Motivation is the High We’re Always Chasing
The Nike slogan “Just Do It” makes the idea of working toward our goals feel easy. If you’ve ever had an ambitious goal to crush, you realize there’s a massive gap between “just doing it” and achieving a goal.
It often requires a mental shift, that doesn’t happen with the snap of a finger. In my post How to Hold Yourself Accountable, With no Motivation, you learn that we always have the motivation (read that post to see what the real problem with motivation is).
With my husband’s stroke recovery, two young children, and my projects, these are four tips for motivation. They’re sanity savers that keep you on track, even when life gets crazy.
Motivation Tip 1: Love and Hate Both Motivate
My husband and I joked about having kids in the tiny, run-down apartment where he grew up. The plan was to “squat” there for a year, to work and save. Two children, two cats, and a dog later, I lost most of the sanity I had.
It’s safe to say that our initial one-year goal went into overtime. Moving from the suburbs to the crowded boroughs disagreed with me on a good day.
Our 3rd-floor walk-up, (with a wobbly walker, baby in the portable car seat, and groceries), weren’t even close to what I imagined. Ironically, the discomfort I felt in that situation is what forced me off of the entrepreneurial cliff.
While love for something or someone can motivate us to conquer the world, it’s often our discomfort, that pushes us into a new realm of motivation.
Our urge to keep the positive vibes rolling may tempt us to ignore feelings of negativity, but this is a disservice. While gratitude goes a long way, keeping it real with ourselves goes even further. Talking ourselves out of discomfort that’s the emotional equivalent of a bikini bottom full of sand, leads to emotional numbing.
Discomfort, even hatred for a situation can be one of the greatest assets to your success. The key is to confront your feelings of discomfort/hate so that it steers your motivation in the right direction.
Motivation Tip 2: Don’t Just Write Your Goals, Track Your Progress
The bigger the goal, the longer it may take to achieve. After months (even years) of chipping away at targets set during a spike in our ambition, remaining motivated without tracking our progress, becomes a losing battle.
It’s easy to lose sight of the progress, mainly when working toward larger goals. Just because you have yet to reach your result doesn’t mean you haven’t been reaping the benefits of working toward it. Gaining new skills, leaving your comfort zone, making new connections are all ways we benefit on the road to achieving our goals.
Between social media marketing, blogging, editing my book, and my courses on the Teachable platform, keeping organized is a must.
Of course, there’s also momming, wifing, and my physical and emotional well-being. Few things help me steer my motivation forward, like visually tracking my progress.
I’m big on visuals, and their ability to help us appreciate our progress. If you’ve read my post 3 Reasons Why Vision Boards Are Time Wasters, you know that not all visuals are equal. The Truthiz app, (whom I’m not an affiliate for), gets the motivational aspect of visual progress tracking right.
While the Truthiz app is a peer feedback platform (allowing anonymous, constructive feedback, while protecting against trolls and bots), it’s become my go-to app for steering motivation and accountability. I’ve tried other goal tracking platforms, but find that they ruin the simplicity I crave by creating too many layers.
Figuring out how to use my goal tracking app isn’t something I have the appetite for. I love that Truthiz has a smooth, straight forward interface. I create a goal type (professional, or physical, for example), set the anticipated finish date, and easily toggle the percentage of completion. That simple check them out at Truthiz.com.
Motivation Tip 3: Journal Your Gains
I mentioned the fact that many goals take us on long term journeys. Of course, we don’t just get to focus on our goals. We participate in every other aspect of our lives while hustling for our dreams.
When I came up with an idea for a type of vacuum that I needed (but wasn’t on the market), I invented one. I began this project eight months pregnant with my now almost five-year-old!
When the fruits of your labor show no signs of a sprout, follow-through becomes difficult. Journaling the tangible and intangible wins along the way helps to keep your perspective.
I could be embarrassed by my slow progress, but I focus on the life-changing lessons and confidence that pursuing such a lofty goal has given me.
Research shows the many mental and physical benefits of journaling. Unlike the goal tracking, I spoke of earlier, this type of journaling should capture things like the experiences that stand out, your feelings, your joy, and frustrations.
Your journal is the place where you can express your most authentic feelings without fear of judgment. It’s also the place you can return to reflect, find patterns, and reflect.
Motivation Tip 4: Adjust Your Goals as Needed
Why on Earth would I advise you to switch or ditch a goal? There are many legitimate reasons to approach goals differently, modify or abandon an intention altogether.
As we discussed, it’s vital to set self-aware goals. You’re more likely to achieve goals when the bites you take match your appetite. Take your appetite for risk, the amount of time, and the resources you have for your pursuits into consideration beforehand
Speaking of self-aware goal setting, the most crucial factor in hitting your targets is making sure your objectives are right for you. Often we blame our lack of dedication, resources, mental toughness, and luck on our failures.
What we seldom look at are our real motivations for pursuing a specific goal in the first place. In other words, it’s harder to make sacrifices for goals that speak more to our ego than to our souls. Is it a goal that your parents pushed onto you? Does moving up the corporate ladder feel like the next natural step, although that next level doesn’t involve utilizing your talents, abilities, and passions?
In the case of realizing that a goal you’re spending precious energy and recourses on isn’t one you sincerely want, I’m all for abandoning ship. Take the lessons you’ve learned and apply them to what you want to accomplish for yourself. It’s incredibly easy to fail at accomplishments that you want for the wrong reasons.
While having a structure is vital in crushing your goals, keeping a degree of flexibility also allows you to keep pushing forward when you get thrown a curveball. It’s smoother to adjust your speed forward than it is to pick up momentum after a complete stop.
Now that you have four of my favorite tips and tools for steering motivation toward achieving your goals let me know which ones you plan on borrowing.