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
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 28, 2018 how to reach your goal, new years resolution0 comments
Live Your Best Life, How to Slay anything in 2019.
New year, new you? Well, maybe, whether you will be a wistful dreamer or a winning achiever of your New Year’s resolution really dwindles down to this; ‘How do you mentally prepare yourself for the process of change?’ We all look forward to the prospect of a new year, we start off with a fantastically shiny hope, we can do anything with these next 365 days of our life. Yet, for all of this hope and enthusiasm, why do the majority of New Year’s resolutions fail in the first month? We can explain some of these failed resolutions by applying the theory of behavioral psychology. We wellness warriors, trudging onward to 2019, sails full with the winds of enthusiasm, need to be sure we are beginning our voyage with the right motivations, or we just might end up deflated and completely off course. If we have an internally damaging way of nurturing our New Year’s whispers of inspiration, we can rest assured our achievements will fall as flat as the last sip of kombucha that lines our almost empty cup. Our counselors have worked together to create a sequence of effective pieces of psychological advice which will kick-start any of your New Year’s wellness goals.
Get real with yourself, meaning where are you right now and where do you want to be?
This is about stepping away from the potential delusions of your thinking and recognizing where you are, honestly. If you are an echoing scream away from your goal, it is going to take some time to get there. Using weight as one example, if you are currently 300 lbs, and you aspire to weigh in at 150 lbs, it will take many years and much effort for you to arrive at that destination. Maybe you want to start with making an appointment with a personal trainer and a nutritionist or a dietitian. Another example might be that you want to have better boundaries with other people in your life. Be ‘real’ about while jotting down your list. It takes gusto and strength to record your truth about areas for growth such as your inability to say ‘no’ to others and the amount of inexplicable guilt that you feel when you attempt to draw boundaries. Yet it is by insight that we can make great progress toward our goals.
The second part of this sequence is that after you examine where you are and where you would like to be, your goals must be broken down into achievable units. We humans don’t do well with goals that are too large. If for instance you want to write a book this year, instead of focusing on the larger goal of completing the whole text you will do best by focusing on small goals daily. Writing 500 words a day is a well achievable micro goal that will inch you toward the end result. Why does this work? According to Psyche Study, ‘Behavioral psychology defines the mechanism of ‘shaping’ to describe the slow process of behavioral change where we are rewarded for each step toward reaching the final goal.’ We nudge ourselves toward the finish line. In the process of shaping these small changes, we feel empowered by the daily act of achieving our successes instead of potentially losing focus if our overarching goal is so big that the reward for making it there is too far off.
Give yourself rewards
There is a long standing debate and research query which examines whether punishment or reward is better to help us change our behavior. According to recent research from Harvard Business Review, if you are going to maintain the enthusiasm and hope that is driving your desired progress towards change, you must create rewards for yourself. In this particular study, it was noted that punishment, and the fear that it evokes, can cause people to ‘freeze’ instead of act. Think about the proverbial deer in the headlights. Again, with reference to behavioral psychology and the field of human learning and behavior, humans and animals are more inspired by positive reinforcement than punishment. We move toward what is pleasurable, especially if the reward is well timed to be given right after reaching each small segment of our goal. That means that when we have that internal voice which tells us we are slugs because we didn’t reach our goal, we are not helping our situation. It is the promise of something that is rewarding which really propels us to go harder and longer in the journey to ‘live our best life.’
What is it that you are planning to work on for your New Year goal? Always first ask yourself this, we all want to achieve things but are you ready to put in the work to achieve your goal? If the answer is yes, move onward and use this as a template to assess your goals and move yourself one step closer to where you want to be!
In relation to your goal, where are you now?
What do you hope to achieve, what is your long term goal?
Break the above mentioned goal into daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
How can you reward yourself on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy year of wellness,
Harvard Business Review, What Motivates Employees More, Rewards or Punishments? https://hbr.org/2017/09/what-motivates-employees-more-rewards-or-punishments
Psychestudy, Online Journal on human behavior and psychology. What is shaping behavior? https://www.psychestudy.com/behavioral/learning-memory/operant-conditioning/what-is-shaping-behaviorLearn More