Have you ever set a goal only to be disappointed when that goal is not met? You probably had the best intentions but just weren’t able to follow through. One of the main reasons that people don’t achieve their goals is that they lack self-motivation. People tend to lean on external motivators, such as friends and family, to keep them focused and on track. Friends and family can be great motivators but it is your own self-motivation that will determine if you will achieve your goal or not. Follow these 7 easy steps to increase your self-motivation and commit to your goals.
First, identify your goal and be specific. You want your goal to be specific so that you know exactly what you are working towards. For example, don’t set a goal like “I want to make more money.” Instead, say “I want to make $10,000 more by next year.” When the goal is more specific, you can envision the end result in your mind which helps increase your self-motivation.
Second, break large goals down into small goals. If your goal is too big, it may seem impossible to achieve which will cause you to feel unmotivated. For example, if your goal is to run a 10K but you get winded just running down your driveway, you may feel discouraged after a few weeks and give up. Instead, make small goals such as running one mile within 10 minutes. Once you can run one mile in 10 minutes, set a new goal of running 3 miles within 30 minutes. As you meet each small goal, you will move one step closer to achieving your overall goal of running a 10K.
Third, write your goal down and share it with others. Your goal will feel more official once you write it down. Tape it to the wall of your bedroom or hang it anywhere you will see it often. The more visible it is, the more you will feel motivated to pursue it. Also, when you share your goal with others, it makes you more accountable to achieving the goal. You will feel motivated to hit your goal so that you don’t let others down or feel foolish for making promises that you don’t keep.
Fourth, create an action plan to accomplish your goal. No goal can be achieved without action. If your goal is to increase your salary, you can’t just sit back and hope that you get a $10,000 raise during review time. Instead, you will need to come up with an action plan that will increase your value at work by $10,000. Do you need to learn new skills, take leadership courses, or apply for a new position? Either way, you need a detailed action plan outlining exactly how you will achieve your goal.
Fifth, determine why this goal is so important to you. You will only be motivated to achieve goals that matter to you. Don’t set goals based on other people’s opinions or other people’s vision of your life. Only commit to goals that are important to you and that you really want to achieve. If you don’t know why you should achieve a goal, then you won’t be able to motivate yourself enough to achieve the end results. Once you know why the goal is important to you, visualize how achieving the goal will feel. You can remind yourself of that feeling whenever you begin to feel discouraged.
Sixth, create an encouraging environment. You won’t be able to keep your motivation up if you are constantly surrounded by negativity. If your friends or co-workers constantly put you or your goal down, you will be less likely to succeed. If you can’t remove these negative people from your life, use their negativity as a motivator to prove them wrong. Visualize yourself achieving your goal whenever their negative attitudes start to affect how you see yourself.
Seventh, celebrate the wins and be held accountable for the losses. When you determine your goal and write it down, you should also note a reward and a punishment. If you achieve your goal, you win the reward that you had noted. The reward can be anything from a dinner out with friends to a weekend away. Make sure that the reward is aligned with the goal. Don’t reward yourself for losing weight by eating a chocolate cake. Instead, choose a reward that makes you feel happy but doesn’t jeopardize your long term goals. Celebrating will increase your motivation to stay on track and achieve even bigger goals in the future. Now, you should also punish yourself if you are unable to achieve your goal. You can promise to donate money to a politician that you dislike or spend time on an activity that you don’t enjoy. You will want to pick a punishment that will keep you motivated to achieve your goal. If you really don’t want to take the punishment, you will feel even more motivated to follow through with your goal.