There are plenty of things working against you when it comes to staying motivated.
With laptops, tablets, and smartphones, there are millions of online distractions at your fingertips. Many people feel discouraged by the economic recession, especially when it comes to career and financial goals. But, at the end of the day, staying motivated is
up to you. With these six strategies, you can keep yourself motivated to do achieve your dreams.
1. Read a list of your short-term and long-term goals daily.
It’s easy to get derailed when you lose track of your goals. To remind yourself why you want to stay motivated in the first place, make a list of your short-term and long-term goals. Then, keep it in a place you’ll see each day.
Your short-term goals cover what you want to do within the next few days, weeks, or months. Your long-term goals are what you’d like to do within the next few years or decades. For example, paying off your credit balance early this month might be your short-term goal, while earning an excellent credit score might be your long-term goal. Choosing challenging but realistic goals will give you a reason to keep on truckin’.
2. Write a to-do list with prioritized items each morning.
Writing a to-do list each morning is a classic way to keep yourself motivated. Number the items on your to-do list according to how important they are. Don’t start the items at the bottom until you finish the items at the top. If you find your to-do list is too long, crop out the least important items to keep yourself focused.
3. Split big jobs into smaller jobs.
Once you have your to-do list, you may be put off by just how hard the items at the top seem. One way to get yourself going is to break these tasks into smaller sub tasks. For example, let’s say your task is to clean up the garage. Depending on how messy it is, that could take all day!
So, split that job into bite-size chunks. Step one could be “pick up all items on the floor.” Step two could be “sort unneeded items into piles to either be donated or thrown away.” You get the idea. Often, when you have a big task, the hardest part is getting started. Once you get going, you’re more motivated to continue.
Another related way to divide up a big task is to work on it ten minutes at a time. For example, you could go to the garage, set the timer on your cell phone for ten minutes, and work on only cleaning up the garage for those 10 minutes. When the timer rings, you can work on another task. That way, instead of thinking “it’s going to take forever to fix this mess,” you can focus on doing the best you can for those ten minutes.
4. Plan enough time to finish tasks, or overestimate a little.
Nothing saps your motivation like starting a task and realizing you don’t have enough time to finish it. Keep yourself on-track by blocking out time in advance to make sure you can get the job done. Try adding an extra 15 minutes of buffer time in case it takes longer than expected. If you don’t need the 15 minutes, you’ll be proud of yourself for finishing early. If you do need it, you’ll be glad you thought of it!
5. Before starting a task, ask yourself, “Can I do this?”
If you have kids, you may have seen this strategy on a kids’ TV show called “Bob the Builder.” It’s about a contract-based construction worker and his friends. Before they start a job, they ask themselves “Can we fix it?” and then shout “Yes, we can!” Then, they get the job done.
A recent study showed that asking yourself whether you can finish a task motivates you better than just telling yourself you will do it. The study, performed by professors from the University of Illinois and Southern Mississippi, split study participants into two groups, and asked them to spend a minute thinking to themselves before completing a task.
One group was asked to spend that minute telling themselves they would do it, while the other was asked to wonder whether they could do it. The group that asked themselves whether they could do it scored better on the task. This was repeated with one group being asked to write “I will…” while the other group was asked to write “Will I…” and again, the group that asked themselves a question did better. The researchers also found that participants who asked themselves how much they were going to exercise that week were more motivated to work out.
This may be because asking yourself a question makes you want to answer it, while just telling yourself something doesn’t provide more food for thought. So, before you start on something, ask yourself, “Am I going to get this done?” Then, work hard to make sure you don’t let yourself down!
6. Surround yourself with positive, motivated people.
It’s hard to stay motivated if your friends discourage you. If you can find people who are success-driven, they can give you the push you need. Having a supportive person cheer you on is so helpful that the Sam Houston State University Testing Center actually advises students to use this strategy to boost their grades.
Try finding a supportive friend or family member, telling them you need help getting motivated, and asking them for a pep talk. They may just say all the same things you tell yourself, but those words can sound more useful when you hear them from another person.
About the Author: Cami Hughes is a social media advocate helping families find the best credit card reward at CreditDonkey. She reminds you staying motivated often comes down to a mix of good time management skills, positive thinking, and good social support. These are all things you have control over. So, put yourself in the driver’s seat and focus on what you can do accomplish your goals today.