New Year is firmly upon us, but as we enter 2018 how many of us are confident we will achieve the goals we’ve set for this year? Sparks of motivation are all well and good, and often provide the initial catalyst to think up that goal you’ve pondered on for years, but how do you maintain motivation throughout the year?
Within the gym context: what’s your driving force to set your alarm early in the depths of winter to go for that 6 mile run on a Monday morning before work? My aim with this article is to share some of my personal advice to help you cultivate the mind-set necessary for your goal destination.
Write your goals down
As humans we have the luxury of being consciously aware. We don’t just act on instinctive impulses 24/7 (I hope). Instead we make informed decisions moment to moment, which dictates the lifestyles we live out. So when it comes to sticking to that arduous dieting or going out for a meal and beers there’s two sides to the coin: 1 side is immediate satisfaction and the other is moving you a step closer to your goal of developing a lean physique.
The reason why so many people favour the initial side is because they fail to refer back to the goal they’ve originally set, so in that moment of making a decision, the goal doesn’t exist in their mind. All that exists is the satisfaction in that moment.
To firmly imprint your goal to the forefront of your mind, you need to write it down and look at it each day, sometimes even multiple times per day.
Getting into the habit of doing this daily with goals and objectives will help to re-wire your thinking, in a way that is favourable to long-term achievements and ultimately fulfilment.
You begin to take more day-to-day action that places more emphasis on the future as opposed to falling for the seduction of immediate gratification.
Writing down your goals also, in many ways, begins to make them real. It’s something that you yourself have put forward and challenged yourself to achieve. As opposed to simply thinking about a goal and moving onto the next thought. Take your goal seriously by looking at it face on each day.
Make a plan
Setting a realistic objective is one thing, but the immediate afterthought needs to be centred around a strategy that will get you from A to B. The most important reason for doing this is efficiency, you don’t want to be guessing your way to the finish line. This can lead to a lot of wasted resource, namely time and money.
Making a plan also begins to add colour to the goal image you’ve created in your mind. It will inform you how much money you will need? How much time? Maybe you need to learn a new skillset to achieve this goal? Once you’ve built out this road map you know exactly what needs to be done, day-in, day-out. This leads to forming smaller scale, daily plans you can note down in your diary, proving you with daily objectives.
Assess your social circle
One of the biggest barriers to self-improvement and achieving goals is often the people around you who you regularly interact with.
Sometimes if people don’t have goals of their own they may become irritated by those who do, and in a bid to sabotage the goal and keep you exactly the same, they may try and talk you out of it. Sometimes it’s subconscious: they’re on auto-pilot trying to stabilize their own social life. They mean no harm, but often they achieve it.
Start to become aware of this and the conversations you’re having with people. Make a decision consciously to surround yourself with people who share you’re ambitions and will help propel you forward. If you don’t already have this kind of support network then venture out to join groups or sign up to a course within the niche of your ambitions.
Patience: The ultimate virtue
One of the major contributing factors as to why so many people don’t reach their goals is because they have an unrealistic expectation of how long it will take to get there. This is where dedication comes in and your passion will get tested.
The reason why such a small proportion of people within any given niche rise to the top is most often due to the fact they were able to stick it out. They push through the workload in the good times and the bad, often on their own, every single day. You can’t expect anything great to be to result of a 2 week push, you need to be prepared to sacrifice in the here and now, for years.