How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

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How To Stay Committed To Your Goals

How To Stay Committed To Your Goals

In life, the only way to consistently reach your goals is through commitment. Without a committed attitude towards your goals, it can be very difficult to access your fullest potential.

Sometimes it can be difficult to implement this attitude. When we undergo periods of adversity or when we desire to quit an unhealthy addiction, it can be pretty effortful to apply this mindset.

Commitment is defined by the ability to stay true to a particular task or goal, instead of making excuses during times of failure. Nobody but you has the ability to succeed or fail. Although at times, there can be external factors that come into play, you still have the option to stay committed to your goals.

Here are some tips you can use today to develop a committed attitude:

1. Start small

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

One of the best ways I learnt to develop a committed attitude was to start small at the beginning, and work my way up. For many people, it can be strenuous to focus on being committed to the big goals, without having developed this character before. As stated by medium.com, it’s important to create successful habits at the beginning to reach your acquired destination.

Write down 3-5 small goals that you would like to complete over the next few weeks or months and decide at that moment that you will carry it out until the very end. Challenge yourself slightly with those goals. Don’t make it so difficult that it will cause you to procrastinate or quit halfway.

Eventually this habit will become a part of your character, and your self-belief will increase hugely as you chase the bigger things.

2. Stay true to your actions

Before you go to sleep at night, determine which actions are a) most important to take now b) the quickest route to reach your goals.

These actions may involve certain challenges at times. Don’t shut them out! Every challenge has its own opportunity at the end of the road. Focus on the benefits that the end result will provide, instead of fearing the challenge itself and doing nothing.

Do everything you can to develop the habit of completing the tasks you have set the night before. Sometimes the more we fail, the more likely we are to procrastinate the next day. If you so happen to miss out on a task because of an emergency, tell yourself that you will complete the task the next day, and add something small as an extra on top.

This will keep your mind focused on success in times of failure! Eventually you will form the habit of taking consistent and valuable action!

3. Anticipate Change

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

Things don’t always go smoothly! Sometimes when we work towards success in a certain project or goal, external factors can prevent us from taking action.

Continuously changing is not a habit that should be employed. However certain circumstances can happen which we should prepare for.

If you want to succeed in anything, you must understand that change can happen, but at the same time keep your eye on the prize. Failure in achieving your goals should not even be considered! Develop the attitude that whatever you tell yourself you will do, you will do it. A large quantity of successful people go by this motto in life. If any changes do occur, figure out how you can counteract those circumstances and still succeed.

This is key to developing a strong self-belief! If you want to grow constantly and achieve your goals, succeeding during times of change is the most valuable way!

4. Mini Steps Towards The Big Picture

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

When you have a big milestone set in mind, it’s highly recommended to introduce a number of small goals to reach that desired end result.

There are a number of reasons for this:

Firstly, frequently succeeding in achieving the small goals will continuously develop your self-belief and desire to achieve bigger and better results.

Secondly, you will begin to realize your potential as you continuously notice yourself improving.

Thirdly, when you have a certain direction to take to reach your desired end, those small goals will allow you to see first-hand how close you are getting.

By setting tasks, and continuously carrying them out until the end result is achieved, your attitude towards success will multiply at a phenomenal rate.

5. Impress Your Subconscious Mind

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

Learning to impress your subconscious mind is a phenomenal asset to possess.

Instead of writing the goal down vaguely, we can choose to create a scene that would imply the achievement of that goal.

For Example: If the end result you desire is to earn $250,000 per year, you could simply define a scene which would occur if you had already achieved your goal.

Maybe when you succeed in achieving your financial goal of $250,000 per year, you might like to take a sibling out for a holiday on a private jet. By simply defining the scene, it will motivate you greatly to achieve the end result. As an added bonus, think about the scene often as if it’s actually occurring now. You can do this through visualization, or you can simply affirm it to yourself often as if the scene is already happening.

“I’m now sitting inside a private jet and it’s so spacious. Looking back, I’ve done such a good job to get to this point where I’m finally earning $250,000 per year. It’s actually so amazing to be sitting inside this jet right now. Look at the perfectly-fitted Louis Vuitton that I’m wearing. This is an amazing accomplishment. Looking back at my old life, I’ve transformed so much into this truly successful individual.”

You can think about your goal in any way you like. However, by thinking about the scene often, you will begin to operate on the same rhythm as your goal. This will cause you to automatically generate ideas and almost magnetize certain situations to help you reach that desired end.

6. Make It A Fun Process

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

Goal achieving should always be a fun process! When you are committed to your goals, you will find yourself developing at an exponential rate! The more you stay true to your goals, the more obsessed you will become, and the more enjoyable the process will feel.

