Friday, April 3, 2009

Five Ways to Stay Motivated and Achieve Your Goals

Are you having one of those days when nothing seems to go right? Is every task you try to do harder than you thought it would be, and do you seem to encounter problem after problem along the way? We all have stressful times during our lives when everything seems to be going wrong, but it's crucial to stay positive as giving in will usually make the situation worse. Here are five ways to stay motivated and achieve your dreams:

1. Think less and act more

Stop putting off that difficult job because you're worried it will be too much for you, or you won't be able to do it. The more you worry about something you have to do, the less you will want to do it, so just making yourself get started is one of the best ways to stay motivated. You may have all sorts of excuses for mot doing something, but once you make a start you'll feel so much more motivated to continue.

2. Plan your time and stick to the plan

Having a large task ahead of you, or a big project to complete, can be very daunting, and without a clear view of how much you have to do and when you are going to do it, it can be easy to get sidetracked and put things off until the last minute.

If you have a large project at work, set aside two hours at the same time each day to work on that particular job. Be clear about which tasks you want to complete during that two hours. If you are trying to get fit or lose weight, decide on two evenings a week when you are going to do an exercise class, or go to the gym, and stick to that.

3. Set yourself targets and treat yourself when you reach them

One of the easiest ways to stay motivated is to set yourself achievable targets. If you are setting up your own business, saying that you want to be earning $40k in five years time is a far away target. Break that five years down into periods of six months and decide how much you aim to be earning in each six month period, building up to the five years.

When you reach your targets, you will feel a great sense of achievement, and if you don't quite make it you can evaluate where you could improve to make sure you are on track for the next six months.

4. Mix things up a little

Boredom with the same routine can easily cause us to become unmotivated, so if you are feeling that you need a change then make one. If you are tired of going to the gym, start running in the park instead. If you always work in your home office, try relocating to the deck for a few hours. Even small changes in your routine can be great ways to stay motivated.

5. Make time to relax and avoid burnout

Many people go head on into a project or business venture, and give it all their time and energy, only to collapse with exhaustion after six months and give it all up. One of the most important ways to stay motivated is to take time out to rest and enjoy yourself. Step back and appreciate what you have achieved, make time for a hobby, and spend a few hours with friends and family.

Perhaps some days you have planned to work, but you wake up feeling totally unmotivated. Don't take a whole day off as this will set a precedent, but it's ok to reduce the amount of work you do. Maybe decide just to work until lunchtime and take the afternoon off, but make sure you accomplish something tangible in the morning that you can be proud of to keep you motivated.

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