Whether you’re a student or a young professional starting out in your new career, you’ve no doubt experienced some of the ups and downs that are often associated with reaching your goals. Hitting a low point can cause even the best of us to lose our motivation, or worse yet, throw in the towel all together. Learning to take the good with the bad is integral to a successful career and a happy life. Even more important, perhaps, is the ability to remain motivated during difficult times. Here are some great tips that you can start using today to help you stay motivated towards your goals.
Write Down Your Goals
We’ve been talking a whole lot about writing things down lately, no? At any rate, writing things down helps us to retain information better, so it stands to reason that the same would be true of our goals. Whether you have one goal in mind, or several, take some time to jot it (or them) down in a notebook, or anywhere else that is convenient for you. Post-it notes are great for this, as you can write your goals down and stick them to your computer, where they will serve as a constant reminder of what you’re driving towards.
You’re free to be as creative as you want as you record your goals. Keeping a journal can be a big help too, as you can keep detailed records of the steps you’ve taken towards your goal, what has worked for you, and when you’ve experienced a loss of momentum or motivation. Writing all of this down will help you to remember what was successful, as well as any mistakes or missteps you made along the way, which will make avoiding those same mistakes and missteps far easier.
Be Mindful of Your Purpose
Having goals and working towards them is all good and well, but we must always ask ourselves why we are pursuing them in the first place. After all, if there is no reason why we are striving towards our goals, how should we expect to stay motivated? Let’s say you’re studying to become a teacher. In this case, your goal might be something along the lines of “I want to share my knowledge with others so that they can have a better future.”
Of course, everyone’s purpose is unique; just make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. If you’re going for your PhD for the express purpose of having the little “MD” on your awesome vanity license plates, you might want to rethink your plan. If you’re thinking of doing the whole journal thing described above, it would be helpful to reiterate your purpose from time to time. We could all use a reminder once in a while, and journaling is a great way to stay mindful of your purpose.
Set Small Goals
Try to think up some smaller goals that will eventually lead to the big one. For example, if your goal is to graduate college in four years, first aim towards completing your first year, then receiving your associate’s degree, and so on. Having one giant, ultimate goal can sometimes feel daunting and overwhelming, and can lead to frustration and loss of motivation. If you allow yourself smaller victories on the way towards your goal, you’ll feel successful consistently and your motivation will remain.
Think of these smaller goals as stepping stones, and keep in mind that even when you reach your big goal, new ones may reveal themselves. I might sound like a broken record, but this is yet another reason why either a journal or some form of personal records is tremendously helpful. As you navigate your path towards your goal, you can make note of any changes, while also having the ability to look back on your progress and how you’ve grown as a person and as a professional.
Now for some fun. Whenever you reach one of your smaller goals, let yourself feel the success. It can be far too easy to rush, and when you do, you’ll miss out on all the things you accomplished along the way. If you’ve set smaller goals for yourself, reward yourself whenever you achieve one. Your reward can be whatever you want it to be, from going out and celebrating with friends or family, to a quiet night at home watching your favorite movie.
Whichever you choose, make sure you let yourself feel the accomplishment. This will keep you motivated and excited for the next phase of your plan. We will delve more into how to allow yourself to recognize success at a later date, so stay tuned for that. Remember, these are all things you can start to do today to help keep yourself on track towards your goals, so there’s no reason not to start. When things inevitably get challenging or difficult, you’ll have a constant source of motivation to keep you going.
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