Benjamin Franklin said: "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man [or woman] healthy, wealthy, and wise".
Asking yourself thoughtful questions throughout the process of working towards your goal is key. Throughout all of the steps to setting and achieving a goal, from planning, initiating, working through the ups and downs on your journey, and then finally, reaching your goal, can start with your WHY…
Asking yourself WHY this goal, and WHY this goal NOW, can increase your motivation and help you to stay on course when motivation gets weak.
Do you want to be healthier? Weathier? Wiser? Or? ____fill in the blank.
The WHY is what can get us to get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise, to say “no” to that second helping of food, and to give up unhealthy habits.
What will be fundamentally different in your life when you reach your goal? Is your goal something that can be achieved in the short-term? Is it more of a long-term goal? What are some milestones along the way that will keep you going where you know you are making progress? Do you plan to reward yourself for success or take something away if you don’t stay the course? This can make a huge difference, but the most important thing is what motivates you?
When it comes to self-improvement, everyone has different things that motivate them to start, perhaps set some intermediate goals, and define what their final goal would be.
Celebration! How will you celebrate reaching your goal? Will it be something you do on your own or with others?
Maintaining and staying on course when you have reached your goals can be one of the hardest parts of goal maintenance. When working at a major weight loss agency, it was a strongly held belief that losing the weight and reaching a weight loss goal was the easier part and that maintaining the weight loss and keeping your weight stable over the long-term was much more difficult. Focusing on weight stability, especially in the absence of not having the tangible victory of a “loss” every week, but trying to celebrate that you were staying stable in your weight loss, proved to be more difficult for most of the people who came through the doors every week.
Conversely, sometimes growth and change are the main measures of success and it is important to define what growth would look like and what guidelines you would use to measure ongoing success. It is important to set strong goals for growth but perhaps equally important to reality-test these goals to avoid discouragement. Again, having an accountability partner can be a source of collaboration and feedback in the process of defining reasonable goals for growth, such as in a business start-up.
CELEBRATE AND REWARD YOURSELF
What kinds of types of things that keep you motivated? What would be a good reward for your hard work and your success in reaching your goals or the benchmarks that you have decided on, along the way? It is important to consider having the reward be something that is meaningful and whether you will be celebrating on your own or if you will be celebrating with others. Gratitude towards others who have helped you along your journey can be validating for both them and for yourself and perhaps sharing in the success with someone who has been your source of support, can encourage them to continue with you, but can also be an important part of staying motivated. It is important to consider tokens of appreciation for anyone who has helped to fuel your success, if this is permitted. Maintaining a core group of supporters can help to sustain you in the long term.
All the best on your journey!
Tanya is the Founder of Tanya Hansen Therapy, and is a regular contributor to various online and print media outlets as an authority on personal and relationship counselling.