Make commitment a strong habit and you will find yourself on the route to success very quickly!

This article is an excerpt from Atomic Habits, my New York Times bestselling book.

We all have goals and dreams, but it can be difficult to stay focused and stick with them.

Each week, I hear from people who say things like, “I start with good intentions, but I can’t seem to maintain my consistency for a long period of time.”

Or, they will say, “I struggle with mental endurance. I get started but I can’t seem to follow through and stay focused for very long.”

Don’t worry. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else.

For example, I’ll start one project, work on it for a little bit, then lose focus and try something else. And then I’ll lose focus on my new goal and try something else. And on and on. When everything is said and done, I’ve stopped and started so many times that I never really made much progress.

Maybe you have felt this way too.

This problem reminds me of a lesson I learned while working out one day…

The Myth of Passion and Motivation

On this particular day in the gym, there was a coach visiting who had worked with thousands of athletes over his long career, including some nationally-ranked athletes and Olympians.

I introduced myself and we began talking about the process of improvement.

“What’s the difference between the best athletes and everyone else?” I asked. “What do the really successful people do that most don’t?”

He mentioned the factors you might expect: genetics, luck, talent. But then he said something I wasn’t expecting: “At some point it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day, doing the same lifts over and over and over.”

His answer surprised me because it’s a different way of thinking about work ethic. People talk about getting “amped up” to work on their goals. Whether it’s business or sports or art, you hear people say things like, “It all comes down to passion.” Or, “You have to really want it.” As a result, many of us get depressed when we lose focus or motivation because we think that successful people have some bottomless reserve of passion. But this coach was saying that really successful people feel the same lack of motivation as everyone else. The difference is that they still find a way to show up despite the feelings of boredom.

According to him, it’s this ability to do the work when it’s not easy that separates the top performers from everyone else. That’s the difference between professionals and amateurs.

Working When Work Isn’t Easy

Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated.

When I was an athlete, I loved going to practice the week after a big win. Who wouldn’t? Your coach is happy, your teammates are pumped up, and you feel like you can beat anyone. As an entrepreneur, I love working when customers are rolling in and things are going well. Getting results has a way of propelling you forward.

But what about when you’re bored? What about when the work isn’t easy? What about when it feels like nobody is paying attention or you’re not getting the results you want?

Are you willing to work through 10 years of silence?

It’s the ability to work when work isn’t easy that makes the difference.

It’s Not the Event, It’s the Process

All too often, we think our goals are all about the result. We see success as an event that can be achieved and completed.

Here are some common examples…

  • Many people see health as an event: “If I just lose 20 pounds, then I’ll be in shape.”
  • Many people see entrepreneurship as an event: “If we could get our business featured in the New York Times, then we’d be set.”
  • Many people see art as an event: “If I could just get my work featured in a bigger gallery, then I’d have the credibility I need.”

Those are just a few of the many ways that we categorize success as a single event.

But if you look at the people who are consistently achieving their goals, you start to realize that it’s not the events or the results that make them different. It’s their commitment to the process. They fall in love with the daily practice, not the individual event.

What’s funny, of course, is that this focus on the process is what will allow you to enjoy the results anyway…

If you want to be a great writer, then having a best-selling book is wonderful. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of writing.

If you want the world to know about your business, then it would be great to be featured in Forbes magazine. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of marketing.

If you want to be in the best shape of your life, then losing 20 pounds might be necessary. But the only way to reach that result is to fall in love with the process of eating healthy and exercising consistently.

If you want to become significantly better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it. You have to fall in love with building the identity of someone who does the work, rather than merely dreaming about the results that you want.

Fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with repetition and practice. Fall in love with the process of what you do and let the results take care of themselves.

This article is an excerpt from Chapter 19 of my New York Times bestselling book Atomic Habits. Read more here.

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How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

Achieving our goals is seldom easy. It’s why knowing how to stay motivated is so incredibly important when it comes to getting what we want in the long term. And in a world with more distractions than ever before — from non-stop web access to constant texting — it can be all the harder to stay focused and productive and not just give in to what’s easier in the moment.

I’ve often struggled with motivation, whether it’s been related to my career, my health, or just getting better at a hobby I enjoy. And while it’s not always the biggest deal (it’s not really all that vital that I learn to play my favorite song on the ukulele by my birthday), sometimes it really worries me. I don’t want to be filled with regret at some point down the line because I didn’t follow through on something I really wanted, and I also don’t want to feel like I failed at achieving the things that are important to me, all because I couldn’t figure out how to stay motivated.

