Focus on the Benefits, Not Difficulties, to Stay Motivated
Staying motivated when trying to reach a goal is one of the most difficult things to do. The long-term goal can seem too far off and difficult to reach. A better option to stay motivated is to focus on short-term benefits along the way.
We’ve all had them. Goals we set that we never achieve. Over the years, setting and sticking to them has been difficult. You might have tried to write a book. Or lose weight. Or start a business. Or any number of other personal or business goals.
The cause of the failures could be that your motivation wanes when you begin facing difficulties.
Why should you focus on the benefits? Here are five reasons:
- Focusing on the benefits helps you see the reason you are working so hard. For example, after working out, when you’re exhausted, you feel grateful. Your stress levels have been reduced, and you feel cleansed and happy.
- Focusing on the benefits of your goal gives you a sense of accomplishment. For example, a healthy lifestyle is a benefit of eating healthful foods and exercising. The difficulties to this is having to give up your favorite sugary snacks or getting off the couch to exercise more. It’s easier to fall back into the old pattern if it seems that your goal is too far off.
- When things become difficult, you are tempted to quit. By focusing on the benefits of your goal, you can see the reasons you want to continue. Your difficulties will seem less. For example, let’s say you are trying to reach a particular financial goal. Instead of seeing how far you are from the desired amount or how long it is taking to achieve it, focus on the positive net worth changes every week.
- Losing weight is a very difficult goal. Focusing on the benefits of losing weight can help you stay motivated to exercise. For example, you will reduce your risks for certain diseases, and lower your blood pressure so you won’t have to take medication. You’ll be more active and feel better about yourself.
- Focusing on the benefits of your goal instead of the difficulties allows you to focus solely on one specific step of the goal. For example you overall goal is to run a marathon. One of the steps is to run 3 miles a day. The benefit from this individual step is that your resting heart rate has improved, your body has become leaner and your stamina has improved.
By focusing on the benefits, or the way our goals are helping us make positive changes, we are more likely to stay motivated to achieve those goals. Every goal you try to achieve will have difficulties at some point. It can be as simple as not knowing what to do next when you hit a roadblock or as daunting as having technical problems throw a wrench in your work. When these difficulties happen, it’s important to take another look at your goal and look at all the rewards and benefits you will get once it’s achieved.
Tweet: Don’t toss in the towel when a monkey throws a wrench in your goals. Look at the benefits of the end result.
How Daily Reading Helps Your Motivation
No one can change or move forward in their lives without some kind of help. It might be help in the form of a coach or mentor to help you grow. It could be support from friends and family who keep you motivated. Another form of help is reading about whatever you want to change daily to stay motivated.
How can reading about something keep you motivated?
Reading blogs and books about the very thing you want to change helps you learn the way others have overcome that same problem and met their goals. Reading gives you inspiration to continue striving toward your own goal. It gives you the ideas and steps you need to take to reach a certain goal.
Books and blogs are a great way to do some research on what you want to do. Reading about what you want to change or achieve grounds you so you know what to expect. Books about your subject will give ideas about the difficulties you might face while moving forward.
- If you want to lose weight, read about how others have successfully lost weight.
- If you want to build a successful business, read about successful business people.
Knowing what others have experienced in similar situations lets you adapt and try their solutions along with your own. Their stories can help lessen the worries and challenges you might face along the way.
The Types of Reading
Quotes. Reading inspirational quotes daily can motivate you to continue to take action on your goal. Put your favorite quote on your screensaver. Post quotes on your wall or your whiteboard. Have motivational quotes on your smartphone or tablet.
Read motivational books. Books that help you change your way of thinking can be a great source of inspiration when your motivation is failing. Build a library of motivational and personal development books. If you don’t have time to read them all, get them on tape to listen to while driving or walking. Here are a few notable authors with insights on motivation:
Read inspiring stories. Read inspiring stories from others who have already done what you want to achieve, or are in the process of doing it. Read stories on blogs, in magazines and in books. Those who have already achieved what you are attempting can guide you through the pitfalls and give insights on what to expect along the way. You can get inspiration from their struggles and wins.
Reading books about what you want to change daily, or about self-improvement and inspiration, is an excellent way to stay motivated. They can inspire and motivate you to continue.
Tweet: Reading inspirational books and blogs motivates you to continue reaching for your goal.
Smart Goal Setting Success
How many times have you set goals, only to eventually give up on them? Maybe you set a goal to lose 20 pounds this year. But by the middle of the year you’ve given up completely. If this sounds familiar, it might be because you are trying to achieve your goals in the wrong way. Following through with your goals means you need to know the right way to achieve them. In other words, you need a goal setting success plan.
Here are 10 steps for goal setting success to get you started on the right track.
- Focus on one goal at a time. Many people start out with several goals at once and try to do too much. At the end they become overwhelmed and lose energy and motivation. It’s a very common mistake. It is impossible to maintain your passionate energy and focus when trying to reach two or more goals at once. Choose one goal and focus on it completely. You can always go back to the other goals once you’ve accomplished your primary goal.
- Write down your goals and post them someplace you’ll see them every day. Put them on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, on your smartphone and on your desktop. Seeing your goals every day keeps you motivated. Having them written down means you won’t forget them or get sidetracked.
- Believe in your goal. Have faith in the process and believe you can accomplish it. Make your thoughts positive and turn your thoughts into reality.
- Visualize your end result. Think about what your want the finish line to look like. What does it feel like, look like, smell like? How do you feel? Be absolutely clear on what you want to happen.
- Create a plan of action to achieve your goal. Write down a list of the action steps you need to take. When you have a goal, but no plan of action, you aren’t sure of what to do next. It’s like driving without directions of where you want to go. You miss deadlines, don’t have priorities and are unorganized. You eventually get frustrated and your goal fails.
