08 May 5 ways to stay motivated when pursuing long-term goals
So you’ve started your business (or similar long-term goal). You’re excited…things are going well.
You’ve published some blog posts… you have your own Facebook page…maybe you got some business cards printed.
Sounds exciting, hey?
But then doubt, fear or fatigue kick in (sometimes all three).
Things start to get tricky.
You get your first unsubscribe, or a less-than-favourable blog comment.
Progress slows, and you wonder if you should just give up…maybe you’re not meant to run your own business?
I’ve seen this happen many times, and I’ve been through it myself as well.
So here are my top five tips on how to keep going with your long-term goal or business:
1.Stop trying to do everything – start by doing one thing well
So you want to be on every social media forum for maximum publicity? You read somewhere that you need to post on Twittter twice a day, Facebook four times a week, and you haven’t even thought about Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest yet. How are you going to do it all?! Relax. Take a step back. Pick one thing. Choose your favourite and start with that. (Don’t panic: this doesn’t mean you’ll only ever use that one medium! We’re just stepping away from the overwhelm.)
In terms of time management, decide on one main task for your day, and get that done. Then you can move on to something else.
How will this keep you going? Well, if you try to do everything all at once, you’ll hit burnout pretty quickly. By choosing one thing, improving on it, and then introducing more at a later date, you’re building a lasting foundation.
In summary: Focus on one thing to start with, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
2. Be flexible and go with the flow
It took me a while to figure this one out. I had a website that wasn’t working for me anymore. I was sick of it and embarrassed to show it to people – but I was determined to keep going. I wasn’t a quitter! What I didn’t realize is that moving on to something else or making rational changes is not quitting. So what did I do? Well, finally I set up a new website and created a new business name – and felt instant relief.
Your vision will change as you move forward. And that’s okay. The people who make it aren’t the ones who had the best or most amazing plan to start with. They’re the ones who tested things out, learned from mistakes, and adapted as they went along.
In summary: If something isn’t working for you and you’ve given it a good shot, it’s okay to move in a different direction or try something else.
3. Partner up
If you only take one thing from this article, let it be this one: we can’t do it on our own. Does this mean you have to team up with a business partner or find a board of directors? No. Not at all. But look for people doing similar things to you. Seek out groups and forums where you can find (and give) support. It doesn’t have to be someone you know or someone in your local area. Some of my best support comes from some friends I met a few years ago at a conference in the States. We cheer each on via email and provide advice and support. Don’t go it alone – you need people around you when the road gets bumpy.
In summary: Find people doing what you’re doing (even if they’re online).
4. Get clear on your vision
Figure out exactly what you want. What does your end goal look like? How do you feel when you have it? And what does it bring you? Think about this airport analogy: imagine you go to the check-in desk wanting to book a flight, but you don’t know where you want to go. How likely is it that you’ll be able to book that flight?!
It’s the same with goals. You don’t have to stick to your vision like glue (see #2 above), but it’s a good idea to know – in detail – what you’re aiming for. Take time to reflect: what does success look like for you? Are you the head of a company… attending conferences around the world… working in a cabin in the wilderness… or working shorter hours to spend more time with your family? Whatever is it, get clear on it. Envision what you’re working towards, and it’s easier to see which tasks will get you there and which are distractions.
In summary: Imagine your end goal in specific detail. Keep playing this image in your head.
5. Allow yourself to have setbacks
It would be odd if you didn’t have a single setback as you’re pursuing your life goal. Life isn’t smooth sailing (and it would be boring if it was). Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes other people do. We’re human. So while you’re on your journey, allow yourself to slip up. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn. So you stumbled over an important presentation? Acknowledge it and move on. You had a whole day free and you wasted it on pointless tasks? Okay, go easy on yourself. Pick yourself up and start again. Look at it this way: you can allow yourself to have bad days, or you can expect 100% performance all the time and live a stressed, uptight life. The choice is yours. I don’t see mistakes in my business as “failures”; I’ve learnt from each and every one.
In summary: Treat yourself like you would a friend. Had a bad day? Try again tomorrow. Messed up? Celebrate the fact you tried, and do it differently next time.
So there we go! Five ways to keep going on your long-term dream. Which do you do already? And which will help you in your business or venture? Share in the comments or send me an email.
It’s easy to keep going when things are going well. The people who succeed are the ones who have the courage to keep going when they’re at the very point of quitting.
Author bio: Claire O’Connor is a writer, life coach and workshop facilitator. She runs The Five Percent, dedicated to providing people with the confidence to go after their long-term goals, as well as tools to get past obstacles. Her free 5-week email course, “5 (easy) weekly habits to help you feel good”, is available now on her website.