It’s hard to stay focused on a goal, especially when it is a long term goal. We get tired. We get discouraged. It’s easier to give up than keep pushing along. No matter what your goal is, whether financial, personal, relational or spiritual, we all need help staying focused.
Here are some tips I use to stay focused on my goals:
1. Don’t forget your WHY
Often when we have goals, we spend a lot of time focusing on WHAT we need to do. We spend little time focusing on WHY we want to do it. When I get discouraged about our debt, I try to remember WHY I want to be debt free. Debt freedom for me is about making sure that my husband is taken care of if something should happen to me. Keeping that in the foreground helps me stay on track.
2. Write it down and keep it visible
We all have goals. How often do we actually write them down? How often do we look at them? Use a white board or even a piece of paper to write down your goals. Put them in a visible place. Create a graphic for your cell phone wall paper reminding you about your goal.wrap your debit card in a piece of paper that states your goal. You should see your goal multiple times a day. Find a way to make that happen.
3. Break up your goal into smaller pieces
A large, long-term goal can be overwhelming. When we stared down our total debt, it was huge. But once we broke it down into individual debts, it was a little easier to swallow. For the larger debts, we broke those down into smaller increments so have small wins.
When I’m working on a project, I break it down into small actions. When I decided to rebrand my blog, there was so much to do. Before I started, I made a list of all the tasks that needed to be completed. Not only did that help keep me on task, but it also helped keep me motivated as I crossed things off the list.
4. Track your progress
Technology has made it so much easier to track our progress. Many of my friends with fitness goals use technology to track their progress. These apps allow them to see how much they are moving each day or week. Being able to track their progress motivates them to keep going.
I track our debt balances. Everytime we hit a goal, either paying off a debt or hitting a benchmark, I update our debt snowball. I also keep the previous versions of the snowball so I can see how much progress we have made.
5. Have an accountability partner
When I was in college, due dates kept me accountable. I knew I had to complete an assignment by a certain date or my professor would not accept it. At work, we also have due dates and a supervisor or manager to keep us on track.
With our goals, we sometimes need someone to serve that purpose for us. Someone to help keep us accountable to our goals. I have an accountability partner. Each week, we look at what we accomplished in the previous week and what our goals are for the next week. Knowing that we will be discussing our accomplishments each week helps motivate me to keep going.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been doing each of these things. Not only have I been more productive, but I see myself hitting and exceeding my goals. We hit two financial goals ahead of schedule, two work related goals and am on track to launch a major project I started at the beginning of the year.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so please add your thoughts. How do you stay motivated when working on long term goals?