Everybody has goals. Life goals, career goals, bucket lists and “things to do before I am 30” checklists: any of these and much more define how we live every day and shape our quality of life. Some people have taken the time to record their goals and make conscious efforts towards them.
Others carry their hopes and dreams around with them subconsciously, whether it is to help others, educate themselves, travel the world, or make lots of money. Either way, goals motivate us and influence our decisions.
So why is there such a poor ROI on all these goals we set each day? How come more of them are not realized? Why do we come so tantalizingly close to reaching our aspirations yet they remain out of reach, even if we try everything to achieve them? Eventually, we give up on our goals, lose motivation and write them off.
In this article, we address these questions and aim to provide insight into finding and maintaining motivation to reach our goals by redefining them.
What Do Our Goals Mean?
It is important to reconsider each goal in context, take a step back and examine the target as a deeper purpose, not just a catchphrase. You can make a list of your goals, but then consider each one in turn and ask yourself what it represents.
“Make lots of money” sounds like a good goal, but is it the real driving force, or just an arbitrary means of reaching another goal that is the root of your motivation? If your circumstances changed suddenly, and you had a generous amount of money, would your goal be as important?
Examine each goal to uncover hidden and related objectives, and prioritize your focus and effort towards each of these, according to how important they are to you.
Define Your Goals, So You will Know When You have Achieved Success
How much is “lots of money” anyway? Can you close your eyes and visualize it? Is it an absolute figure in your bank balance online, or just a mental picture of yourself throwing handfuls of banknotes in the air? Have you thought about how much you would need to save and how long it would take to get there?
Is there a clear path and definite steps towards it that you should take? Just as the mind cannot visualize abstract ideas, or maintain concentration on them, so it is with goals. If your goal is not a specific one with a clear end point, it will be impossible to reach it.
That is why it is important to determine what you want from life: a clear picture of what you want your goals to accomplish.
Once that is done, more specific goals can be derived from them to clarify your vision towards the principal goals.
These can be important stages and sights you need to see along the way and play a part keeping you orientated.
Help yourself by defining the smaller goals to help you on your way to larger ones. “Save some money this month” has an end date. That is a good start. However, how much money is “some”? When, and how, will you start putting money aside? With a goal like this, it is easy to put off starting, leave it to the end of the month and achieve next to nothing.
However, if your goal is “save $100 this month,” you have a clear image of the target. Right away, you will be thinking of steps in that general direction and be weighing up ways to get there.
Because your mind is more focused, you will consider familiar paths and more creative ones that will inspire you further. Understand that visualizing a goal helps you focus on it, and focusing will devote more of your energy towards reaching it.
Don’t Wander Off The Path
Identifying the path and making it clear is a significant accomplishment in setting a goal. That is because at every turn you will know whether you are still moving in the right direction. If you are becoming distracted from the goal or going round in circles, you will know about it.
It could be just a slight sense of unease, or a gut reaction, or an ear-popping alarm bell in your head.
It is much easier to stop and consider where you are, what your last moves were and whether they got you any nearer to the goal.
So it is much simpler to review and correct any errors or steps into the unknown and ascertain whether they are a brief detour or a mistake that will disrupt your progress towards your destination.
Keep Making Progress
You will need to keep pushing to achieve any goal, but you can gain much energy from taking it step by step, and bring the seemingly impossible much closer. Not every single step has to be positive. One step back is good as part of a plan that lets you make two steps forward because you have considered the outcome.
That is important because frustration at minor setbacks will affect you much less. Baby steps, which would otherwise be meaningless, assume greater importance as part of a defined path. A dollar saved, for example, can count towards your hundred for the month, and give you a sense of progress out of proportion with what you have achieved on its own.
All this affirmative action will affect the way you think and act. You will become more clear and decisive about what steps to take. Keep in mind exactly where you are heading, and you will keep moving in that direction. Moreover, if it is no longer as clear where you are headed, review the goal so that the destination becomes more apparent again.
Goals cannot, and should not, be instantly attainable. There shouldn’t be any shortcuts and free passes to the end. You will not even be looking for alternatives, however, if you focus on moving in the right direction at all times. The end will come towards you, and your goals will be realized.
Every move you make that relates to your goal, you can check to see that it has brought your destination closer.
You can look behind and watch you have made progress further away from the starting point.
Measure your progress to remind yourself it is real, and that you are a little closer to realizing your dreams. Each of these approaches can help motivate you and give you the energy to plan and execute the next step along the path.
Start Your Future Right Now
If it were easy to achieve your goals, everybody would be succeeding all the time, and the world would be a noticeably happier place. Realizing your dreams will help you stand out from all those who never made it, and it is achievable and practical, even, to get started on it. Take the time to investigate your motivations and driving forces in depth.
Uncover stated goals, and plan and define them so that you can visualize your goals. As we mentioned earlier, this in itself will give you extra energy. Then make steps, so you are continually progressing in the right direction, and you will make it to a future that’s the way you wanted it to be. They do not have to be long-term goals, start today setting some specific goals, fire up your vision and start along the path towards success.
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