Staying motivated while working toward achieving one goal can be a difficult task by itself. As entrepreneurs and professionals, most of us have multiple goals. However, after completing one goal, sustaining your motivation can become challenging.
An Emotional Letdown
One of the main reasons motivation becomes zapped is due to the emotional letdown and lack of purpose we feel after one goal is completed.
Earlier this year, I completed my first sprint triathlon. Finishing the race was my #1 goal for 2017 and I trained for months to prepare. At the start of my training, I feared I was in over my head and I wouldn’t be able to finish.
To overcome this fear, I followed the same approach I do with most of my goals, I created a plan for success. I set up a daily training schedule and tracked my progress in each discipline – swimming, biking and running. By the time race day came, I knew I was prepared and I did finish with a respectable time. However, after finishing, instead of feeling accomplished, I felt a major letdown.
Unless I planned on competing in more races, when else was I going to use these skills I spent so much time acquiring? I don’t even have a pool!
Then the thought of what now? raced into my mind. After accomplishing this major goal, I knew that my next goal had to be even bigger. It would seem like I was taking it easy if I just wanted to complete a 5K. Did I even want to attain something else?
This is a common emotion many people feel after accomplishing a long-term goal. You work so hard and focus so much energy on the specific steps needed to succeed, you start to see accomplishing the goal as inevitable. By the time you cross the goal off your list, you don’t feel as fulfilled as you thought you would when you started. Plus, you focused so much time and energy on this one goal, that you seem lost now that’s it complete.
While I felt this way after the triathlon, with a few simple changes, I was able to regain my motivation and start working on new goals.
The first step in regaining your motivation is to take some time to recharge. Burnout is a real issue and can be a major cause of a drop in motivation. After having a single focus for so long, it’s easy to lose sight of the other things in your life – family, friends, etc.
After you complete a goal, take some time to relax. Unplug from social media and maybe go on a weekend getaway with your significant other. Taking the time to reflect on your accomplishment will help you see the importance in your achievement and will help motivate you for your next goal.
Most of the world’s top athletes visualize their performance before the game even begins. If it works to keep multi-million dollar athletes motivated, it should work for you. Focus on the outcome you wish to achieve and then walk through all of the steps needed to reach that outcome. Having a daily ritual of visualizing your success will help your mind stay focused.
In the same way, when you think about a concept, you start seeing the idea everywhere. By reframing your mind, you will start seeing ways to succeed in your everyday life. It’s much easier to stay motivated when your mind is primed for success.
3. Set a Reward
Having a great reward can be extremely motivating. When you don’t feel like putting in the extra time needed to accomplish your goal, having a reward may just give you the boost you need. The key here is to pick a reward you desire. Your reward should be equivalent to the level of effort needed to reach your goal.
It should also be something special.
If you go out to dinner twice a week, that wouldn’t be much of a reward. However, if you’ve been wanting to try that trendy new Italian restaurant, that would be a great reward. Just make sure you commit to not going until you’ve accomplished your goal.
4. Write Down Your Goals
Handwritten notes are quickly becoming a thing of the past. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a letter instead of an email or text. But when it comes to goal setting, handwriting has technology beat.
It turns out our brains are wired to learn more effectively when we write something down. Something about the act of physically writing helps cement those ideas in our minds. So if you want to stay committed, write down your goals. In fact, rewrite them each week.
The more you drill into your brain what you want to achieve, the easier it will be to stay motivated.
5. Gradual Goals
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to set an all-encompassing goal.
While two or three, massive goals may seem like a great idea, in my personal experience, after you complete one it’s usually much harder to stay motivated for the others. You dedicated so much time and energy to one goal, that it’s hard to start over again on the next one. That’s why when setting goals, I recommend you break up large goals, into smaller, more gradual ones. This way you get small wins quicker along the way to reaching your larger goal. Plus, with gradual goals, each accomplishment builds on the next, so when you’re done with one, you’ll be more motivated to continue.
6. Get a Buddy
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn’s often quoted saying, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with” is excellent advice when it comes to staying motivated.
Recent studies have shown that weight loss spreads through a group of friends. Just think about it, if all of your friends are losing weight, you’ll think twice before having dessert. When you’re accountable to someone else, it’s much easier to stay motivated. We can lie to ourselves about our progress, but it’s almost impossible to lie to a friend or spouse. You won’t want to let them down, plus they’ll easily be able to verify whether you’re telling the truth.
Next time you’re lacking motivation, just try these 6 tips. Before you know it, you’ll be accomplishing more goals than you ever thought possible.