How to Stay Motivated

Mrs. Carroll, Counselor

Motivation is a feeling and since it is a feeling, it is also temporary.  This means that just because I want to start a project, it does not mean I will feel motivated the entire time to finish it.  Imagine motivation as gas that goes into your car.  If I don’t fill it up, it will eventually run out.

So how do I set goals and achieve them?  The first step is that your goals have to be tangible.  You can’t say to yourself ‘I want to be a doctor, but I don’t want to study science.’  That’s not realistic.  You have to always remember that even when you plan your goals out, life will surprise you and the unexpected will happen.  For some of us, we have these amazing ideas but then get lost planning the steps to get there.  For others, they see the steps clearly but lose sight of the big vision.  One is not better than the other, in fact, we need both.

There are three types of goals. Time goal; this is for short and long-term goals; these goals are three to six months.   Focus goals; I want to graduate with all A’s.  Lastly, topic-based goals; I want to be a nurse after I graduate.  So how do we stay motivated while achieving our goals?  

Here are some suggestions to try:

Whichever goal you are working on, make your goals realistic.  Making goals too large can lead to burnout.  Our brains like small steps that are manageable and lead to success.  The small steps also help us see how we get to a larger goal.

We are not perfect.  We will make mistakes and the bright side of this is that we learn from them which will help us the next time we set goals.  Be aware that some people may use perfectionism as an excuse to not even start.  

Stay positive.  We have 60,000 thoughts a day and 80 percent of these thoughts are negative.  It takes work to stay positive.  Remind yourself what your strengths are and what steps you have completed. 

Acknowledge your progress and success in reaching your small goals.  This is a huge part of helping to keep you going.

Ask for help if you get stuck.  If you run out of gas on a deserted road, chances are you will call someone for help.  It does not make you less than if you need help.

Reward yourself when you reach your goals.  Knowing that we have something fun waiting for us when we finish a goal, can help us get there.

Our weakness is not that we can’t reach our goals, it’s that we give up.