Whether your goals are small or incredibly significant, one of the biggest challenges people have is staying motivated over a period of weeks, months, or years to actually accomplish the end objective.
Staying on Track to Meet Your Goals
Human beings have a seemingly innate desire to work toward goals. We’re designed in such a way that we embrace challenges and relish the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment. Yet at the same time, most people are decidedly poor at actually meeting the goals they set for themselves. Typically, this has to do with an inability to sustain motivation for long periods of time.
If you want to hit your goals, you have to stay motivated. Here are some simple ways to accomplish this:
Focus on Tiny Gains
When it comes to habit-based goals, you’re much better off focusing on tiny gains (as opposed to trying to accomplish everything in one fell swoop).
The concept of tiny gains is predicated on the idea of one percent daily improvement. If you get one percent better at something every day – which is quite manageable – you’ll be nearly 38-times better by the end of one year. If, on the other hand, you decline by one percent per day, you’re left with virtually nothing at the end of the year.
Stop trying to bite off more than you can chew. It’s healthy to relax by socializing, exercising, or watching a film. Be realistic with your expectations and emphasize one percent daily improvement. Not only will you get closer to your goal each day, but you’ll feel an amazing sense of momentum.
Create Digestible Checkpoints
There’s nothing wrong with having lofty goals, but they need to be broken up into more digestible bits. If your net worth is currently $50,000, but your goal is to be worth $1 million, you’ll need to break this larger goal up into smaller bits. For example:
- $100,000 by next year
- $250,000 within three years
- $500,000 within five years
- $750,000 within seven years
- $1 million within 10 years
The goal is still the same – you’re simply reframing it in a way that makes it more realistic. You can do this with any type of goal (financial, health, career, relationships, etc.).
Use the Seinfeld Strategy
The comedian Jerry Seinfeld has always had a goal of writing at least one joke per day. In response to this very public goal, he was once asked by someone how he stays motivated and consistent. His advice was simple yet profound.
Seinfeld told the man to print off a custom calendar and hang it prominently on a wall in your home or office. Then place a big red marker next to the calendar. For each day that you do your task, put a big red X over that day. (If you miss a day, you don’t get to put an X.) After a few days of doing your task, you’ll have a nice little chain built up. From that point on, your only goal is to not break the chain.
It sounds simple, but it works. Much like the concept of tiny gains, the Seinfeld Strategy works by turning a much larger goal into a series of very small movements.
Want to supercharge your results and further diminish your likelihood of prematurely throwing in the towel? It starts with finding accountability.
As humans, we have this desire to be liked and accepted. And if there’s one thing that damages our self-perceived likability, it’s being a failure. When we’re publicly on the hook for a commitment, we’re much more likely to follow through on it. We don’t want to be ridiculed or ashamed – so we stick with it.
For every goal that you have, tell at least one person what your plans are. Then ask them to follow up with you regularly to see how you’re doing. This simple act of inviting someone in to criticize and encourage will change your entire approach. It doesn’t guarantee results, but it definitely provides another motivating factor.
Putting it All Together
In order to become someone who regularly meets goals and accomplishes impressive feats, you must learn to stay motivated. By using the tips highlighted above, you can take positive steps in the right direction. Feel free to modify them to fit your strengths, weaknesses, and personality.