The first step in actually a bridge between action planning and taking action. You must firmly commit to do it. Commitment strategies are important – what will keep you going when you want to quit or are tired of trying? There are many factors that will affect your commitment: accountability, determination, structure and task management, and motivation.
The very first thing to ask yourself, before anything else, is “How much do I want to achieve this? How badly do I want it?”
- Make it public: Share it with another person. Make it public. This keeps you accountable, and increases the chances you’ll achieve your goal. This is a common tactic in beginning to exercise; working out with a buddy dramatically increases your chances of continuing to do it.
- Write it down: Writing down your goal and your commitment to achieving it makes it real, in a very tangible way. Seeing it in written form can motivate you when you feel like giving up. Write down the goal, your plan, the tasks you need to complete, and the date by which you hope to complete it.
- Manage your work: As discussed in the previous post on action planning, breaking your goal down into smaller, more manageable tasks increases the chances that you’ll achieve the overall goal. Do you need to do research? Manage the tasks. What about physical preparation? Go back to action planning if you need to – and don’t get too bogged down in the details.
So how do you stay motivated? If you have big or complex goals, you may find yourself feeling discouraged or “stuck.” Pull out your written commitment. Review your task management – do you need to break it down further? Depending on what’s going on, maybe take a break and give your mind and soul a (temporary) rest from any associated stress. Here are some other ideas:
- Create tangible objects: These can range from vision boards to progress planners to wall charts to pretty much anything you can imagine. I have found that having something physical as a reminder or motivator can be a big help.
- Reward yourself: A big reward at the end can help, but it’s also important to reward your progress along the way. If you want to see a behavior continue, you reinforce it; that’s a basic behavioral principle. Celebrate making progress as well as achieving your goal!
- Get a support system: Business groups often have “masterminds” where the members can brainstorm and support each other in their endeavors. If you don’t have a mastermind, maybe get together with someone who cares about you and will support you in reaching your goal. This could be an academic advisor, a friend, a partner – as long as it’s someone who knows your goal and is willing to be supportive.
Next up: Time to take action, and dealing with common obstacles
Disclaimer: The information and content of this blog are not meant to constitute therapy or therapeutic advice. If you are in need of help or think you’d like to talk to a counselor or psychologist, there are many available. If you are in a crisis, emergency or life-threatening situation, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. You’re not alone, and there are people who care and want to help. Calling 911 or going to your emergency is not weakness; it’s a true sign of strength.
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All information and content on this blog is ©2016 by Dr. Laura Burlingame-Lee, Ph.D., dba “The Power of Each Other.” For inquiries regarding reproduction or use for any purpose, please contact her at (970) 776-6043.