Sometimes even the things we are passionate about and love can be difficult to complete in times of lacking motivation. As I write this I have been sitting on my comfy lounge, under the warmth of our heater and was more than tempted to just grab a hot chocolate and put on Netflix and put the stuff I needed to off for another day. But as a busy gal I know that I have to push through this temporary rut and get on with what I have to do.
I’m reminded of a quote I first heard from Joshua from the Minimalists “Drudge through the drudgery”, where Joshua Field Millburn suggests that in order to succeed at your passion you must be “willing to drudge through the drudgery to find the joy on the other side”. Since hearing it, I try and keep this in mind for those occasions where my motivation is lacking but I know that I must stay focused and push through any desire to postpone goals I have set myself.
Here are 9 Effective Tips to Help You Stay Motivated and Focused on Achieving Your Goals.
1. Stay positive
Whenever I am feeling particularly overwhelmed, unproductive and lacking motivation I acknowledge the things I have achieved that day or in recent times. By doing this I more often than not, realise that I have been more successful in achieving my goals than I may have acknowledged. Don’t be too hard on yourself, keeping a positive mind frame goes a long way to getting you back on track.
Instead of saying negative self defeating commentary to yourself like; I am so far behind this is useless, I’m not cut out for this and similar negative assumptions about your talents and abilities, go for a more positive train of thought. Try repeating positive encouraging statements at these times of self-doubt; I’ve got this, I got a little off track but I know I can reach this goal with a little bit of effort, this is my passion and I am going to show the world that I can do this! After a while this will become a habit that will help you achieve your goals.
2. Have a shower and get dressed
Whenever I am feeling lethargic and not wanting to get out of bed or off the lounge or do anything much I get up and have a shower and get dressed. I find that no matter the time of day, this helps me to reset my energy levels and put me in a frame of mind to get back to business. Before I know it I’ve already come up with an idea for what I am working on and an am recharged and ready to get back to the task at hand.
3. Give yourself a break
If you don’t want to start that assignment or that pile of washing just yet that is okay! Give yourself a small break allowance to do something you want to do and then get cracking once that time is up. I will allow myself one Netflix episode for example or watch a couple of Youtube videos I wanted to catch up with and as soon as it is finished I turn it off and get started. If you have been studying for hours on end take some time for you. Grab something to eat, read something completely unrelated to what you are studying and give yourself a chance to rest your brain for a moment so you can get back to it refreshed in a little while.
4. Write your specific goals down
It’s hard to stay motivated when there are random undefined goals in your head. Get them on paper! It is much easier to tackle and prioritise tasks when they are written down in front of you and you can knock them off one by one. Be sure to tick them off when you are down for that extra rewarding jolt that comes from a crossed off to-do list item. Be sure to list specific goals. You’ll have a much a better chance of completing a task with spelled our tasks such as; fill out new superannuation account application, get stamp and mail off application, inform work of new superannuation account details as opposed to a less specific goal of change super accounts.
5. Start with smaller sized goals
Following on from the above tip, don’t try and overwhelm yourself buy tackling things in large chunks that can be unmanageable and stop you from achieving your goals. So what if your whole bedroom isn’t organised completely, if you have purged your wardrobe that is a huge achievement! Next time you can get to the drawers or your jewellery collection. Don’t beat yourself up for not sticking to your new budget 100%. Working to reduce one expense category at a time can still get you to your end goal and might even be more successful than aiming for 100% the first attempt. Acknowledge the amazing progress you have made so far no matter how small it may seem. Every step taken is a step forward no matter how small that may seem.
6. Prioritise your goals by importance
I’ve often found things on my to do list that seem to keep getting pushed off to the next week and then next. After doing this for a few weeks I usually come to a decision of either; this is a priority and I need to action it now or this isn’t a priority and remove it or put it on a longer term goal list. We will always have things on our to do list that seem to be equally important. If you take the time to assess what is truly valuable and prioritise that, you can help ensure you get what needs to be done and delegate or remove what isn’t so imperative.
Sometimes asking for help can make all the difference. If you are drowning in to dos see if there is someone that can help you. Can your partner order the groceries for you this week? Can your family bring a dish each so you have less to cook for the family dinner? You don’t always have to do everything on your list. Get others to help out so you can get on top of things.
7. Pick three goals each day to achieve
As a lover of to do lists I know how easily they can blow out and end up being an endless list of fun-killing activities. Sometimes it’s easier to motivate ourselves to accomplish a few things rather than a long drawn out list. Picking a Three Item Task List can help you stay motivated and reduce overwhelm. If you get those first three done in a day and have the motivation and time to do more – that’s great. If not than keep it on the list for tomorrow. When you only have three goals to pick you will by default pick the most pressing ones and allow the not so urgent ones to be completed at a later date.
8. Clear the mess and clutter
As someone who hates mess, I find that I can’t be productive when I am surrounded with dirty dishes and mess. Never have I been more motivated to clean my room or home than when I was studying at university and for my CPA. I find that a quick five minute clean up helps take my mind of the mess and excess around me so that I can focus on what is important, my task at hand.
If time is limited I don’t necessarily recommend going all out and cleaning the whole house, just focus on the space you are working in. Ensuring that your work area is a clean and a calming environment can help you avoid avoid distraction and procrastination. If you can’t work in your ideal work environment find anywhere else in your home, or a cafe or library where you can work.
When you do have the time clearing the clutter can be a great way to help reduce stress and increase focus. Having less stuff can reduce anxiety and create more time. Check out how minimalism can help you claw back some of your time so you can redirect your time to work on more important things like achieving your goals.
9. Share your goals with others
Sometimes having others keep us accountable can help us stay motivated to achieve out goals. This could be on social media, with a close friend, a partner or a group you see on a regular basis. If it is a weight-loss goal you could post weekly about how many kilos you lost or how many days you have been sugar free. Maybe once a month you can do a post about how long it has been since your last cigarette and your friends and family can help encourage.
Perhaps your goal is to start writing so you start a blog and post articles on a regular basis to help you stay motivated and stick to that goal. It could be a goal to be debt free by a particular year and you could update on Instagram what your new debt balances is each month to track how you are progressing and hold yourself accountable to your deadlines and goals. Sometimes we need others to support us to stay motivated and help keep us on track to completing what we set out.
How do you stay motivated when you are tempted to give up on something or procrastinate? Comment with your tips and what has worked for you below!
>>For more tips on getting organised check out 13 Time Management Tips to Get Organised!