Goal Setting Guide: Part 5 - Getting on Track and Staying Motivated
We all know how hard it can be to actually follow through on goals we set. Self-motivating is hard! Luckily, there are lots of tricks that help us remember and stay on top of our goals. Here are a few to stay on track!
Write it down (And put it somewhere you can see it)
Researchers say that when we write things down, we become more committed to them. You’re also more likely to remember things better when you write them down. So, as you come up with goals for yourself, pull out a Be Your Best Self Notebook, open up a Word doc, or make a recording on your smartphone. You can always go back and change your list, but take the time to record your thoughts - and then after you’ve made your list, be sure to put it somewhere where you can see it! The more frequently you review your goals, and the more often you think about them, the more real to you they’ll become. Before you know it, that list will become a reality.
Looking for somewhere to record and track your goals? Check out the Be Your Best You Notebooks by ClassTracker.
Change your habits
To actually stick to your goals you might have to change your habits… which can make you pull your hair out until those habits become second nature. But stick with it! For example, if you are trying to write down your assignments everyday during class rather than after school all at once, it might take a few weeks for you to retrain your brain and make that a routine. Just like other muscles in your body, the brain needs some time to get in shape and develop “muscle memory.” Give yourself a month of doing something new every day to make it a new habit.
Tell a friend
Are you the kind of person who tells your friends everything? Here’s a way you can spin that to your advantage. Some people find it motivating to tell other people about their goals. Whether it’s because saying it outloud makes it seem more real, or because your friends tease you if you’re not sticking with it, sharing your goal with someone else can make you more committed to it. If you tell your best friend that you’re applying for a scholarship, she’ll probably bring it up and ask how it’s going. You aren’t going to want to disappoint either yourself or her.
Have a Backup Plan
While coming up with a plan is crucial to success, sometimes even the best plans need a Plan B. As you think about the steps along the way to achieving your goals, ask yourself, “Is there anything that could get in the way of me accomplishing this?” If the answer is yes or maybe, take some time to come up with an alternative plan, just in case.
What better way to work for success than to have a visual reminder? Pick a photo, create a collage, or draw something that represents the long term goal of yours. It could be a brochure for the grad school you want to attend, an ad for the car you are saving up for, or maybe a flyer for a play you want to direct. If a physical reminder doesn’t do it for you, create a Pinterest board to help yourself stay motivated.
Break it down
When a goal seems too big, break it down into smaller pieces so that you can see how you’re doing. Say, for example, you are writing a research paper. Ultimately you will need to turn in five to seven double-spaced pages to your professor. Of course, many of things need to happen before that. Brainstorm a list of steps you need to take and put them in order. Write them down to help you remember the different parts and keep track of what you need to do next. Cross off accomplishments as you achieve them, and watch your list get smaller. Nothing motivates quite like progress.
Chart your progress
Sometimes it’s hard to see how far you’ve come until you put it down on paper. Consider having a Be Your Best Self Notebook, electronic document, or app where you can record the progress you’re making. If you’re working on improving your test grades, record each test score so that you can see how you’re doing. This will also help you focus on your own progress instead of comparing yourself to someone else.
Pearson's Law: "That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially." - Karl Pearson
Sometimes the satisfaction of getting something done is all the reward we need. But let’s be honest: who wouldn’t want to have a treat along with that mental satisfaction? Take time to celebrate your hard work and perseverance. Pick out something awesome ahead of time that you will get to do or treat yourself with once you’ve reached your goal. If it’s an activity with your friends, put their picture up where you can see it. If it’s something you want to buy yourself, put the money in an envelope and label it with the name of the completed goal.