At the close of each year, some of us subconsciously give up on our remaining goals because we think there’s simply no time left. Then, the following year we get sucked into the “New Year, new me” vacuum. We set goals, tell all our friends this will be the year we stick to our goals and they will come to fruition come hell or high water. Like clockwork, by February or March, we decide to throw in the towel and hope no one remembers our grand proclamations. Here are some tips to keep you motivated throughout the year and propel you to greatness.
1. Create your plans for the year, then break them down into monthly and weekly goals. One of the best ways to achieve your goals and stay motivated is to write them down. Writing down your goals helps you to properly think them through and hold yourself accountable. After you’ve written down your goals for 2016, don’t overwhelm yourself, further break them down into monthly then weekly goals. I use the SMART method: making my goals, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. By making your goals specific and time-oriented you’re more likely to achieve them and remain motivated.
2. Visualization. Quite simply, by seeing it and believing it, you can achieve it. Most successful people create a specific mental image of what it will feel like when they win or achieve their goals. They then hold on to that image and use the associated emotions to their advantage. Athletes tend to use it as one of their techniques in their mental conditioning and it’s a tool you can use to keep you motivated and further propel you toward your goals.
3. Manage your emotions effectively. We’re human and will undoubtedly experience a range of emotions including sadness, anxiety and anger. However, it’s important that your emotions don’t become a distraction and interfere with your concentration and performance. One of the best ways of managing a negative emotion is by using it to fuel your motivation. It can take some practice, but it can be done.
4. Positive self-talk. This isn’t to be confused with arrogance. A healthy ego helps you achieve your goals and one of the ways of maintaining a healthy ego is by incorporating positive self-talk or affirmations into your daily routine. Being internally driven will come in particularly handy when a plan doesn’t turn out how you expected it to and you need to pick yourself up and begin again.
5. Surround yourself with supportive people. Sometimes positive self-talk simply isn’t enough. Get a mentor or keep a close circle of friends who can encourage you if or when your motivation starts to wane. Additionally, announcing and explaining your goals to your close circle holds you accountable for your goals. My friends are great at this and so is my uncle. His motivational speaking model is akin to a locker room speech right before a big game. At the end of the speech I usually feel like an unstoppable Muhammad Ali with all my goals within reach. You need people who can call forth your greatness.
6. Mix it up and have some fun. Staying focused and motivated can be fun too. If you’re an entrepreneur, go to mixers or tradeshows. If you’re a writer, go to creative writing groups and the list is endless. Motivation can also come in the form of networking with like-minded people.
7. Keep track of your accomplishments. Use a journal to note your weekly and monthly achievements each time you knock one off your list. I like to jot notes on small pieces of paper, place them in a decorated mason jar and review my journey at the end of the year. There’s nothing more motivational than seeing things that were once goals become reality.
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