Because this is a topic that matters to me, I delved into some pretty serious online research, as well as checked in with an expert, to find the absolute best ways to stay motivated in life. If you’re looking for ways to help yourself achieve your goals, here are 11 tips that should help.

1. Don’t Assume Money Will Motivate You

In an interview with Bustle over email, motivational trainer (plus business and life coach) Karen Strunks says, “Many people think money alone will be enough to motivate them, and whilst that may do so initially, it’s very hard to sustain financial motivation if the work you are doing actually drags. If you do that type of work for long enough you will find that no amount of money is worth swapping parts of your life in activities that aren’t aligned with who you are and what truly is your passion and mission in life.” So first things first, be true to yourself when it comes to setting goals!

2. Make Sure They’re Your Goals

And on that note, Strunks also says that, “One of the biggest challenges in staying motivated and sticking to our goals is in making sure that the goals we have set our ones we really want to attain.” She went on to note, “Sometimes we set goals based on what we think we ‘should’ do. Or we base them on what other people say.” Make sure you’re going after something that you want and that makes you happy — it can make all the difference.

3. Visualize The Results

According to a piece featured on Forbes about staying motivated, it’s important to visualize the end result and what it will feel like when you’ve achieved your end goal. This means visualizing the sweat on your back, the feeling of relief, the utter excitement — this is what will fuel you on days when you don’t feel like working.

4. Break The Goal Down Into Smaller Pieces

The same Forbes compilation piece recommended breaking your goals down into smaller, more task-oriented goals — and set target deadline for those tasks. For example. if your goal is “re-organize my entire closet,” start by saying, “First I’m going to tackle the shoes, then the belts, then the winter coats in the back,” etc. This method can make even the biggest task feel more manageable.

5. Tap Into Other People’s Energy

In a piece for Inc, small business advisor Marla Tabaka stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with positive thinkers who emanate positive energy. “Do you have people in your life who can engage in stimulating conversation about business or the other things that you’re passionate about? As human beings we give and receive energy and inspiration. Make sure you are receiving as much, or more, than you are handing out,” Tabaka wrote.

6. Get Organized

Tabaka also recommended taking time to sit down and organize your thoughts. “When I’m working on a big project, nothing zaps my energy more than an over-stimulated, cluttered mind,” she wrote. So instead, sit down and move the process from your head to an actual organized list, or talk out what you’re thinking with a trusted friend (or both). Then schedule specific times to complete each task. This is key to getting what you want.

7. Keep The Big Picture In Mind

One of my favorite YouTube personalities, Tessa Violet, stressed the importance of keeping your “top tier” goal in mind at all times, even when doing the less pleasant, more menial tasks related to it. That way, she said, “If you’re having a week where you feel like [you’re’] not motivated to do the work, you remember, ‘My goal isn’t about finishing the work. My goal is about something bigger.'”

8. Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control

In a piece for The Huffington Post, life coach Stacia Pierce said to “take control of what you can, and don’t worry about what you can’t.” So if you often find yourself paralyzed with the “what ifs” (as in, “What if I write this and no one reads it,” “What if I don’t get accepted into the program,” etc, etc) let it go and just focus on turning out quality work.

9. Seek Out Positive Information

Pierce also recommended reading or listening to positive information every single day. “If you fill your mind with uplifting and inspiring information, it will keep you motivated. Go to the bookstore or library today and find at least one book on a positive topic that will give you a boost. You need constant reminders telling you that you are capable of achievement,” she wrote.

10. Remind Yourself Why You Set The Goal

In a piece for Tiny Buddha, integrated channeler Maria Moraca said that when things feel overwhelming, just take a few moments to sit back and remind yourself why you chose your path in the first place. Was it to help people? Was it because you knew your end goal would lead to long term happiness, even if it was short term work? This can always help you find clarity in the worst moments.

11. Be Consistent

And finally, Strunks also stressed the importance of being consistent with your work, writing, “take consistent action every single day.” This means that even if you’re totally not in the mood, do one small proactive thing that will move you towards your ultimate goal — even if it’s just a tweet.

Staying motivated is absolutely within your reach — it’s often just about keeping your end goal in mind and breaking down the larger end result into manageable smaller steps. Remember — you can do it!

This article was originally published on July 20, 2016

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

Do you struggle to motivate yourself?

As we progress in leaps and bounds, ushering the latest technology into the comfort of our home, we are giving into impulsiveness with every passing day.

We are ushering competition, stress and anxiety into our lives. Amidst bigger dreams and even bigger goals, falling short of contentment at times, can be natural.

Or life could pose with some complex threats such as emotional conflicts and financial insufficiency which could be extremely stressful to combat.

