with a heavy meal out if your goal was to lose weight, so plan accordingly. Perhaps an outfit that compliments your new shape would be more appropriate.

A motivational reward doesn’t have to cost money, either.

Perhaps you will reward yourself with a day in which your spouse takes the kids out to the park or to visit friends and you spend time doing whatever feeds your soul. Maybe your reward is spending the day with your kids; that could be exactly what you need!

Whatever it is, it needs to be so important to you, that it motivates you to reach it, regardless of how difficult the road to your goal is.

Motivation is Personal

Determining what will motivate you will be personal. In the end, it really depends on how much you want the outcome to happen. You can feel motivated if you WANT to feel motivated, and that goes back to defining a goal that YOU want, rather than a goal that someone else wants FOR you.

Have a business starting up and want to have it self-sustaining and profitable by the end of the first year?

Set those milestones along the way to motivate you to stay on track. This not only helps with motivation but helps staves off procrastination. Waiting until the last moment to start on a project often leads to lackluster performance and poor results. This can result in a decrease in motivation to try again later or to attempt another goal.

Define your goal, Set the steps to reaching it, and come up with an awesome reward for completing it.

These steps should motivate you to complete the tasks that face you and plan for your own success in a variety of areas in your life.

Each person will find their motivation in different areas of their life, in different activities, and in different accomplishments. Determining what motivates you is key to creating an actionable plan for success that will allow you to reach your goals and keep you motivated to continue working on additional goals.