Ever been working toward something so hard and then, all of the sudden, run out of steam?
Yeah, it has happened to me, too.
And it’s always difficult to pick up the project again and still go for it. Because every time I think about it, I just get exhausted.
Goal half-finished. Project perpetually undone.
So I find another goal and start on that one instead, and the process repeats itself. For the longest time, I always found myself in the middle of a million half-completed projects.
That was the case more often than not before I found a system that worked for me.
But this past year, as I’ve been steadily trudging along in my solopreneurship of blogging and freelancing, I finally found what clicked. I figured out how to stay motivated on the daily and accomplish my long-term goals.
In fact, I actually had a hard time setting new goals this year because I had accomplished (or am steadily on my way to accomplishing) virtually everything I had set out for myself last year.
That felt weird to realize.
And amazing. It meant that I could start setting bigger, harder goals.
Now – I did figure out some new goals for this year. But I did have to sit awhile longer and think about it. And now I’m quite optimistic about this brand new 2018.
Here’s what worked for me; maybe it’ll work for you, too.
1. Start with the correct type of goal-setting.
There’s a million different methods for goal-setting, and you can use whichever one you want, but my favorite by far is called dreamlining. I’ve talked about dreamlining before, but I’m going to hash it out here a little bit more for those who are interested in this type of goal-setting. If you’re already familiar with the method, feel free to skip to the next section.
I originally discovered dreamlining in Tim Ferriss’s book The 4-Hour Workweek. The nuts and bolts of it is this:
- Decide the timeline for your dreams, generally either 6 or 12 months.
- Start with 3 categories of dreams: having, being, doing. [Things you would like to have, what you would like to be, and things you would like to do.]
- Write 5 dreams per category. Think big with little to no regard for financial limitations.
- Choose 4 dreams from the entire list that, if accomplished, would change everything for you.
- Calculate the total cost of each dream. For the “being” category, you must first translate the dream(s) into “doing,” as being something takes action to accomplish. For example, if you want to be an excellent watercolor artist, your translation into doing may mean that your work is featured in a local art gallery.
- Figure out your cost per month to achieve each of your four dreams.
- Total up your dreams’ monthly costs + (1.3 x monthly expenses). The extra 30% is a buffer. Then, divide that amount by 30 to get your Target Daily Income. This is how much extra money you need to realize your dreams.
- Write out actionable steps to take right now, tomorrow, and the day after to accomplish those goals. Getting started right away is crucial to building momentum and achieving your goals.
- If you’re worried about the extra money you need to accomplish your goals, I’d recommend reading the rest of his book. That’s what it’s about.
I have found this type of goal setting to be extraordinarily motivating within itself because you’re focusing on goals that would literally change your life if accomplished. Things that are intrinsically exciting and motivating to you.
If you’re going to stay motivated, you’ve got to start with goals that have the power to stay in the back of your mind and nag you in the best possible way.
2. Get to the WHY of each life-changing dream.
The next step I use is to ask yourself WHY each dream matters 5 times in a row, digging deeper each time. (And yes, you’ll actually use your answers practically later on. It’s not just an exercise.)
For each answer you come up with, ask again why what you just said matters to you. 5x.
Not only will you get a deeper understanding of what you value through this process, but you’ll get to the core, motivating factor behind the dream. This is really important for the next step.
3. Build a vision board in a place that you spend a lot of time.
A picture is said to be worth a thousand words, but if it helps you change your life, I’d say it’s pretty much priceless.
People are intensely visual creatures, and pictures and art often times communicate far more than what our words can try to get across. Our brains process visuals more quickly and deeply than almost anything else.
If you’re wanting to stay motivated, then, you need to surround yourself with goal-oriented, awe-inspiring, finger-tingling visuals as often as possible.
This is where a vision board comes in. Here’s my preferred, dream-oriented way of making one.
- Get on Pinterest and name it “Dreams 20xx [the year]”.
- With your 4 major dreams in mind, start pinning anything that speaks of those dreams. You should be pinning things that, when you see them, excite you. Quotes are allowed, but be sure to include plenty of pictures and artwork, too. Feel free to use your own images as well, as long as they relate to your end goals.
- Once done, get on Canva or some other graphic application and put your WHYs into printable quote format. Just use the very last WHYs (the core of your dreams) – there should only be four. Depending on how big you want your vision board to be, a 4x6in. graphic quote should suffice.
- Print your WHYs and favorite pins from the Dreams 20xx board. Either print from home or at your local Walgreens or CVS.
- Decide where your vision board is going to be. Usually it should be in your place of work, or your bedroom. But it needs to be in a place where you will see it multiple times per day. Get a cork board or use painters tape to put up all of the photos and quotes that relate to this year’s dreams.
It’s pretty simple, but I can’t stress enough how important it is that you actually follow through with putting a vision board up that directly relates to your current goals and in a spot that you will see very often. This will serve as your constant motivator throughout trying to achieve your goals.
4. Keep a daily task list, and start with the 3 most important tasks.
You might want to tack your task list on your vision board and check it every day or, like me, keep a separate journal. This is the one I use and I love the layout of it.
Write down your three (or 4, since there are four dreams) most important tasks for the day towards accomplishing your goals. Do this every day. Accomplish the tasks as quickly as possible, either starting early in the morning before work, or first thing when you get home.
Getting into a routine like this will help you ensure that you are moving forward every day with accomplishing your most crucial tasks and meeting your end goals! It’s a simple method, at the end of the day, but it has been the most helpful one I’ve ever found.
Between setting truly inspiring goals, getting to the why they are important to you, setting up a source of daily inspiration, and keeping yourself on task, you’ve got everything you need to actually change your life this year.
What do you think? What methods do you use to stay motivated?