For some people while a sound emotional support helps to a large extent, however for the ones who are generally not very expressive, difficult times can seriously pose a threat to your physical and mental well being.

6 Ways to Motivate Yourself in Difficult Times

In such difficult times, digging deep for inspiration is important. It is also essential to remain self motivated and nurture yourself during this period. Passion and purpose always go hand in hand and success and happiness follow.

Here are simple and important ways to motivate yourself during difficult times.

1 . Know that ‘This too shall pass’

As the above adage goes, every material condition, positive or negative, is temporary.

Therefore, first and foremost know that difficult times are just a phase which will eventually disappear. Every individual on this earth dwells with their respective share of difficulties. The more we experience, the more we grow.

Hold yourself together and try to remain with perseverance during tough times. You cannot choose or control your circumstances, but you can choose your attitude towards your circumstances. Realize that you have come a long way. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

2 . Create A Purpose

All of us have our individual purposes to pursue. Invest in larger and deeper goals of life. De-clutter and start simple and eventually, work your way towards them one by one.

Be true to yourself and evaluate your current state of being. Analyze how much work you can do in the present circumstances and begin small. If you are facing financial strains, consider changing career options or enrolling for a learning course which will give you that breakthrough.

Develop a mantra in life. Write it down and look at it every morning you wake up and ensure that you swear by it for the rest of the day.

3 . Take A Break from Your Worries

Let go off your worries for once and venture out. Take a break. Spend considerable time outdoors amidst nature. Take a break at the beach or the mountains or simply go for a long drive during the weekend.

Venture with friends or just go alone. You can go camping and spend a few days away from all the materialistic pleasures.

Switch off your phone, laptop or other gadgets when you are on vacation. Open your mind and think empowering and expansive thoughts. Breathe and feel the moments.

4 . Surround Yourself With People Who Care

Family and friends can be your support during hard times.

Many of our worries come from self doubt. Keep in touch and confide into people who care for you and who want to see you succeed. Have open conversations about your stressful times and allow them to share advice and thoughts. Socialize with optimistic people.

If you live away from family, call them and speak to them often. Meet up friends and indulge in light conversations. Motivation is contagious and the moment you interact with individuals who are cheerful and upbeat, you will catch the vibe too.

5 . Love Yourself

Hard times can take on a toll on your health. Ensure that you drink enough water and maintain healthy eating habits.

Get enough sleep everyday and when you do so, detach yourself from all the gadgets and distractions. Wake up early and begin your day. Make your mornings simple and stress free. Have a wholesome breakfast. Exercise regularly and listen to music.

Celebrate even the smallest of accomplishments. Maintain a journal to note down your thoughts, emotions and aspirations. Do not compare yourself with others. There will always be people ahead of you and some of them, much ahead. Focus on your results, instead of others’.

6 . Pursue A Passion

Pursuing a creative habit would inculcate concentration and bring peace. It’s the seriously the best way to motivate yourself.

It will divert you from your constant worries. Remember, that anxiety will not assist you in motivating yourself in difficult times. You need to demonstrate ultimate perseverance and perform to the best of your opportunities if you want to sail out of tough times.

You could join the local salsa classes, take piano lessons or simply learn a new language. Do something what you’ve always wanted to do or something you are good at. Harnessing your creative side will make you bring more peace into your soul.

Additionally, your mind will not have to rigorously function. You will find solace in your creative endeavors.

Summary

Life is of greater ease to those who possess wisdom and practice perseverance.

Be kind to yourself. When you let go of yourself, going gets even more difficult. Refuse to worry about circumstances which are beyond your control.

Life is not a bed of roses for anyone. Each of us share a balanced proportion of good and bad times.

Difficult times make us braver and stronger. Equip yourself so that no matter how hard times get, you are able to motivate yourself and sail through until you regain peace and harmony back in life.

Live! Love! Laugh!

How do you motivate yourself? Leave a comment below.

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

Achieving our goals is seldom easy. It’s why knowing how to stay motivated is so incredibly important when it comes to getting what we want in the long term. And in a world with more distractions than ever before — from non-stop web access to constant texting — it can be all the harder to stay focused and productive and not just give in to what’s easier in the moment.

I’ve often struggled with motivation, whether it’s been related to my career, my health, or just getting better at a hobby I enjoy. And while it’s not always the biggest deal (it’s not really all that vital that I learn to play my favorite song on the ukulele by my birthday), sometimes it really worries me. I don’t want to be filled with regret at some point down the line because I didn’t follow through on something I really wanted, and I also don’t want to feel like I failed at achieving the things that are important to me, all because I couldn’t figure out how to stay motivated.

