You have set yourself a new goal. You’re excited, inspired, and motivated to achieve your next level of success. Things are going great, and you’re making progress. Then, it happens—out of nowhere, you find yourself stuck, stalled, or stopped. You can’t believe that just a short time ago you were on fire and crushing it, and now you’re not getting any closer to achieving what you want. You’ve hit “the wall.”
How can you stay determined when you hit the motivation wall?
It’s common to feel great about starting a new project or goal. In the beginning, we feel like we have the energy and passion to get something or accomplish something that we want. Willpower is what most people rely on to get started. However, willpower is not enough. It has a short life, and it alone cannot sustain the effort needed to reach the finish line when obstacles get in the way. You need a better strategy.
Here are 3 keys to staying motivated and determined no matter what, so you can use your time right: set S.M.A.R.T. goals, set tour “Why”, and set your schedule.
Key #1: Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Your “GPS S.M.A.R.T. Goals” are specific goals meant to move you in the direction of your overall success. To be successful, you have to first make sure your goal is set up correctly.
Take the time to craft written goals and put them down on paper. This is the first step to make sure you have the highest chance of success. It’s like setting the right address into your GPS.
S.M.A.R.T. goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-centered.
Create your goal with as much detail as possible. It should be written with precision, clarity, and specifics by focusing on the five W’s:Who? What? Where? When? Why?
Establish specific criteria for measuring your goal so you can track your progress and stay motivated.How will I measure progress? How will I know when my goal is achieved? How much? How many?
Answering these questions will give you the details on how to measure progress and see that you are always moving forward—for example, in income, pounds lost, hours saved, etc.
Make sure that your goal is achievable and realistic. It should stretch you and push you to your limits but still be obtainable.What appropriate and inspired actions do I need to take to meet my goal? How can I achieve this goal?
Choose a goal that you are willing and can put the appropriate time and effort into. Also, that goal should be something that actually matters to you and/or the collective.Does it connect to my overall short-term and long-term plans? Is this goal going to make a positive difference for me and/or others? Is this aligned with my “why” or purpose and my values?
Have scheduled and trackable tasks and timelines. This inspires action and holds you accountable while also helping you stay determined. Also, you should set a specific time frame for accomplishing your goal.When will this goal be completed? Am I committed to investing the time needed?
Use these questions to make sure that every goal you make is a SMART goal.
Key # 2: Your “Why”
The bigger the “why” the easier the “how.” —Jim Rohn
Clients come to me when they’re stuck, stopped, or struggling to have the life they want and when they want to accelerate their progress or have more consistent results than they’re getting, whether it’s in their business or their personal lives.
One of the very first things I ask any and every client is this: “What are you committed to having?”
That can be anything from their life purpose, a specific business goal, or a life goal. Most people have a clear understanding of the goal, such as “building my business,” “having a better relationship with my spouse,” or “being healthy and fit.”
The big question comes next. I ask them the simple question, “Why do you want that?”
The typical response is a generalized surface answer with no deep emotional connection to their core motivation and purpose. It has been pre-programmed for so long that it doesn’t have a current and relevant emotional connection. This gap between their obvious answer and their core motivation is the primary reason why so many people get stuck, stopped, struggle, or lack consistency and motivation.
Simon Sinek, one of the leading thinkers on this topic, tells us in his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, that “everyone knows what they do 100 percent of the time. Some know how they do it. Very few people in organizations, in the world, and their own personal life know why they do what they do.”
His definition of “why” is “the purpose or cause—the single driving motivation for action.” Knowing your own “why” is the key to connecting with the deep motivational centers of your brain that inspire action. Your “why” gets you to connect with your purpose. Your “why” then becomes your purpose identified, and this helps you stay determined.
Why Is Your “Why” So Important?
Your “why” gives meaning to everything you do. You can appear to be successful on the outside, but if you are not internally aligned with your why, you will never truly feel satisfied in life.
Your “why” directs and guides you. Not only can your “why” give you meaning, but it can also give you a clear direction about where to go in life. It can help you make both big and small decisions and take the next step.
Your “why”motivates you. In life, there will be difficult times to go through. You may experience setbacks, rejection, and failure. In such situations, your “why” can give you the motivation you need to keep going. It also becomes your GPS guide in everything you do with your time and schedule.
Identify Your Why
I have a specific process you can use to uncover your purpose. It involves answering the questions below. You must ask yourself the key question 4 to 5 times.
As an example, I’ve provided my own answers as a way for you to understand what the process is like.
“What am I committed to having?”
My answer: “To be the best researcher, speaker, and coach.”
My answer: “So I can feel good about helping people improve their lives.” Why is that important?
My answer: “So they feel someone is in their corner supporting them.” Why is that important?
My answer: “So they believe that they can have the life they want.” Why is that important?
My answer: “To help people discover and live their true purpose.”
This last answer finally got me to the core of my true motivation. It can take 4 to 5 tries asking yourself “why is that important?” until you really hit on your core reason or belief that’s motivating you.
Determining your “why” can apply to specific goals in any area of your life. For every goal you have or anything you want to achieve, you need to know the “why” to align your efforts and motivations to achieve your goals.
Here is another example:
I had a client come in for wellness and health issues that were affecting her business performance. Audrey is an executive in her late forties. She believed she had 20 pounds to lose and knew she was not in good physical condition.
When she walked in, she said, “I’m having some barriers to losing weight.”
“What’s your goal?” I asked.
“To lose 20 pounds.”
“Why is that important to you?”
“Well, so I can feel good,” she answered.
“Why is that important to you?”
“You know, so I can feel healthy.”
“Why is that important to you?”
“I need to be more active to keep up with my kids.”
“Why is that important to you?”
“Because my mother passed away when I was 20, and I want to be there well into adulthood for my kids.”
I could literally see the shift reflected in her eyes. Audrey’s purpose was not just about losing 20 pounds so she could be more active and feel better. Instead, her “why” for this particular goal was to be present and have an enriched long life with her kids. When she realized that, she became highly motivated and easily lost all the weight after trying and failing in the past.
If I had let Audrey’s purpose be to just lose some weight over time, she would have failed. There would have been no connection with the deep motivational centers of her brain—the area that motivates her to take action.
Your “Why” Makes Your Time Relevant
Connecting with your why ensures that you are using your gifts and talents in a way that connects you with your true purpose, making a positive difference for you and your community. This is key to learning how to be determined because it directs and maximizes your time in a purposeful and meaningful way that gives relevance to everything you do.
Key #3: Schedule Everything
Now that you have established your SMART goals and determined your “why,” it’s time to schedule what you need to do to accomplish them. You can do this successfully by making sure you put your tasks on your calendar.
Your calendar is where you are committing your most valuable asset—time—to your most important priorities. If your tasks are not on your calendar with the appropriate time scheduled for them, there is a good chance in our 24/7 hyper distracted world they won’t happen.
Your daily schedule should be written as a visual reminder of what you have chosen to do on any given day, which guides the intentions you set for each day. It represents what’s important in your life and business.
There is an old productivity saying that I live by: “If it’s not on the calendar, it didn’t happen.” Live with this mindset and calendar everything important, and scheduling will be the key to unlocking your motivation and potential and staying determined.
Knowing how to stay determined despite the hardships you’ll face is not an easy task. So, the next time you’re lacking motivation, set yourself up for success by using these 3 steps: set S.M.A.R.T. goals, connect to your “why”, and schedule everything. Doing this will ensure that you start strong, build momentum, and stay determined in reaching your most important goals.
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Featured photo credit: dylan nolte via unsplash.com