Are you struggling to stay motivated and achieve your goals? You’re not alone. Even when we want a result so bad that we can taste it, it can be hard to keep ourselves going toward new habits that feel hard when the comfort of the familiar is so available.
Motivational science is an entire field of study because motivation is a complicated thing it involves understanding what we want, developing new mindsets, making goals achievable, and then using brain science to stay motivated toward success.
The great news is that a little knowledge goes a long way. Using what we know about brain science, you can learn to set goals and achieve them while staying motivated. Here are 28 steps to help you break down your goals and stay motivated on the way to success!
1. Clarify your goals. Why do you want or need to get to that goal? How is that goal congruent with your identity and values? What are you willing to do/give up to get there?
2. Visualize your desired outcome. You may not know this, but visualization gives your brain concrete information on what it is trying to achieve and the motivation to get there. Spend a few moments at different times of your day seeing, smelling, hearing, and feeling what the desired outcome would be like. This creates motivation and potential maps to get there.
3. Set yourself up for success. Make sure you set up your physical and social environments to keep you moving toward your goal rather than away from it. Are you trying to lose 20 pounds or 100? Are you trying to get more exercise? Are you building a new business or learning a new skill? Create physical environments that make that easier (e.g., clear out all the junk food from the cupboards, put your running shoes next to your bed in the morning) but also think about the social environments that make it harder (e.g., daily lunches with your bed work buddy, friends that aren’t supportive of your changes).
4. Break down your goal into manageable pieces. Use SMART goals to make the goal specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your goals, and time-bound. That said, look at this as a process rather than a destination. If and when your plan is going awry, look at that as an opportunity to tweak it rather than give up. And don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way.
5. Educate yourself on how to make new habits and break old ones. It’s brain science that everyone is capable of learning.
6. Track your progress. Keeping track of your progress will help you stay motivated and focused on achieving your goals.
7. Talk to yourself positively and maintain a Growth Mindset rather than a Fixed Mindset. A positive attitude and self-talk will help you stay motivated and focused because parts of your brain are literally listening to your self-talk and pushing you toward behaviors based on that self-talk. Additionally, those with a Growth Mindset understand that with hard work and perseverance change is possible for all of us if we just build an understanding for what we need to do and then set out to do it, tweaking to make the process work for us along the way.
8. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. What doesn’t work can help us to get to what will. All of it is information.
9. When old and comfortable ways start feeling tempting, return to what you value and why. Remember and visualize the outcome you want and the old reality that you don’t. Measure the decision that you are about to make against the values that are important to you and your preferred identity.
10. Get the help and resources that you need. I have created a FREE mini-course that can help with goal setting and motivation. You can sign up for it here.