Because this is a topic that matters to me, I delved into some pretty serious online research, as well as checked in with an expert, to find the absolute best ways to stay motivated in life. If you’re looking for ways to help yourself achieve your goals, here are 11 tips that should help.

1. Don’t Assume Money Will Motivate You

In an interview with Bustle over email, motivational trainer (plus business and life coach) Karen Strunks says, “Many people think money alone will be enough to motivate them, and whilst that may do so initially, it’s very hard to sustain financial motivation if the work you are doing actually drags. If you do that type of work for long enough you will find that no amount of money is worth swapping parts of your life in activities that aren’t aligned with who you are and what truly is your passion and mission in life.” So first things first, be true to yourself when it comes to setting goals!

2. Make Sure They’re Your Goals

And on that note, Strunks also says that, “One of the biggest challenges in staying motivated and sticking to our goals is in making sure that the goals we have set our ones we really want to attain.” She went on to note, “Sometimes we set goals based on what we think we ‘should’ do. Or we base them on what other people say.” Make sure you’re going after something that you want and that makes you happy — it can make all the difference.

3. Visualize The Results

According to a piece featured on Forbes about staying motivated, it’s important to visualize the end result and what it will feel like when you’ve achieved your end goal. This means visualizing the sweat on your back, the feeling of relief, the utter excitement — this is what will fuel you on days when you don’t feel like working.

4. Break The Goal Down Into Smaller Pieces

The same Forbes compilation piece recommended breaking your goals down into smaller, more task-oriented goals — and set target deadline for those tasks. For example. if your goal is “re-organize my entire closet,” start by saying, “First I’m going to tackle the shoes, then the belts, then the winter coats in the back,” etc. This method can make even the biggest task feel more manageable.

5. Tap Into Other People’s Energy

In a piece for Inc, small business advisor Marla Tabaka stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with positive thinkers who emanate positive energy. “Do you have people in your life who can engage in stimulating conversation about business or the other things that you’re passionate about? As human beings we give and receive energy and inspiration. Make sure you are receiving as much, or more, than you are handing out,” Tabaka wrote.

6. Get Organized

Tabaka also recommended taking time to sit down and organize your thoughts. “When I’m working on a big project, nothing zaps my energy more than an over-stimulated, cluttered mind,” she wrote. So instead, sit down and move the process from your head to an actual organized list, or talk out what you’re thinking with a trusted friend (or both). Then schedule specific times to complete each task. This is key to getting what you want.

7. Keep The Big Picture In Mind

One of my favorite YouTube personalities, Tessa Violet, stressed the importance of keeping your “top tier” goal in mind at all times, even when doing the less pleasant, more menial tasks related to it. That way, she said, “If you’re having a week where you feel like [you’re’] not motivated to do the work, you remember, ‘My goal isn’t about finishing the work. My goal is about something bigger.'”

8. Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control

In a piece for The Huffington Post, life coach Stacia Pierce said to “take control of what you can, and don’t worry about what you can’t.” So if you often find yourself paralyzed with the “what ifs” (as in, “What if I write this and no one reads it,” “What if I don’t get accepted into the program,” etc, etc) let it go and just focus on turning out quality work.

9. Seek Out Positive Information

Pierce also recommended reading or listening to positive information every single day. “If you fill your mind with uplifting and inspiring information, it will keep you motivated. Go to the bookstore or library today and find at least one book on a positive topic that will give you a boost. You need constant reminders telling you that you are capable of achievement,” she wrote.

10. Remind Yourself Why You Set The Goal

In a piece for Tiny Buddha, integrated channeler Maria Moraca said that when things feel overwhelming, just take a few moments to sit back and remind yourself why you chose your path in the first place. Was it to help people? Was it because you knew your end goal would lead to long term happiness, even if it was short term work? This can always help you find clarity in the worst moments.

11. Be Consistent

And finally, Strunks also stressed the importance of being consistent with your work, writing, “take consistent action every single day.” This means that even if you’re totally not in the mood, do one small proactive thing that will move you towards your ultimate goal — even if it’s just a tweet.

Staying motivated is absolutely within your reach — it’s often just about keeping your end goal in mind and breaking down the larger end result into manageable smaller steps. Remember — you can do it!

This article was originally published on July 20, 2016

Goal-setting isn’t canceled in 2020—it just looks different.

Setting sights on the future can be a daunting task right now. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic dictating our calendars and rewriting the days, weeks, and months as we know them, it may seem easiest to just throw out the agenda and go along with the whims of the world. However, while staying in the present has its benefits, we don’t have to give up on looking into the future altogether; we just need to shift how we’re going about it.

