Sometimes, it can be really hard to feel inspired to try something new or make a change. Here, Kids Help Phone shares tips for taking action, sticking with it and finding ways to feel more motivated when it comes to achieving your goals.
You may know the feeling — you intended to start a project, try a healthier lifestyle, keep up with reading, practice a sport or instrument… but you’re just not into it right now. Everyone struggles and falls off track from time to time — or experiences procrastination — and that’s OK. However, if you’re still interested in meeting your objectives, there are things you can do to feel more driven. Here are some ways to capture more motivation to meet your goals:
- Make a plan: writing down your goals — and how you hope to meet them — can help you get started. You can try using a calendar, agenda or checklist to plot tasks, set dates and record your progress. Keep your plan in a spot where you can see it often for an extra boost.
- Set realistic goals: try to set yourself up for success by creating realistic, achievable objectives. You should feel challenged, but not overwhelmed all of the time. Try to break your goals down into manageable pieces.
- Picture the future: set your eyes on the future by focusing on what you want to achieve. If you want to try something new or make a change, imagine yourself doing it. Visualizing your goals (and their positive outcomes) can help you be more productive now.
- Keep a routine: maintaining a daily routine can help you stay on track. Try to set aside time each day to do what you need to do. Self-discipline is key here! Even if it takes longer than you planned, trying your best to stick to a routine can ultimately help you meet your goals.
- Switch it up: yes, it’s good to keep a routine, but it’s also important to switch things up now and then. Changing the ways in which you go about meeting a goal can help you stay motivated naturally — you’re keeping yourself interested. Try to make things fun! Even doing little things can make a big difference in avoiding boredom and fatigue.
- Celebrate along the way: from the biggest achievement to the smallest step, acknowledge your milestones as you go. Reward yourself for a job well done — this can be an incentive to keep going. Harnessing (embracing) the feeling of accomplishment can also go a long way.
- Think critically: consider how you feel before and after meeting or not meeting a goal. Ask yourself, “What would happen if I didn’t do ‘X?’” “How would I feel after?” “What are the pros and cons?” “What does this mean for my overall progress?” Analyze the risks and rewards of missing (or not missing) a step and make your decision based on what feels right for you.
- Move on: if you fall off the bandwagon, you can always jump back on! One misstep doesn’t mean you can’t continue with the goals you’ve planned. Sometimes, life can also interrupt with unexpected to dos. Try to let the delay go and carry on as best you can.
- Be kind to yourself: don’t beat yourself up if you miss a goal or fall behind! It’s normal to hit a few bumps and setbacks along the way. Treat yourself from time to time and don’t forget to practice self-care.
- Find a support network: it’s important to find people who can support you on your journey. Look for individuals with similar goals (e.g. at a Friendship Centre, school, gym, club, etc.) and make an effort to encourage each other and keep one another accountable.
- Rethink: keep in mind that if you’re really not looking forward to doing something — or if you don’t feel something’s bringing you the benefits you’d hoped — it’s OK to reassess your goals to decide if they’re right for you. However, not wanting to do something you used to enjoy could be a sign of an underlying issue or challenge (e.g. stress, anxiety, depression, etc.). If that’s the case, it’s important to investigate what’s going on and get the support you need.
If you need more tips for setting goals and sticking with them, you can talk to a friend, teacher, guidance counsellor or someone else you trust. If you need support, you can always contact a Kids Help Phone counsellor at 1-800-668-6868.