Whether you set a financial objective (say, saving $1000 dollars a year) or another goal like learning the piano or starting a small business, there are key strategies to get started and to stay motivated. Here are our five best pieces of advice.
1. Break your goal down into smaller, more attainable steps
Imagine your goal is to run a marathon. The prospect of running an entire marathon is pretty daunting, but if you break down your mission into smaller steps (for instance, running 5km without stopping, and then 10km, etc) it immediately seems much more achievable.
When you work in realistic stages, it’s easier to keep up a good pace (see what we did there?) and stay motivated. It really boils down to identifying objectives and concrete actions that can be implemented in days, weeks, or months. This type of action plan should have specific and measurable “mini goals” that add up to your ultimate one.
Taking one boxing class a week to build strength and skill is a more quantifiable and measurable plan compared to deciding to become a professional boxer. Breaking your ultimate goal into steps will not only help you reach the finish line, but the small wins along the way will help you stay motivated.
2. Keep the benefits of your goal in mind
Speaking of motivation, it can be easy to lose your drive if you lose sight of why you set the goal in the first place. If your aim is to put aside $100 dollars a week, but you don’t know why you’re doing it, you’ll have a hard time sticking to it.
If, however, you keep in mind that this $100 a week will help you pay for a luxurious vacation at the end of the year, you’ll be much more likely to follow your own plan. To make the one-year wait feel shorter, you can set a few milestones. For example, you can choose to save X amount after 3 months, X amount after 6 months, and so on.
Side note: Moka can help you with financial planning! The app allows you to set specific goals and set money aside to achieve them.
3. Hone your inner grit
Call it courage, endurance or resolve. Grit is a word that describes your strength of character and ability to persevere through difficult times and to meet challenges head on. Everyone has grit, and you can definitely cultivate this quality.
This form of tenacity makes it possible to accomplish whatever task you set for yourself regardless of talent, skills, or circumstances. Popularized by American psychologist, Angela Duckworth, the concept of grit proves to be very useful when pursuing objectives. We strongly recommend reading her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
4. Set a deadline
Depending on their nature, some goals don’t necessarily lend themselves well to deadlines. Setting deadlines, however, is a good strategy for creating incentives. If you recall our marathon example, the mission to run a marathon as a one-day challenge might mean setting yourself up for failure!
If you decide to set milestones over a set period of time to train for the marathon over two years, however, you’ve created a sound action plan that’s achievable. For long-term goals, such as learning to play a new instrument, break them down into specific steps and set deadlines for each of them.
5. Conduct regular check-ins
To help you stay on track, it’s important to regularly review your progress. These daily, weekly, or monthly check-ins are an excellent way to make sure you’re sticking to your action plan, and provide the opportunity to ensure your goal is aligned with your true needs and desires. Periodic check-ins also give you the chance to change your goal or even to set new ones! The main thing to keep in mind is to not feel guilty—you always have the right to change your mind.
Finally, consider writing down your objectives in a notebook (in order of importance, if necessary), and reread it regularly. You can also use the power of positive visualization throughout the day or before you sleep if that’s the best time. These methods can positively influence your unconscious; strengthening your motivation and helping you turn your dreams into reality.
Now go on, you’ve got this!