How many times have we or people we know made new resolutions for the coming year, or even the coming month or week, yet after doing it for a short time, the habits get lost and the resolution slips away uncompleted?
By contrast, we have all heard inspirational stories of people who have overcome incredible odds and obstacles, achieving amazing goals and feats.
What is it that makes the difference between those who conquer their goals and those who fall away from their goals and don’t see them come to fruition?
Obviously the people in both cases started with a goal and had resolved in their mind and heart to do it. So, having a goal wasn’t the issue. Motivation to keep going when it got tough was the problem.
So, what’s the key to motivation that lasts?
That’s right, you have to have a compelling reason that goes beyond a whimsical ambition. If your goal is based on a superficial feeling that seemed like a good idea at the time, it will probably be dropped and forgotten when more important issues start getting in the way.
If you set a goal that you really want to achieve, the first thing you MUST clarify and keep at the forefront of your mind is, WHY AM I DOING THIS?
The achievement of that goal must have significant, personal meaning to you. Without having an emotional connection to the success or failure of that goal, you will not have the strength to persevere when the goal become more difficult, which is virtually guaranteed.
Passion is your driving force behind your motivation, and passion is driven by your reason; what it means to you personally. Your reason can’t ignite passion if it remains unidentified and unclarified. That is why writing down a clear statement explaining WHY you want to achieve this goal is crucial to your success.
A light case of guilt for quitting isn’t going to be enough of a loss to outweigh the sacrifice of pushing through difficult times.
There needs to be a hefty conviction of loss if you do not finish your goal, and an equal or greater sense of victory and joy if you succeed.
Make the failure to finish your goal feel like much worse of a loss than the sacrifice of overcoming obstacles and temptations.
Here is an example for a goal I am working on right now.
I am trying to write my first novel, ever! It is a terrifying goal, but also a very exciting one if I succeed. Here is how I break down this goal to keep myself motivated.
1. I state my goal. (There is more to this step as well, but I will get into that soon when I post about setting goals. Please stay tuned!)
— I want to write a book.
2. I clarify my reason, and dig deep inside my heart to articulate what it really means to me.
— I want to write a book that can help kids, but much more specifically, I want it to help my niece. My niece is six years old right now, but I want to write about things that will be easier for her to understand in a few years, so I am going to write for the upper elementary to early middle school age range.
My hope for this book is that, at the time that my niece is old enough to read it, it will teach her lessons, virtues and habits that will help her overcome anything life throws at her. I want this book to help her grow and become resilient and confident, with hope and strength, no matter her situation.
I want it to teach these things in creative ways so that it keeps her attention and helps her learn through imagination. I want her to benefit from this book, and I want her to understand how much she is loved by the gift of this book.
3. I clarify the consequences and possible feelings if I do not complete this goal.
—If I don’t write and finish this book, I could miss out on a huge opportunity to positively impact the life of my little niece. She could miss out on important lessons that she could have been exposed to through this fun story, and end up having to learn more things the hard way, which could cause pain and difficulty that could have been avoided if I would have just taken the time to invest in her learning and development early on.
— I believe I would feel sad and maybe even a sense of responsibility if I don’t invest in my niece by giving her this valuable story of life lessons. Any time she falls into trouble or mistakes by failing to use the skills and virtues that she could have learned through this book, I might wonder if I could have helped her avoid such mistakes.
4. I never just acknowledge the negatives, I try to find even stronger positive reasons — clarifying the rewards and feelings if I succeed in completing my goal.
— If I successfully finish this book, I have the opportunity to give my niece a gift that could make her feel loved, that could help her learn things that allow her to avoid many mistakes and learn well from any mistakes that she does make, to overcome tough times and situations, and to really make a positive difference in her life.
Even more than that, there may be the potential of an incredible opportunity to have the same positive impact on many more kids and families by making the book available for other people to read as well!
— I would feel so amazingly good, accomplished, pleased and blessed if this book comes to fruition and succeeds. I would feel humbled by the amazing potential it holds to help so many more people than I could just with my daily conversations. I would feel touched by the people who read my book, supported my effort, and felt helped by it. I would feel so blessed by God, to be used to help others in such a powerful and wonderful way.
This reason, these feelings, this WHY — this is what will keep me going. This is what will motivate me to write when I’m tired of writing. This is what will drive me to make more time in my schedule to work on it, even if it means having to sacrifice something else that I’d like to do. This is what will motivate me when I’ve been studying and in class all day, or at work all day, as a full time student or at a full time job, because THIS will make an impact that matters. This is the stuff of legacy, and dare I say, even of legend!
What is your WHY?
Thank you for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and found it useful.
Please subscribe and comment, I’d love to hear what you liked, or what you’d like to see in future posts!
NOTE: I am looking for volunteers to help me with my new book by giving feedback on short sections! If you help, I will give you a free e-copy of the book when it’s published! For more information and to sign up, click HERE!
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