Even when you've set a "good" goal - one that adheres to your higher objective and is specific and measurable - you can run into some issues along the way... namely, staying motivated. Without motivation, even the most ambitious person will get sidetracked. Here are the strategies that I feel will keep you on track to achieving your goals:
Get an accountability friend.
Life can be lonely when you are making changes to your behavior. Your family, and work colleagues may not support "the new you." For instance, if you're trying to start a new business, your spouse may not "get" it and may question the time that you devote towards your goal. Having a friend or accountability partner to constantly check in with and rely on for support can be invaluable.
The best partners are those who are undertaking the same process, or have walked the same trail before. Find someone who will help you identify obstacles, provide advice, and cheer you on through the process of achieving your goal. Support is vital to your goal's success.
Focus on successfully achieving your goal.
Getting waylaid by negative thoughts or "what if" scenarios can spell disaster to your goals. When you start out by finding a hundred ways why your plans won't work, your energy is getting diverted to dealing with failure that hasn't even happened!
Instead of funneling your time and resources into negative thoughts and processes, make the decision that you're not going to entertain any ideas of failure. If it happens, it happens. You don't have to spend your precious resources worrying about it now.
Donald Trump is famous for his positive attitude. Even when he was in debt to the tune of billions (yes, BILLIONS!) of dollars, he rallied his team with pictures of the deals they would make in the future. His energy was contagious, and he was able to pull himself and his company out of bankruptcy by focusing on forthcoming success.
Make it public.
You know why shows like "Biggest Loser" work? Because no one wants to admit they wimped out on their diet or skipped their 6 AM gym appointment in front of millions of viewers! The "Biggest Loser" contestants have the ultimate motivation - a camera in their face 24/7.
While you may not want to keep a camera on you 'round the clock, you will want to make your goal public. Tell your friends, family, colleagues, and even the internet on forums, websites, or your blog. It works!
Chart your goal's progress.
I've already shared with you the importance of measuring your progress. A great motivation is to create a visual graphic to represent your progress towards your goal. Think of those thermometers that elementary schools place outside on a busy road, measuring how close they are to achieving their fund-raising goal for the new community pool or library. A similar, physical chart that you can update with progress will do wonders to keep your attention focused.
When you're doing this step, think outside the box. If you're trying to spend more time at the gym, why not post a map of the US on your wall, and draw an inch from one coast to the other for each hour you spend on the treadmill? If you're increasing your income, place a penny in a jar on your desk for each $10 or $100 you earn. These visual reminders are fun ways to keep your goals in the forefront of your mind.
Get expert advice.
We often think we need to do everything on our own. Nothing could be further from the truth! Alcoholics Anonymous has sponsors, Michael Phelps has a coach, and Jack Welch had an advisory board. No one has to be alone in their goal-setting efforts. Trying to eat healthier? Nutritionists will help you fine-tune your diet. Working out to get fit? Trainers will help you find the most effective exercises to achieve your physical goals.
There are business mentors and coaches who can help you figure out social media, launch a new information product, or streamline your finances. You can also find tons of books, videos, and websites to help you reach your goal, no matter what your goal happens to be. Don't go it alone. Someone else has already invented that wheel and is ready to help you use it!
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