- Know your “why.” Knowing your purpose or the reason why you want to achieve a particular goal keeps you motivated to take the steps needed to reach the goal. It helps you recognize that the goal is worth working towards.
- Commit to your goal. Write down why and how you are committing to your goal and why it’s important. What does the finished goal mean to you, and why is it necessary for you to make it happen? Write down the steps you need to take to make it happen.
- Hold yourself accountable. Get outside help like a coach if you need to have someone else hold you accountable. They can provide valuable feedback when you need it.
- Stay focused on your goal. There will be times when you get sidetracked or you won’t know the next step you need to take. It’s easy to give up on your goal when this happens. The key is to remain focused on your goal. Take out your “why” and remind yourself the reason you are reaching for this goal.
- Review your goals every day. Then take action on them. This keeps your goals fresh in your mind. It also allows you to see which steps you still need to take, and to make any adjustments that you might need to.
To succeed you need a good goal setting success plan. By following these steps and taking action on your goal every day, you have everything you need to succeed.
Tweet: Motivation without vision is like a boat on a dry land. Visualize for goal setting success.
Building on Small Successes Helps You Stay Motivated
Reaching your goals means staying motivated. Along the way you will have successes and difficulties. It can be tempting to give up when you face problems. The key is to continue building on small successes to help you stay motivated.
The smallest success can be all you need to instill action. It’s what gives you a belief in yourself and your ability to succeed. When you face obstacles, look at the small success you’ve achieved so far.
Often the reason your motivation slacks off is from a lack of confidence. You may be focusing on the big goal. Instead, think of all the smaller successful steps you’ve already taken towards your goal. Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds. Instead of focusing on how far off that final goal is, look at how you’ve already changed your eating habits, started an exercise routine, and have lost 5 pounds. Looking at these small success creates confidence in your belief you can succeed.
When first starting out, ensure early success. Choose activities you know you can do without fail. Gradually increase the difficulty of the tasks so you’re able to achieve them. If you’re new to exercising, for example, then start with a simple fifteen minute walk or do one set of strength training exercises. Later, when you become comfortable, increase the intensity level a little bit.
Focus on what you can do each day. The big goal is your guide to where you want to go, but it’s the daily small success steps you take that get you to it. For example, if your goal is to pay off debt, your daily steps should be to spend less while earning more.
Focusing on the small successes along the way allows you to see results. It builds your confidence to move to the next level, to take a bigger step.
Here are some examples of ways to build on small successes:
- If you want to lose weight, you move from buying a pedometer to walking 100 steps the first week. Then the next week you walk 150 steps. Each week you increase your steps each week, building on the previous week’s success.
- If you want to write a book, start with one paragraph a day for a week. Increase your writing the next week to two paragraphs, then a page, increasing your writing time over time until you have finished your book
- If you want to eat healthier, start by eliminating one unhealthy food each week and adding a healthier version, then the next week replace another unhealthy food with a healthier version, and continue this successful system until you are eating only healthy foods.
- If you want to be more organized at home or work, start by choosing one area (such as a desk drawer), then begin eliminating one unnecessary thing every few days, eventually getting rid of all clutter. By building on this small success you will have the confidence to organize other areas.
Staying motivated can be difficult when you only look at the big goal at the end of things. A better approach is to build on the small successes you achieve, adding more or harder steps as you gain confidence.
Tweet: Focus on building on the small successes you have on your way to reaching your big goal.
Navigating the Ebbs and Flows of Motivation
Motivation is the key to reaching any goal. Motivation though, isn’t a constant thing. The ebbs and flows of motivation are like the tide. You’ll have periods of high energy where you’re very productive, and times when you are lethargic and work is very difficult. The temptation to quit can be strong when your motivation ebbs. The key is to stick with it and the flow will come back.
Follow these tips to navigate through the ebbs and flows of motivation.
- Minimize and eliminate distractions and other obstacles. Everyone has distractions, no matter how organized they are. Unhealthy food in the refrigerator distracting us when we are dieting is one example. Get rid of the easy access distractions and temptations in order to keep yourself on the right path.
- Take note of what gets you off track. What caused the lapse? Figure out how to remove an obstacle or reduce its effect on your progress.
- Visualize your end result again. Sit down and think about every detail of your goal. For example, if you are going to write a novel, visualize yourself writing every scene and character, finishing the book and sending it to the publisher.
- Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. When your motivation ebbs, you might have a tendency to think negative thoughts, like “I can’t do this” or “this is too difficult.” When you find yourself doing this, try to squash those thoughts and replace them with positive ones.
- Find a way to get excited again. What was it about the goal that got you excited in the beginning? Try to build on that to get through the ebb in motivation.
- Read about others who are achieving the same goal as you. Reading about it can inspire and re-energize you.
- Talk to friends and mentors when you hit a low spot. Find others who will cheer you on and help you get motivated again.
- Build on your past successes. Each little step you’ve achieved takes you closer to your goal. Look at each success to get you to the next level.
- Go back and look at the progress you’ve made so far to help you keep going.
- Plan in advance what to do when obstacles arise. Reread your list of reasons why you are going for your goal, for instance.
- Brainstorm new or more interesting ways to proceed towards your target when you become discouraged. Get help from a coach or accountability partner to guide you.
- Reward yourself when you hit a target or mini-goal. Rewards are something you can look forward to. By breaking your goal into small tasks and rewarding yourself when you reach each one, you are less likely to become overwhelmed.
Motivation is necessary when you want to reach a specific goal. But your motivation won’t be a constant thing. Learn to ride the ebbs and flows of motivation like a surfer. Follow the above tips to help you get through the low times and enjoy the flows.
Tweet: Reward yourself when motivation flows. Get back on track with help when motivation ebbs.