When it comes to self-motivation, goal-setting gets all the spotlight. Buoyed by a sense of positivity and confidence, we pour our mental and emotional energy into our aspirations. It’s what fuels the enthusiasm around new years’ resolutions, whether you want to get fit or turn your passion into profit.
But so often, we end up losing sight of our goals and settling for something less. Those dreams and goals seemed so beautiful at first, but after a while, you convince yourself that you’re okay with it remaining a pipe dream.
The key is in developing the ability to stick to your goals in the long-term. As Bruce Lee put it, “Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity.” Here are four practical ways you can actually stick to your goals from here on out.
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The greatest thing you can do for yourself in the pursuit of your goals is to be accountable towards them. Setting ambitious goals alone won’t help you get anywhere if you don’t make sure someone’s there to track your progress towards them, no matter how incremental your successes may be.
Research has shown that just sharing your goals with someone else makes you twice as likely to achieve them. When you know that someone else besides yourself is tracking your progress, you’ll work harder at being consistent.
Additionally, ensure that you have a system in place for you to track your goals. Self-help guru Robin Sharma, for one, recommends taking time at the start of each day to look at what you plan to accomplish for the day and how it fits into your long-term goals.
Holding monthly self-evaluations is also a great help in holding yourself accountable. It doesn’t have to be complicated; the idea is to be honest with yourself. Ask yourself what:
Not every day is going to be high-energy; some days, you’re going to wake up feeling like you’d just rather not. This is exactly when it’s most crucial that you get yourself up and running regardless of whether you’re “in the mood” or not.
Mental resistance is an inevitable obstacle on any path towards success. To minimise the chances of it interfering with your motivation, make sure that you program yourself to follow particular routines every day.
To quote Lao Tzu, actions become habits, and habits become character. If you want to be consistent in working for your goals, you have to condition yourself to do something for it every day without fail. Once it becomes a part of your daily routine, you won’t even think about it; it won’t matter how “out of it” you wake up feeling in the morning.
One way to build a steady daily habit is to use the Seinfeld method:
Sometimes, it’s not that you’re mentally resisting the hustle, it’s that you’re just bored with it. Once you’ve settled into a regular habit, after a while, boredom sets in. Where resistance tempts you to push against your goals, boredom convinces you that you don’t have to push that hard towards them.
According to James Clear, author of New York Times bestseller “Atomic Habits,” you deal with this boredom by (paradoxically) embracing it. Accept that it’s part and parcel of the process you need to go through to get where you want to be.
Prioritise learning and personal excellence over pure success; focus your attention on your current daily practices instead of exclusively in the future. Remember that finetuning your process is instrumental to achieving your desired results.
Unless you’re a machine, you need to accept that if you don’t set aside time to refuel yourself, you’re going to run out of steam at some point. It isn’t just about ensuring that you get enough rest; it’s also about reminding yourself why you started on your journey in the first place.
So many times, we fall short of our goals because we don’t pay enough attention to our well-being in the process of working hard. Hence we tire ourselves out before we reach the finish line.
It’s important to note that “well-being” here refers to holistic health. Being well-rested is crucial to have the physical resources to stick to your goals in the long-term; having mental and emotional clarity is just the other side of the coin.