Goals: How to Stay Motivated and Be More Disciplined
Achieving your goals takes effort, motivation, and self-discipline – and sometimes, that’s hard to find.
Maybe you start our excited about your goal, full of energy and enthusiasm, only to find that you run out of steam.
So what can you do to boost motivation and be more disciplined?
One of the main problems when it comes to goal-setting is that we frame our goals incorrectly. Without realizing it, we set goals in a way that makes them feel unachievable and overwhelming.
Personally, when I feel overwhelmed or confused about how to get to my goal, my motivation just vanishes.
In its place is fear, and it holds me back.
In the previous blog, I spoke about the power of reframing your goals as desires, rather than expectations.
Here’s another shift you can make:
Change your goal from an outcome to a learning goal.
For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to save more money this year” (which is an outcome goal), reframe it as, “I’m going to learn how to manage my money better” (which focuses on learning how to achieve the outcome).
Research shows that we’re much more likely to follow-through on a goal if it is a learning goal. It’s significantly easier to stay motivated and to be more disciplined about a learning goal because the goal appears actionable and achievable.
I know for sure that I can learn something new about different ways to save just by going on YouTube or opening a book – it’s a simple matter of seeking that knowledge out.
Whether I learn is always within my control. Whether I succeed at an outcome goal, such as “save £5000”, however, feels scarier and much less attainable because the way I’ve framed the goal tells me nothing about how I can go about achieving it.
Let’s consider some other examples.
If you feel that you really despise your job, you might be tempted to set the outcome goal: “I’m going to get a job I love.”
That feels like an awfully big request to me, especially if you had no idea what you actually wanted to do. Where on earth would you start?
But if you were instead to say, “I’m going to discover what I’d like to have in job,” so many ideas start popping into my head, such as:
I could take a strengths test and learn what I'm good at
I could job-shadow to get a taste of different careers
I could see a career coach
I’ll be honest, when I first started PositiveEQ, I set an outcome goal. “I’m going to start a business!” I decided.
It was overwhelming.
Reframing my goal to, “I’m going to learn how to start a coaching business,” and then to, “I’m going to learn how to grow a coaching business,” lessened my fears and meant I've been able to stay motivated long-term.
You can even apply this to relationships. Instead of telling yourself that you want to be in a relationship – a goal which makes many of us feel totally out of control – choose to learn what makes a good relationship, and what attracts people each other.
You see, when you have knowledge, it’s easy to be more disciplined.
It turns out it’s very difficult to have new knowledge and not to use it.
Once you know that spending money everyday on takeaway coffees is draining your finances, you’re naturally going to think twice about buying one verses waiting until you get to the office.
When you understand what you like in a job, you’re automatically going to look for different types of jobs.
And when you have the awareness that appreciation is a critical component to making a relationship work, you’re going to notice how much the connection takes a knock when someone’s taken for granted.
Knowledge motivates us to change.
Plus, the more knowledge we have, the more results we’re going to see.
You like succeeding, right? Who doesn’t? When you set a goal and you feel yourself progressing towards it, that feels good.
While failure is normal and almost always happens en-route to achieving a goal, the fact is that when we see ourselves making progress, it’s easier to stay motivated.
Understanding something better means you’re better qualified, and more likely to succeed, so that makes seeking out knowledge a pretty powerful place to start when hoping to achieve a goal.
Want more? In the Calm and Content Facebook group, there's a follow-on video in which I talk about the idea that we "can only really learn how to do something when we're in it". How do we know when to learn BEFORE we begin something, and when to take it as it comes? Hint: it's all about anxiety. Watch the video by joining here - it's free!