Momentum and Motivation: 6 Strategies to Keep You Working Towards Your Goals
The old adage “slow and steady wins the race” is actually sometimes true. The tortoise in the story of the tortoise and the hare won the race not because he was the smartest, smallest, or even wittiest. Rather, he won the race due to his laser-focus on the end result: the goal line.
If you struggle to keep momentum and motivation during your own quest to achieve a goal, you’re not alone! Oh my gosh, friend, trust me—you are NOT alone!! (I’m raising my hand over here as someone who is all-too familiar with that struggle.)
Even though plateaus, setbacks, and relapses are completely normal when it comes to life-changing goals, there are many things you can do to keep the fire burning inside you during the journey.
Try these strategies to maintain your momentum and motivation:
1. Take action daily. This is the SINGLE best step you can take in order to further your momentum. Taking action ensures that you’re making progress, no matter how small. Even if you don’t know exactly what action you’ll be taking, just do something—anything—to further yourself. There will be days when you don’t feel like taking action. Days when you feel burned out—like you just need a break. It is on those days when it is MOST important to take action. Even if you don’t “feel” like doing anything, try doing something as simple as visualizing yourself reaching your goal. What is it you’re striving for? Do you see your success? Taking even just 10 minutes to visualize what that will look like will make a huge impact in your success. You may not feel that impact immediately, but, trust me—it’ll help you get there!
2. Find motivational nuggets. Take a few minutes each day to read something inspiring, whether it’s motivational quotes or affirmations to keep your confidence going. Motivational quotes that inspire you can help transcend your mindset away from the daily grind and onto things that are bigger than yourself! When you find this “higher purpose” your goals become more real, more personal, and even more desirable. How awesome is that?!
3. Check your progress. If you’re feeling stuck or like you’re not moving forward, review your goal that you’re trying to accomplish. Write down your goals and check in on your progress each day. Think positively about how close you are to the goalpost rather than how far you are from it. According to a study at the Dominican University in California, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams by writing them down on a regular basis! Here’s a great article that includes a goal-writing challenge—enjoy. 😊
4. Talk to someone! Find another person who has already achieved goals similar to the ones you’re working on. For example, if your goal is to get physically fit, find a bodybuilder, runner, athlete or other like-minded individual whose been in your shoes. If your goal is to open a business, find someone in that same industry to talk with. If you dream of quitting your job to stay home and home-school your kids, talk to someone who has been there and done that. Extract all the wisdom, advice and helpful tidbits that you can from their story. PLEASE, don’t skip this step!! If, after talking to someone, you find that you need to change your goal, that’s okay! Wouldn’t you rather find out now that you’re not meant to be a (fill in the blank) than find out later, after making some major investments or life changes? Just because your goals change doesn’t mean you failed—it just means that you’ve self-discovered that you need to be on a different path. And that, my friend, is a HUGE achievement that you should be extremely proud of!
5. Plan your week. Scheduling time to work on things related to your goals is critical. We use schedules for everything else in our lives, so there’s no reason that time devoted to working on personal goals cannot be included as well. Is anyone here a fan of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? I highly recommend you read it. This is what we call taking care of our “big rocks”.
6. Reward yourself. Small rewards have been shown to motivate everyone from kids to older adults (has anyone else used M&M’s when potty-training their child?). Rewards act as a positive reinforcement, and even affirmation of a job well done. When we’re being rewarded, we tend to continue pressing on towards our goals. Some words of wisdom—make sure those rewards are not counter-productive towards your goal. For instance, if your goal is weight-loss, a small indulgence as a reward is fine, but just be careful not to overdo it.
These are just a few of the things that we can do on a regular basis to keep motivation and ensure that we’re continually making progress.
There’s that key word—"progress”. If we’re taking some action or doing even just one thing on a daily basis that furthers us along in our goals, we’ll feel better about ourselves and be able to keep that momentum.
Other things that we can do on a regular basis to keep momentum and motivation alive is to write in a journal, listen to inspiring talks, join a support group related to our goals, spend a few minutes in quiet meditation on our life’s purpose, or even posting daily reminders. Personal affirmations are huge. This may sound a little hokey at first, but hearing yourself tell yourself positive things in your own voice is extremely powerful. I personally love TED talks, the RISE podcast with Rachel Hollis (available just about everywhere), and playing inspirational music. And, you already know about my love of journals. (Here’s the one I’ve put on my Christmas list… 😉)
The more ALIVE and REAL that we can make our goals, the more inspired and motivated we’ll be to take action and achieve them. Leave me a comment to write down your goals and share them with our community here at The Balanced Life Project! Take that first step towards achieving them!!
Until next time, stay well, friends,