When it comes to setting goals, it isn’t hard to think of where you’d like to be in six months, a year, or even five years. Making steady progress towards these goals is another story entirely. Here are six concrete steps you can take towards achieving your goals, even when your motivation is running dry.
1. Dress The Part
While the COVID-19 pandemic has welcomed a new era of casual dress that mostly means working in sweatpants, studies show that getting dressed more professionally can affect your mood and attitude toward your goals.
Many psychologists agree that wearing comfortable clothes that one wouldn’t usually wear to the office signals to the brain an “I don’t care” attitude. Doctor Sheva Assar, a clinical psychologist, adds that getting dressed in the morning could increase motivation for the remainder of the day, getting people out of the “cycle of staying in that place of inaction.” Getting dressed in the morning is a small step, but it’s a symbolic one.
2. Visualize the Future
One important step in the direction of a better future is being able to visualize it. Writing daily affirmations and even creating a vision board can help someone see the daily steps they could take towards where they want to be in five years. Meditation can also help a person set aside time to imagine an ideal future for themselves. This type of meditation can become extremely detailed, giving the person the clearest vision of what they want in the future and the steps it will take to get there.
3. Find S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
For years, the business world touted the achievements made from SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals. However, people are not businesses, and these types of goals miss some of the empathetic, human elements needed for success in one’s personal goals. Instead, set SUCCESS (Subjective, Urgent, Committed, Concrete, Evaluate, Shared, Support) goals. This research-backed strategy has been shown to create more buy-in for the individual, thus increasing the likelihood of follow-through.
4. Nurture Relationships
Having a supportive network of family and friends can go a long way in achieving one’s goals. One might hesitate to share their goals out of fear of embarrassment if they don’t end up meeting them. However, studies show goal-sharing creates a kind of positive peer pressure, and that by sharing one’s intentions, a person is further committing to that goal.
5. Accept the Inevitability of Setbacks
When it comes to even the most disciplined of people, setbacks are going to happen. For example, someone might have a goal to exercise three times a week but then get struck with an illness that prevents them from doing so. Accept that life happens and sometimes gets in the way. Don’t give up despite these setbacks.
6. Create a Reward System
Making concrete progress toward a goal? Time to treat yourself! A reward system isn’t just a fun way to celebrate progress–it’s also a research-backed way to help you keep working at your goal. A study out of the Journal of Consumer Research found that immediate rewards could help participants stick with a goal. It’s a win-win way to recognize your accomplishments and keep yourself on a steady path toward your dream future.
If you feel like you still can’t get a handle on motivation, you could be experiencing symptoms of depression and other mood disorders, as they can limit one’s motivation. If you think your lack of motivation could be coming from a mental health disorder you should seek professional help.Learn More