After all, the point of planning ahead and setting goals isn’t simply to achieve them with a 100% success rate but, instead, to create things to look forward to and work toward. Dr. Carla Manly, licensed clinical psychologist and wellness expert, advocates for a mindful approach to goal-setting, which starts with being appreciative of where you are now and then planning for where you want to be in the future. She recommends starting with two basic questions: “What do I want?” and “What do I need?” From there, she says, you can ask yourself how soon you want or need to reach a certain goal and start considering what steps you need to take to get there. So, if you decide you need to establish a better morning routine, you can lay out small goals—like planning to take a walk before starting the work day—throughout the week or month ahead to help you do so.

Another key to setting goals during the pandemic is to adjust to the times. Dr. Manly says she’s seen many of her clients get frustrated and depressed because “people are still trying to set goals with a sense that the world will meet prior expectations and that life will be predictable.” So, being flexible and willing to compromise with your goals is especially important right now. For larger goals, Dr. Manly recommends checking in with your progress every couple of months so that you can reset or restructure your plans as needed.

Keep reading for more of Dr. Manly’s tips for setting goals that will promote a healthier mindset and keep you forward-focused during the pandemic.

It’s easy to buy into the narrative that there are people who are succeeding at quarantine life (i.e. the novel writers, project finishers, and bread bakers) and people who are not—like those of us who are simply struggling to remember to brush our teeth each morning. Dr. Manly explains, however, that this is a dangerous trap to fall into. When setting healthy goals for yourself, it’s important to stay focused on what is reasonable, realistic, and necessary for you to achieve and not to worry about how those goals measure up to anyone else’s.

For someone who is financially stable and has extra time on their hands right now, writing a novel might be a perfectly healthy and achievable goal to set. For others, though, personal goals may be more focused on things like figuring out how to pay the bills, finding new ways to be motivated to get out of bed in the morning, or taking steps to schedule a virtual therapy appointment.

Dr. Manly also notes that it’s important not to compare your current life goals and needs to those from your past. “This is a very difficult and depressing time for many people,” she says. “Just be kind and compassionate with yourself and don’t hold yourself to standards of what you would’ve done at any other time of life.”

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

By Suzanne Gerber, Next Avenue Contributor

Sustaining motivation can be tough under the best of circumstances. So how can you stay motivated when your to-do list runs to four pages, you just got another rejection letter, your adult child announced his plans to move back home, the car and washing machine went on the fritz at the same time and you can’t find time in the day to work on your own personal projects?

We know those pop-psych directives to put a photo of you at your most fit on the fridge or write yourself a check for $1 million and tape it to your computer monitor or plaster your mirrors with affirmations, like “I attract my perfect soul mate.”

Motivation is not magic. It does not come in a bottle. There is no little blue pill for it. But it’s something you can tap into by design then harness. Every inspirational author, speaker and life coach has his own tips (and DVDs and seminars), but over my decades of observing super-successful, high-achieving people, I’ve come up with a list of seven things that are fundamental to sustaining motivation, whether you’re trying to finish a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle or climb Kilimanjaro.

Seven Steps to Staying Motivated

1. Set a goal and visualize it down to the most minute detail. See it, feel it, hear the sounds that accompany the end result (wind rushing through your hair, applause). Elite athletes visualize their performance ahead of time — right down to the smell of the sweat dripping down their face as they cross the finish line.

2. Make a list of the reasons you want to accomplish the goal. In our busy, distracting world, it’s easy to get blown off course. This is why you need to ground yourself in your goal. For extra “success insurance,” write your list with a pen. Studies show that when we write by hand and connect the letters manually, we engage the brain more actively in the process. Because typing is an automatic function that involves merely selecting letters, there’s less of a mental connection.

3. Break the goal down into smaller pieces and set intermediary targets — and rewards. I’ve called this “chunking” long before there was a Wikipedia to explain that there are eight variations of the concept. To me it’s the best non-pharmaceutical antidote to ADHD. Tony Robbins, arguably the foremost motivational speaker and personal development coach, says: “A major source of stress in our lives comes from the feeling that we have an impossible number of things to do. If you take on a project and try to do the whole thing all at once, you’re going to be overwhelmed.”

Enter chunking. My system involves chipping away at a project. Break it down into the smallest realistic steps and only do one at a time. Neuroscience tells us that each small success triggers the brain’s reward center, releasing feel-good chemical dopamine. This helps focus our concentration and inspires us to take another similar step. Try this with your bête noire, whether organizing your papers and bills or setting out to find a new job.

