Clarify your goals, find your motivation, and get started.
You have something you want to accomplish, a goal that you want to reach, but for some reason you can’t seem to get started. Maybe your goal isn’t quite clear yet, maybe you don’t know where to start, or perhaps you just can’t find the motivation. These are all things that many people struggle with. We are going to give you a few tried and true things you can do to help get started and moving towards achieving your goals.
Clarify and set your goals:
Most of us have more than one thing we want to accomplish at any given time. This can create a feeling of doubt and uncertainty in what exactly it is we want to accomplish. The first thing we need to do is organize our thoughts and clarify our direction. How do we do that? The old fashioned way of writing down all of the things we want to accomplish and then refining.
Step 1: List your goals. Open up a note taking app, grab a pen and paper, or go full hipster and break out the quill and parchment. Start writing down everything it is you want to accomplish. List them on a new line, one after the other, but don’t number them. Nothing is too small or too big for this list. Write down every goal that comes to mind. When you feel like your list is complete move on to step 2.
Step 2: Rank your goals. Look through your list and consider each goal. When you find one that is really important to you, put a number 1 beside it. Keep looking through your list and put successive numbers beside items in the order of importance. You can rank everything on your list if you wish but try to rank at least five. If you don’t have five, no worries, just rank however many you have in the order of importance to you.
Step 3: Refine your list. Look at your top five goals (or however many you have) and go over it again. Think about each goal and how important it is for you to accomplish. If one goal seems more important than one you previously ranked higher then go ahead and change it. This is all about clarification and refining your goals. Once you are sure of your order, highlight or circle your top three goals. These will be the things that receive your attention.
Now that you have clarified the three most important things you want to accomplish, forget about everything else on your list. They aren’t as important right now. You can always go back later and keep working down your list as you start accomplishing your top three goals.
Your number 1 item gets your utmost attention and focus. Number 2 gets some of your attention and number 3 only gets attention when you have extra time or you are feeling really great about your progress on 1 and 2. If you feel like you can only focus on one goal at a time then that’s absolutely fine as well. Crush goal 1 then move on to number 2.
Trying to focus on too many things at once only ends up leaving us feeling like we can’t accomplish anything. Having only three makes it more manageable. You can expect to start seeing results because you aren’t pulled in several different directions.
Find the motivation to get started:
Motivation can be tricky, it’s very personal. What might motivate you may be the last thing that motivates someone else.
You may already have sources of motivation like family, prestige, or money and that’s great but the key is to find a reason that really resonates with you. Perhaps one of those things already does, great! We want a source of motivation that not only gets us started but sustains us. You may need to draw from this source on a daily basis or even hourly until you gain momentum. The deeper your motivation the more likely you are to get started and keep moving.
There are a few things you can do to help you find motivation.
1. Do something similar to what we did above for clarifying and setting your goals. Create a list of all of the reasons why you want to accomplish your goals and then narrow it down to a top three list of the most important reasons why you want to accomplish your goal. Again, write down everything that comes to mind, nothing is too big or too small. Once you have your top 3, keep them front of mind and draw from them whenever you need a push to get going.
2. Meditate. Meditation has proven to have profound effects on the mind. It can help create clarity and reveal things about yourself you may have been blind to in the past. You may just find a profound reason to get started. Of course traditional meditation has great results but you don’t have to go that route if you don’t want to. Just being alone with your thoughts can be a form of meditation. Personally I find putting in my headphones, throwing on some music or a podcast and going for a walk is a very powerful form of meditation for me. It gives me personal time to think and I often come up with many great ideas during this time.
3. Reward yourself. This can be a powerful way to get motivated but it’s more of a Hail Mary and shouldn’t be considered a sustaining source of motivation. This is kind of like putting a carrot in front of a rabbit’s nose to get it to move forward. This shouldn’t be a long term solution and should really be reserved for major milestones, but in the beginning every little thing you accomplish can seem like a major milestone. So if there is something you want, like a special meal or purchase or treat, go ahead and use that to get going. When you do something to the point where you feel good about yourself then go ahead and reward yourself.
Tip – Write down what motivates you and keep it handy. A note or picture on your phone is an easy way to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Determine where to start:
Where you start isn’t nearly as important as just getting started. If you’re anything like me then you have a tendency to overthink things to the point of frustration. This leaves us feeling overwhelmed and wanting to give up before we even begin.
When we start something, often times we are very far away from the finish line. It can feel like there are an endless number of things that need to be done to get from A to Z. It can end up seeming impossible if we spend too much time thinking about everything we have to do to get to the finish line.
Although it’s important to have a clear idea of your end result, it’s not the focus of this article. What’s more important is just getting moving and gaining some momentum.
The key is to keep things simple. Don’t overthink it. If you want to lose weight don’t think about finding the perfect diet and exercise regime, just get up and go for a walk. If you want to find a new career don’t start thinking about all of the different career options, just update your resume. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, start by writing a single article.
The idea is to just start somewhere and build from there. Things start to flow naturally when you are already in motion. Take the pressure off and just do whatever you feel like doing right now.
If you’ve gone through this article and applied the lessons you should have a clear goal to focus on, a strong source of motivation, and an idea of where to get started. None of this means anything if you don’t actually do something. You need to take action in order to reach your goals. Unfortunately there’s no magic pill, just action and work. You should have a strong foundation now in order get started, so take action. Don’t wait! Move. Now.