Motivation, regardless of the goal, can sometimes be hard to generate. It’s just so much easier to sometimes make excuses rather than to actually start the action steps towards a goal. What makes it all even more challenging is that we may not even see the excuses as excuses by stating they are “reasons” instead.
With that in mind, I think the natural question is: What steps can we take to overcome those obstacles?
First, I think you need to clearly define your goal.
This may seem unnecessary, but how will you know you’re getting closer and making progress unless you know exactly where you are headed? Another benefit of knowing exactly where you are headed is that it gives you chance to define what I’ll call “step-goals” towards your “final goal”.
What is a “step-goal”? A “step-goal” is one of the tasks you need to achieve in order to reach your “final goal”. (I say “final goal” because you may decide to enhance your outcome after you’ve reached your final goal.) When you can clearly define your individual tasks, or “step-goals”, then it breaks down what might be an “overwhelming” process.
When you break it all down into smaller tasks, then reaching your “final goal” doesn’t seem so impossible. The added bonus is that you can celebrate your progress every time you reach a “step-goal”! Remember that allowing yourself to acknowledge and celebrate each “step-goal” completion means an opportunity to realize that you really are making progress!
Second, place the next 2 to 3 steps on your calendar.
I don’t know about you, but I am really bothered by not completing everything I place on my calendar. It feels really good to me when I know I’ve completed all of those self-assigned tasks.
By placing the next 2 to 3 “step-goals” on your calendar, then you know you are making time for those tasks and that further helps you to eliminate those excuses (or “reasons”) of why you’re not making progress towards your goal.
The reason I say to put only the next 2 to 3 tasks on your calendar is so that you don’t start feeling overwhelmed again by placing too much on your calendar. If you keep it to just 2 or 3 steps and not place more on your calendar until after those are done, then it will help you to see just how achievable your goal really is. With this method of just a little at a time, you’ll reach your final goal before you know it! Remember, completion of these step-goals is where the celebrations and self-acknowledgment of real accomplishment come in!
Third, take action and let nothing stop you!
When you start your next step-goal, it is best to eliminate any other left over would-be distractions. If none of these are needed to get your tasks accomplished, you can start by silencing your phone, turning off the computer, turning off the TV and asking someone to care for any little ones, etc. You can also (if possible) either move yourself into a quiet environment that allows you to focus or turn on some upbeat music to get you going.
You may also find yourself very tempted by other projects if they seem more desirable than what you have planned to do now; but remember that you set out to get this goal accomplished now and that those other projects will get completed at their designated times.
The main goal here is to decide you are going to start and then take action to start by just getting up and doing it. And, once you actually start, it’s much easier to keep going to where you might even do more than you originally planned to!
Did you notice a theme?
Did you notice that most of the above steps have to do with taking an action of sort?
Even planning out the steps ahead of time (as mentioned in steps one and two) is still taking action as it’s moving beyond procrastination. The action of planning ahead really is, as discussed above, a huge factor in eliminating excuses and accomplishing goals both at the same time. Since you know you’ve made the time in your schedule to accomplish those goals, any distractions that would turn into excuses while working on your goal no longer have any room to disturb you!
In the end, it’s the action steps you take that will get you there. And, as always, celebrate your accomplishments because that will inspire positive feedback thereby providing even more motivation to do more!
So now that you have a road-map to follow, go start achieving your goals by planning ahead, putting those tasks on your calendar, taking action now and sharing your comments on what else works for you!