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5 ways to stay motivated for long-term goals

Motivation is essential- not only to initiate a behavior but also to maintain it. It’s very common to find a person getting highly motivated to do a task and after some time losing the motivation to do what he set out to do.

In the post about the most common reasons behind a lack of motivation, I discussed the factors that could demotivate a person even if he was initially motivated.

In this post, I'm going to explore the things that can be done to restore lost motivation or to stay motivated.

motivated person

1) Measuring progress

When it comes to short-term goals, lack of motivation is not a problem and we almost always find ourselves motivated enough to pursue them. It’s the long-term goals that bother us and demand that we keep our motivation levels up (Why humans are predisposed to be lazy).

By breaking a long-term goal into small manageable chunks, we convert it into a series of short-term goals which allows us to measure our progress. If you can find a way to keep track of your progress, you’ll find no problems staying motivated. Our mind always motivates us to repeat a reward-generating behavior and to discontinue a fruitless behavior.

2) Keeping the goals in sight

The more you remind yourself of your goals, the more likely it is that you'll stay motivated. Many times, it happens that we forget about our goals and get involved in other irrelevant activities. The only thing that can bring us back on track in such a scenario is reminding ourselves of our goals.

Anything that you can do in order to remind yourself of your goals regularly will prevent you from drifting away. We tend to work on things that are immediate and urgent for us and by keeping our goals in front of us we ensure that they are considered immediate and urgent by the mind and that allows us to align our activities with our goals.

3) Programming your mind

This is the most important tool that you can use to stay motivated. We, humans, copy the behaviors of those around us. We get programmed by everything that we see, hear and imagine. Whatever media you expose yourself to can program you and affect your beliefs. So if you frequently expose yourself to media that motivates you, your motivation level will be high.

Motivational music, literature, movies, video clips, visualization and hanging out with people who inspire you will help you stay motivated. Similarly, negative and depressing media can affect you in a negative way. It can even infect your mind with negative beliefs. Make sure you have that you have some degree of control over what kind of media you expose yourself to if you want to stay motivated.

4) Needs matter

If you want a consistent motivation, then the most important thing that you can do is to ensure that you are motivating yourself for the right reasons. Are the goals that you are after really your own or has someone else imposed them onto you?

If your goals are your own then it's very likely that they are targeting your needs and that’s good news because the only way to experience happiness is to understand your own unique needs and go in the direction of fulfilling them. When you are going after something that you really, really want then staying motivated won’t be a problem at all.

5) Protecting beliefs

The number one reason why people lose motivation after motivating themselves to start a project is believing that they can’t make it (provided they still consider the goal important). Without faith, there is no motivation. If you lose faith you will lose your motivation along with it because it makes no sense to keep on doing things that you know aren't going to work.

If you believe that your efforts will definitely yield results then you'll automatically stay motivated. So if you want to stay motivated do one thing even if you do nothing else. Find a way to believe in what you are doing. If you can’t then find a reason to keep doing what you are doing.

Love can be such a reason. If you love doing what you're doing, that’s the only thing that can keep you going even if you think your efforts won't yield any results.

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