How to Become & Stay Motivated

05/18/2016 09:58 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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I don't know about you, but I am never short of good intentions or ideas: the difficulty that I encounter at times is maintaining that enthusiasm over time. How do we do that? How do we make sure that our great ideas and intentions make it into reality? Through trial and error in my own life and observing the people I coach and mentor, I have found that there are things that we can do to increase and maintain our motivation.

Are You Inspired? What is your goal and why do you want it?

Often people take on goals that they think they "should" do or that sound good, but that don't actually inspire them. Make sure your goal is your own and that it inspires you. Lack of motivation often shows up when we are not really inspired about what we are doing or when we are doing something because we think we "should". Make sure your goal inspires you firstly. If it doesn't, go back to the drawing board!

Work SMART

Creating SMART goals can be really helpful. SMART Goals are:

Specific

Get specific with tyour goal. What do you want to achieve? By when or how often? For example, get fit and go running three times a week.

Measurable
To stay on track, make sure your goal is measurable. How will you know when it is accomplished? For example, write every day for one hour.

Achievable

Your goal may be a challenge, but also make sure it is achievable. Creating goals that are too big (or too small) can be de-motivating.

Realistic

Make sure your goal is something you are willing and able to work towards

Timely

Your goal should have a time frame, so that you are clear what you are working towards and by when.

Focus

Focussing on one thing at a time increases the likelihood of success. For example, if you want to start a new business it is worth focussing all your energies into that as much as possible. Of course, life doesn't always work that way and you may need to juggle some of your goals, however many people fail at their goals because they try and tackle too many things at once. As much as possible, try to focus and give yourself completely to the
goal in hand.

Take Small Steps

Taking small steps towards your goals each day helps you to stay on track and stops you feeling overwhelmed. "Playing big" can be useful, but it is also important to ensure the time you spend working towards your goals is realistic and sustainable. Personally, I have found that I am much more likely to achieve my goals if I make them part of my every day life.

Use Positive Self Talk

Using positive self talk (or affirmations) can be a great help in keeping yourself inspired and motivated as you work towards your goal. If I catch myself thinking negatively about one of my goals, I try to "press pause" on my thoughts and create a positive affirmation in it's place. I always use affirmations when I am running and they really help me to feel inspired and good about what I am doing!

Recognise Your Achievements

A lot of us are very good at noticing what we haven't done, but find it hard to acknowledge what we have done. If we work in this way, it is easy to become de-motivated and want to give up on our goal. Make sure you recognise the steps you are taking each day towards your goal. Celebrate all your wins! You could work with a coach to help you with this or make sure you create time each day to acknowledge the steps you have made. Acknowledging our achievements can feel a little awkward when we are not used to it, but it really makes the world of difference to how we feel about our goals and also our ability to achieve them. Be your own coach (rather than a tough task master!)

Jen Smith is a Life Coach and Writer. She has written hundreds of articles and has been featured in a variety outlets both online and in magazines. Jen has also coached hundreds of people, helping them to achieve their goals and dreams. Get your FREE "Beyond People-Pleasing" eBook and find out more about Jen at www.jenmsmith.com.