At the beginning of the month (which also happened to be the beginning of the year), I posted an article that outlined 10 Secrets of Highly Motivated People. Hopefully, the suggestions in that article helped to give you a jump-start to a FabYOUlous year. If however, your motivation has started to fizzle a bit, I also posted (ten days later) an article on how to combat five common motivation myths (click here to read that post).
I’m going to continue posting weekly motivation related articles for the next several weeks because I feel that this is a subject that can never get enough reinforcement. Even the most, committed and highly motivated individuals will tell you that motivation is something that must be constantly cultivated and renewed.
Personally, I find it most difficult to stay motivated when I am working towards a big and daunting, long-term goal. It goes without saying that the bigger the goal, the more difficult it will be to achieve; and even when the goal is something that I am passionate about and fully committed to accomplishing, these difficulties are often what sideline me and keep me from making forward progress.
How then do we continue to work on our big goals when our motivation begins to wane in the face of the obstacles in our path?
For me, the only real way that I’ve found to maintain my motivation for the long haul is to “keep my eye on the prize” and to focus my attention upon the FabYOUlous benefits that I will enjoy once I obtain my goal, as well as upon the more immediate, short-term benefits that I experience along the way.
In my own experience with setting and achieving goals. I’ve discovered four main reasons to focus upon both the immediate and long-term benefits as a way of combating the stagnation that often occurs in the face of difficulties. These reasons are…
1.) Focusing on the benefits will help you to remain motivated. This one sounds like a no-brainer but it is probably the most compelling reason to focus on benefits. If your goal is to run a marathon, focus on the feeling that you will experience when you cross the finish line. Imagine the euphoria and pride you’ll feel as you accomplish something that so few others even dare to attempt. Post a photo of a runner crossing the finish line on your mirror and imagine yourself in that photo every day as you get ready for your day. When you do your training runs, imagine your last half-mile as though it were the last half-mile of the marathon. Imagine that there are people on the sidewalks cheering you on as you near the finish. Imagine your family waiting to celebrate with you as you cross the finish line. Focusing on these kinds of rewards is the best way to keep yourself moving ever closer to accomplishing your big goal. When things get hard (and they will!), focusing on these feelings will provide the boost that you need to overcome the hurdles in your path.
2.) Focusing on the benefits will give you a sense of accomplishment. If your goal is to write a book, you might feel overwhelmed at the amount of time and work that will be required to accomplish that goal. However; writing just a couple of pages a day will quickly begin to add up and as it does, you will begin to feel a sense of accomplishment and momentum. Focusing on the benefits of completing those few pages will help to propel you forward towards your goal and keep you from losing steam when challenges arise.
3.) Focusing on the benefits helps you to remain in the present moment. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, don’t focus on how far you have to go. Instead focus on the benefits that you are receiving right now. When you complete a workout, you feel exhausted (in a good way), cleansed and grateful. You also experience reduced stress levels and increased serotonin levels–both of which help contribute to an overall sense of well being. Focusing upon these immediate and tangible benefits will help you to continue on your long-term wellness path.
4.) Focusing on the benefits allows you to focus solely on one specific step towards your goal. Most goals are made up of several smaller steps strung together. Take your eyes off of the enormity of your goal and instead focus on the benefits of each individual step as you move closer to your goal. If your goal is to get out of debt, paying off $25K in credit card debt might feel overwhelming but getting that first, low balance card paid off will give you a sense of accomplishment and free up more money each month to apply to your next card’s balance. These small steps benefit you by improving your credit score and making it possible to reach your bigger goal more quickly. Focus on these benefits to sustain your efforts for the long haul.
Regardless of what your goal is, it is inevitable that you will experience challenges along the way. When these difficulties rear their ugly heads, it is important to take another look at your intentions and focus upon the positive changes that you are experiencing as you work toward your goal, as well as to envision the benefits that you will experience once your goal comes to fruition. This ability to focus upon the benefits is what will sustain you and provide you with the inspiration and motivation to keep moving forward until your goal is fully reached