4. Have a strategy, but be prepared to change course. Let Thomas Edison inspire you in this department: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.” “The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

5. Get the help you need. It doesn’t necessarily take a village, but even if you could theoretically accomplish your objective alone, there’s inherent value in sharing your plan. It’s why people get married in front of witnesses. Announcing your intentions sends a strong message to the world and, more important, to your unconscious mind, which can sometimes sabotage our best efforts. Also, we often overestimate our abilities. The flip side is being highly selective about whom you tell and ask for help. It’s akin to the builder’s rule to always get “the right tool for the right job.”

6. Pre-determine how you will deal with flagging motivation. This is not defeatist thinking. On the contrary! It’s (almost) inevitable that at some point along the way, whether because of temporary setbacks or sheer exhaustion, you will need a little boost. When that happens, I think of what others have endured to reach their targets and to quash even the beginning of a pity party, I invoke the most hard-core endurance models I can think of: friends fighting serious diseases and Holocaust survivors.

Winston Churchill is particularly inspirational on this front. After London endured 57 consecutive bombings by the Germans during World War II (the Blitzkrieg), he was invited to address a group of students. In that speech, he uttered his immortal line “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up.”

7. Continually check in with your reasons for carrying on. Despite his all-too-human flaws, Steve Jobs embodied this brilliantly. He once told an interviewer: “I think most people that are able to make a sustained contribution over time — rather than just a peak — are very internally driven. You have to be. Because, in the ebb and tide of people’s opinions and of fads, there are going to be times when you are criticized, and criticism’s very difficult. And so when you’re criticized, you learn to pull back a little and listen to your own drummer. And to some extent, that isolates you from the praise, if you eventually get it, too. The praise becomes a little less important to you and the criticism becomes a little less important to you, in the same measure. And you become more internally driven.”

See the Big Picture

There’s also a more meta, “Why are we here?” way to think about motivation. The great Jewish Rabbi Hillel (alive around the time of Jesus), famously said, “If not you, then who? If not now, when?” If you truly let those words sink in, it’s hard to be slacker.

But perhaps my favorite “put it all in perspective” commentary comes from the Dalai Lama. When asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered, “Man.” Why?

“Because,” said His Holiness, “he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

So what keeps you motivated? We’d love to hear from you.

Suzanne Gerber is the editor of the Living & Learning channel for Next Avenue. Follow Suzanne on Twitter @gerbersuzanne.

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Achieving Your Dreams the Right Way

The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it. – Michelangelo Buonarroti, Renaissance artist

John is reflecting on the last goal that he set for himself. Everything started well – he was making progress, he felt great about what he was doing, and he was excited about future possibilities. But then things unraveled.

The goal took longer to complete than he thought it would, and he became discouraged. And, because he didn’t stop to look at what he had achieved, he lost his drive and focus. Before he knew it, the goal – and the opportunities it would have brought – were forgotten. Sound familiar?

In this article and video, we’ll look at some common mistakes that people make when they set goals . Learn how to recognize these mistakes, so that you can avoid making them yourself!

Avoid these common mistakes when setting your own goals.

Mistake 1: Setting Unrealistic Goals

When you’re exploring possible goals, you need to unleash your imagination and ambition, put your reservations aside, and dream big dreams. However, once you’ve decided on a goal, make sure that it is realistic, and that you can actually achieve it in the time frame that you have set for yourself.

For instance, if your goal is to run a marathon, it’s wildly unrealistic to sign up for one next month, unless you’ve already done several months of training. Or, if your goal is to become CEO of a company, but you have no experience, this goal might not be practical – at least not yet!

To set realistic goals, use SMART Goal Setting strategies: make sure that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Mistake 2: Neglecting Goals That Bring You Joy

Imagine that you’ve just written your list of goals for the next year. You’ve committed to increasing your sales by 15 percent, applying for a promotion, and reading one leadership book each month.

Although this is an ambitious but achievable list of goals, there’s a potential problem: these goals focus only on your career. You’ve completely omitted goals from other parts of your life.

Many people focus solely on their work when they set goals. However, you can’t neglect activities that bring you joy. Goals like writing a book, competing in an adventure race, or starting a home garden might also be incredibly important for your happiness and well-being.

So, when you set your goals, make sure that you strike the right balance between different areas of your life. And remember that “balance” is different for everyone – use the Wheel of Life tool to understand which areas of your life you need to focus on most.

Mistake 3: Underestimating Completion Time

How often has a task or project taken longer than you thought? Probably more times than you can count! You may also say the same for goals that you’ve set in the past.

If you don’t estimate goal completion time accurately, it can be discouraging when things take longer to achieve than you think they should. This can cause you to give up.

