Staying motivated

Set some goals recently? Started a new project? Maybe you are now some months into the project and are at the stage of reviewing your progress towards your goal.  I hope you are succeeding.

If not, then staying motivated is a key piece of the puzzle.  Sometimes we might not like the tasks involved with achievement of the goal and so it's easy to become distracted by tasks we like better and then the further behind we fall, the less motivated we become.

Motivation is a renewable resource.  It's not enough to feel motivated at the start of a project; you have to top it up on a regular basis, digging deep through exhaustion or boredom.  Zig Ziglar said:

"People often say that motivation doesn't last.  Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily."

Here are 5 simple ways to help you stay motivated and achieve your goals:

1. Start specific

"Win more clients" "Get more done around the house" "Exercise more" etc just don't cut it.  Make your goal quantifiable so you can track your progress e.g. "Win 6 new clients spending at least £1000 each by end August", "Attend 3 aerobics classes at the gym each week"

If you’ve spent time looking at or working with NLP, then you’ll know the importance of setting well-formed outcomes.  It makes the process of staying motivated so much easier.

Once you have your well-formed outcome write it down somewhere you'll look regularly.

2. Remember why you're doing it

Write a list of all the great reasons why you're doing this; the benefits it will bring and what the end result will look, feel and sound like:

  • Earn a bigger bonus so we can have a better holiday
  • Show my colleagues that I can compete
  • Earn the respect of my boss
  • Make new contacts which will lead to even bigger things
  • Put me in a good position for promotion next year
  • Improve my self esteem

Cover all the angles – that way, when you're struggling to crack on one day or you feel yourself starting to flag, something on the list should give you the necessary boost to take action. 

3. Have fun

If you view the activities associated with your goal or project as 'just another chore' or find them boring and stressful then it is going to be hard to keep motivated!  Find ways to make the tasks more interesting or, dare I say it, fun! Fun is different for each of us so think of little things that will make tasks enjoyable.

4. Try something different

If you're feeling less than motivated and don't seem to be making progress at the rate you'd like, take a moment to look at the whole task.  You might be doing things correctly and efficiently but sometimes that approach isn't the most motivating and so it slows down your progress or just makes it feel like a duty or a responsibility.  Consider whether you could use a different approach – it doesn't mean you're giving up, just looking for a better way.  Keep trying different approaches until you find the one that keeps you motivated and achieves the results you want.

5. Create, track and celebrate achievement of smaller goals or milestones

Smaller goals and milestones act like stepping stones making a big goal seem easier to achieve.  They give you a plan of action and a more frequent sense of achievement as you reach each one.  Make sure you monitor progress so you don't miss out on the buzz of achievement and think about ways to celebrate or reward each step of the journey.


Written by Debbie Stone, Associate Partner at Brilliant Minds

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