How to stay motivated when pursuing your goals
Updated: May 13, 2020
5 ways to stay motivated
1. Finding your ‘why’ reason to pursue your personal goals. Knowing ‘why’ you are doing something is essential for motivation, persistence and commitment when pursuing goals. Not having a why reason often leads to you perceiving the goal as pointless, not important and not worth the effort because you don’t see how it will be beneficial. Before you decide to take on any challenge, spend some thinking through the reasons why you want to invest your time, effort, and energy into a goal. My recommendation is to follow the 3:1 ratio when assessing the potential consequences of pursuing a goal. The 3 stands for three positive consequences of achieving a goal i.e. eating healthier will lead to me having more energy to work, feeling better about my self-image, and losing weight. The 1 stands for one negative consequence of not pursuing the goal i.e. if I don’t eat healthier, it could increase my risk of cardiovascular diseases. It’s important the positives or potential gains outweigh the negatives/potential risks.
2. Pursue a goal with someone else. You might find that the goal you want to achieve is similar to a goal one of your friends also want's to achieve. One of the biggest influences on someone’s motivation is the people around them. If you are able to relate to someone else when pursuing a goal or have someone to pursue a goal with, your motivation can significantly increase. Additionally, other people can also offer a variety of support strategies such as emotional support i.e. picking you back up when you feel low, informational support i.e. strategies that help increase the chances of success and appraisal support i.e. helping you see things from different perspectives. Go get a goal buddy!
3. Learn from past experiences! Sometimes when you are lacking motivation, it can help to reflect on previous moments where you had low levels of motivation and remind yourself what you did to give yourself a motivation boost! One strategy to help with this tip is to draw a line across a page and call it your lifeline. Next, below the line, label you age starting from 5 and going up to your current age (do in groups of 5 years.).Once you have done this, go back in time and reflect on all your different life events, reflect on any challenging moments/big life events, and ask yourself ‘how did I maintain my motivation back then?’. You might be surprised with what ideas you get!
4. Boost your self-belief! It’s easy to forget and underestimate how influential self-belief can be when pursuing a goal. People who have high expectations of themselves to be successful are much more likely to achieve their ambitions and goals. Before you embark on your goal journey, consider whether you believe in yourself. Ask yourself on a scale of 1-10 (10 being 100% confident) how much confidence do I have in my ability to be successful in achieving my goal. If your score is below 7, it would be worth spending some time firstly building your self-belief. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Remind yourself of previous moments of success
- Using self-talk or affirmations to boost your self-belief. The messages you give yourself can have a powerful impact on how you behave i.e. keep persisting vs. giving up easily.
- Choose a role model to follow, who inspires you and gives you confidence. Analyse how they pursue goals and see if you can implement the same positive behaviours in your goal pursuit.
5. Follow the principles of the competence-motivation theory. The principles of this model suggest that people are more motivated when they have the core-value ‘I am someone who gets the job completed.’ The idea behind the theory is getting tasks completed shows that you are competent in something. The more activities you excel at, the more competent you are. So, if you are fearful you might fail, draw belief and motivation from other activities in your life where you have successfully completed them. It really helps to choose activities you found challenging but still succeeded at because these activities really demonstrate your level of competence. It can also help to tell yourself ‘If I can be competent in one area of my life…it means I can be competent in another area!’.