If you read this blog regularly, you know that goal setting is one of my favorite topics to talk about! Goals are inherently challenging, but they become even more so when they’re long-term goals and will take us months, if not years, to achieve. Though these tend to be the biggest goals that will have the greatest impact on your life, it can be really difficult to stay focused on something for that long, and our motivation is bound to slip a bit. In this post, you’ll find some action items for making your goals better and staying motivated to reach those long-term goals.
Break Them Down Into Small, Manageable Steps
I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to reach a long-term goal is looking at the goal as one large, singular task. When you’re talking about something that is going to take months, a year, or more, it’s important to break the goal down into smaller, more bite-sized pieces. This will help you get some guidance on what you should be working on to reach your goal, and you’ll get additional motivation each time you get to cross something off the list.
Make sure to check out my favorite to do list for staying on top of my goals!
Make Them SMART
The best goals are SMART goals, meaning specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Write those on a post-it note on your desk and each time you set out on a new goal, go down the list and make sure your long-term goal meets each of those requirements. They’ll provide clarity, help motivate you, and help you narrow your goals down as much as possible.
I find accountability to be really beneficial when it comes to long-term goals because when all else fails and you’ve lost your motivation, having some accountability measure in place can help jump-start your motivation, or at least push you to follow through on your goal, even if reluctantly. For a long time, I shared monthly goals on the blog, which really helped me stay accountable to my audience. Even now that I don’t share those posts, I feel an accountability to my audience because they expect to see new posts from me regularly.
It might help to find an accountability partner (a great strategy when it comes to fitness goals) or simply sharing your goals with someone else. Just knowing that someone else will know when you slip up can be a big motivator.
Know Your Why
First of all, I think knowing your why is super important for staying motivated. It helps to look at what the final result might be rather than the hurdle in front of you. When it comes to blogging, sometimes the individual tasks can seem quite tedious, but reminding myself of my long-term blogging goals and why I want to reach those goals helps me to refocus and makes the task at hand seem more important.
In addition to creating motivation, I also think knowing your why helps to vet out the good goals from the bad. I do feel that we sometimes set arbitrary goals without really having a purpose behind them, and forcing yourself to identify why you’re setting a goal may help to avoid a goal that isn’t worthwhile.
Track Your Progress
When it comes to long-term goals, tracking your progress is essential for staying motivated and staying on track. Not only does this give an indicator as to whether you’re on track with your goal deadline or whether you need to make some changes to your goal strategy. Tracking your progress can also be great for motivation because you’ll get excited each time you hit a major milestone and are one step closer to reaching your goal.
Change Your Habits
When it comes to long-term goals and lifestyle changes, I find that changing habits is the most effective way to go about it. It makes accomplishing your goal easier because the steps have simply become second nature to you. Also, if you’re hoping to make a permanent lifestyle change, it helps to keep going with it long after you’ve finished your goal.
For example, let’s say you’re a runner. Running a marathon is certainly an ambitious and worthwhile goal, but it has an end-date. If what you’re really after is wanting to become a runner, then it makes more sense to make running a habit and a regular part of your routine so that once the marathon has come and gone, the running habit remains. This doesn’t only apply to fitness goals either – you could apply it to any goal!
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Seek Out Motivation
I know in the past I’ve cautioned against comparing yourself to others who are several steps ahead of you, but in some cases, it can be a great motivator. There’s a reason why fitness Instagram accounts are so popular! People who are struggling with their own fitness goals can look to others who have already reached theirs (or those who are currently striving toward the same goal) and find motivation through them. However, it’s important that you only continue this if you actually find it to be a positive motivator, and not if you find yourself comparing your own success and feeling down on yourself.