We’ve come to the final in the three-part series looking at becoming unstuck, goal-setting, and now stepping into action.

It’s inspiring and satisfying to have reached this point! However, sticking to your goals is not always that easy. A lack of motivation is often the reason why we fail at being consistent and reaching our goals.

Motivation and goals have a symbiotic relationship: goals increase our motivation but on the other hand motivation and discipline help us to take the steps towards achieving our goals.

Motivation drives our actions

Motivation helps you perform a specific task, guides your behaviour, and can not stand in isolation.

Goals provide tangible outcomes – every time we reach a milestone, we feel a sense of accomplishment which in turn motivates us to keep going.

However, it has been proven that our motivation and self-esteem are negatively impacted when we fail to achieve our goals. Therefore setting realistic, achievable goals is incredibly important to stay focussed.

WATCH: How to set goals

Motivation can either be extrinsic or intrinsic and you need to recognise which of the two you naturally gravitate towards:

  • Extrinsic motivation – external factors that drive you such as awards, praise, money or social recognition.
  • Intrinsic motivation – internal factors that encourage you such as accomplishing a difficult task, gaining knowledge or learning a new skill.

Merely having a desire to accomplish something is simply not enough. You need to be persistent and have the endurance to overcome obstacles along the way. Low motivation usually stems from:

  • Expecting quick fixes and not settling in for the long haul
  • Thinking you should be perfect without any (re)lapses
  • Copying someone else’s method and as a result not finding true value

Practical ways to stay on track

When we set goals, we usually do it for personal reasons meaning we will be doing this alone and need to rely only on ourselves to stay accountable. We find truth in common excuses such as “It’s too hard”, “ I don’t have the time” or “I’ll start next month when things quieten down”, and easily give up or allow the running shoes to gather dust.

We need self-control to realise our goals. Without it, we will succumb to excuses and allow life to get in the way.

Here are a few tips on how to keep going:

  • Daily, remind yourself of your “why”: In Part 2 of this series, I delve into discovering the reasoning behind starting or stopping something, and understanding how important an emotional attachment is to your goals. Write it down daily or have it pinned to the bathroom mirror, reminding you what you are working towards.
  • Break down your goals: Change doesn’t happen overnight so why do we always expect a quick fix and instant results? Break your main goal into smaller ones such as adding the cash you would have spent on buying coffee every day in a jar and physically counting how much you are saving weekly. You will soon be inspired and realise that your financial goal might not be that far in the future after all.
  • Empower yourself: Follow podcasts with expert speakers and speak to people who have completed their goals. They will inspire you and share some wisdom as to how they managed to keep on track.
  • Manage your time: Stop the endless social media scrolling and Netflix binging and use the time towards achieving your goal. If you are struggling, keep a diary of your screen time and come to realise how this “dead time” is fueling your excuses of not having enough time in a day to spend on your goal.
  • Track your progress: Use an app or a log book to keep a record and view your progress. This visual representation will keep you motivated and ignite the flame to keep on going.
  • Visualise you reaching your goal: Visualisation is the practice of “seeing” or imagining yourself at the end of reaching your goal. This positive affirmation will start becoming a reality, assisting you, especially on those difficult days to push through.
  • Keep going: Some days are easier than others since working towards a goal has its difficulty and frustration. But keep on persevering! Even if you can’t complete the full intended milestone for the day, just do something. If your aim is for example, 30 minutes of exercise daily but you are strapped for time on a particular day, then opt for a more intensive 10 minutes on that day rather than skipping it all together. This will assist you in building a routine and keeping the momentum.
  • Publicly declare your goals: It’s been proven that we are four times more likely to accomplish a goal if we publicly declare our intent. This will create a sense of accountability and ownership – no one wants to be called out for failing.
  • Build a routine: Routine does not feel very spontaneous but without it, you will easily pile on the excuses. Routine optimises time and energy and provides a sense of control.
  • Find an accountability partner: When the going gets tough, the tough needs a hand. An accountability partner is someone who can help you maintain commitment and consistency toward your goal by joining you or checking in with you. They provide crucial support and encouragement. When you have “appointments” with an accountability partner, it creates a sense of obligation not only to yourself but also to your partner, fostering a powerful motivation to succeed.