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As we enter the year 2024, armed with hopes and freshly outlined goals, a big question comes up:
How do we not just set these goals but also find the constant drive to chase after them? How to set and achieve goals the right way?
The arrival of a new year typically sparks a surge of enthusiasm and determination, but the path toward accomplishing our goals is often scattered with challenges that can challenge our determination.
Motivation is a crucial factor in achieving our goals. However, scientist know that our motivation often weakens over time, making it difficult to stay on track.
But when motivation is lacking, how can we stay on track? Let’s explore five practical tips to help you stay motivated and achieve your career and life goals.
Tip #1: Set Goals the right way
Often, there is not a lack of motivation but a lack of clarity. To stay motivated, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve.
Define your goals and ensure that they are specific, measurable, and achievable. If your goal is not measurable, it is ultimately just a good idea. Therefore, set specific goals. Consider what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it, and how you will know when you have achieved it.
Focus on one big goal at a time and do your best to achieve it.
Consider the positive and negative consequences of achieving your goals and ensure that they align with your values.
Also, reflect on why you want to achieve your goals, as having a compelling reason can help you stay motivated during challenging times.
When you set your goals, reflect on whether it is really your goal. Are you setting this goal just for yourself? Does it motivate you? Does it make your heart beat faster? Is it a 10 out of 10? The chances are good that you won’t follow through if your goal doesn’t trigger a clear yes within you.
Tip #2: Create a Schedule and Stick to It
Create a schedule that helps you focus on the most important tasks and keep track of your progress.
Think about the steps you need to take to achieve your goals and break them down into smaller, realistic sub-steps. This will help you integrate the goals into your calendar. Then stick to your schedule and pursue your goals consistently.
Ask yourself which steps you can incorporate into your daily routine. James Clear explains in his book “Atomic Habits” that we should not focus on the goals themselves but on the systems that lead us to our goals. These systems are our daily habits.
Tip #3: Reward Yourself
The reward system in the brain drives us to tackle certain tasks instead of being in a resting state. This is made possible by the release of motivating and happiness-inducing hormones in the brain that make us enjoy tackling a task¹ .
You can also use this principle to stay motivated in pursuing your goals.
Reward yourself when you reach your goals and celebrate every milestone you reach.
Tip #4: Be Patient
Change takes time. It is completely normal to experience setbacks. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, you could see setbacks as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Psychologists call this method reframing, in which things are literally given a new frame by reinterpreting them. By reframing setbacks as an opportunity to learn and grow, you can change your perspective and become more optimistic.
Tip #5: Use Your Imagination for Motivation
Our subconscious mind processes images, so visualizing your goals as if you’ve already achieved them can help increase motivation. If you visualize your goals as already completed, a conflict arises in your subconscious mind. Your subconscious will look for ways to help you achieve your goals.
Imagine yourself in the future, having achieved your goal, and focus on the emotions you experience. Experiment with making the image and sound more vivid and intense, creating a sense of realism that motivates you to take action.
Staying motivated can be challenging, but with these five tips, you can increase your chances of achieving your 2024 goals.
¹ How goal progress influences regulatory focus in goal pursuit (2017) Journal of Consumer Psychology