So, use Action Programs and effective scheduling strategies when planning your goals. And always pad your timelines to account for delays and setbacks. If you add extra time into your estimate, you’ll feel less pressure to rush and finish by a certain date.

Mistake 4: Not Appreciating Failure

No matter how hard you work, you will fail to achieve goals from time to time. We’ve all been there, and it isn’t fun!

However, your failures are what ultimately determine your character. They also contain lessons that can change your life for the best, if you have the courage to learn from them.

So don’t be too upset if you fail to achieve your goals – just take note of where you went wrong and use that knowledge to reach your goals next time around.

Mistake 5: Setting “Other People’s Goals”

Some people – family, friends, or even your boss – may want to influence the goals you set. Perhaps they feel that they know what’s best for you, or maybe they want you to take a certain path or do certain things.

Clearly, it’s important that you have good relationships with these people, and you need to do what your boss asks, within reason.

However, your goals need to be your own – not anybody else’s. So be politely assertive , and do what you want to do!

Mistake 6: Not Reviewing Progress

It takes time to accomplish goals. And sometimes it can feel that you aren’t making much progress.

This is why it’s important to take stock of everything that you’ve accomplished on a regular basis. Set small sub-goals, celebrate your successes, and analyze what you need to do to keep moving forward. No matter how slow things seem, you probably are making progress!

You can also take this opportunity to update your goals, based on what you’ve learnt. Have your priorities changed? Or do you need to set aside some extra time for a particular goal activity?

Goals are never set in stone, so don’t be afraid to amend them if you need to.

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How to Achieve Your Lifelong Dreams

How to be committed to your goals even during hard times

Buena Vista Images

Don’t let your goals and resolutions fall by the wayside. Chances are that to achieve your dreams and live a life you love, those goals and resolutions are crucial. Goal setting and goal achievement are easier if you follow these six steps for effective and successful goal setting and lifelong resolution accomplishment. See how effective this recommended path is for you.

Deeply Desire the Goal or Resolution

Napoleon Hill, in his landmark book, “Think and Grow Rich,” had it right.

“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.”  

So, your first step in goal setting and achieving your dreams is that you’ve got to really, really want to achieve the goal.

Visualize Yourself Achieving the Goal

Lee Iacocca said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”  

What will your achievement feel like? How will your life unfold differently as a result of your achievement?

If the goal is an object, a trip, or anything that can be visual in nature, some gurus of goal setting recommend that you keep a picture of the item or destination where you see and are reminded of it every day. If you can’t picture yourself achieving the goal, chances are you won’t.

Make a Plan for a Path to Follow to Accomplish the Goal

Create action steps to follow. Identify a critical path. The critical path defines the key accomplishments along the way, the most important steps that must happen for the goal to become a reality.

Stephen Covey said, “All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you’ve thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end inmind.”  

Commit to the Goal by Writing It Down

Lee Iacocca said, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.”  

Many professional consultants and coaches agree completely and recommend this step to accomplish your goals. Write down the plan, the action steps, and the critical path. Somehow, writing down the goal, the plan, and a timeline sets events in motion that may not have happened otherwise.

It is as if you are making a deeper commitment to goal accomplishment. You can’t fool yourself later. The written objective really was the goal. People have pulled written goals out of their desk drawers years after writing them down only to discover that they have achieved them. Written goals are powerful.

Check Your Progress Frequently

Whatever you use, a day planner, an online calendar or notetaking system, a smartphone, or a handwritten list, make sure that you check your progress frequently. People have been known to start their day by looking at their goals and then, scheduling time or action steps to move closer to the end they have in mind. If you’re not making progress or feel stymied, don’t let your optimism keep you from accomplishing your goals.

No matter how positively you are thinking, you need to assess your lack of progress. Adopt a pessimist’s viewpoint; something will and probably is, going to go wrong. Take a look at all of the factors that are keeping you from accomplishing your goal and develop a plan to overcome them. Add these plan steps to your calendar system as part of your goal achievement plan.

Adjust Your Plan if Progress Slows

Make sure that you are making progress. If you are not making progress, hire a coach, tap into the support of loved ones, analyze why the goal is not being met. Don’t allow the goal to just fade away. Figure out what you need to do to accomplish it.

Check the prior five steps starting with an assessment of how deeply you actually want to achieve the goal. The more deeply you want to obtain it, generally, the more motivated you will feel in the face of both optimism and pessimism.

The Bottom Line

This six-step goal setting and achieving system seems simple, but it is a powerful system for achieving your goals and resolutions and even living your dreams. You just need to do it. Best wishes and good luck on your journey to accomplishing your life goals and resolutions. Enjoy the journey.