What goals did you set out to achieve in January?
And more importantly, how are they going?
Staying motivated is hard. So the first thing I would say is, don’t beat yourself up if they aren’t going so well, or if they are going well - nice work! January isn’t the only month you can make a change or set yourself a new goal though – so if you’ve well and truly fallen off the bandwagon then no worries, it’s still waiting for you to jump back on.
Whatever you want to achieve though, staying focused and on track can be tough – life is full of distractions and temptations. No better example than this blog, which I have been intending to write since January if you can believe it! But here we are anyway.
I definitely don’t have all the answers to staying motivated, but I have picked up a few tips along my own business journey that I wanted to share. These can be applied to pretty much any situation too, so whether your goal is starting your own business, getting a new job or getting fitter – these should come in handy. And if you're reading this thinking 'i'm flying right now', well read on anyway as there may be a few nuggets in here for you too!
- Setting the right goals
Before we get into staying motivated to reach your goals, lets make sure they are the right goals to begin with.
A good goal needs a balance of ambition and reality. If you’re new to running and want to run a marathon in a month then that’s maybe not so realistic…. But if your goal was to run a 10k in three … well that feels a bit more achievable.
Although I love a stretch goal – if you set yourself up to fail you are far more likely to give up. Smaller goals are easier to meet, and when you do meet them, what a lovely feeling that is!
One idea is to take that big goal, break it down and set yourself a longer timeframe. If your goal this year is to start your own side business, well firstly, that’s amazing so do it, but it's also a big task and it takes take. Seeing ‘start a business’ on your to-do list can also be overwhelming, leave you feeling like you don’t know where to start, leading you to do nothing, then feeling annoyed that it’s now June and you’re nowhere….
So let’s break it down – small goals to achieve every month or even every other month. For example, by June have your business plan written, in July do some research on web hosting services and by September to have tested out your idea in a focus group of your friends.
When you start to plot out these small goals, it can become more manageable. Knowing you are doing a little something to get you to your big goal in the future is a nice feeling too. Breaking it down by month and setting aside a few hours every week to work on your goal can also help.
- Why oh why!
Answer me this, why do you want to achieve your goals? What will it mean for you and for your life?
Look, I know this sounds a bit deep but trust me, being able to answer this question will help you in the moments where you really do want to give up, go home and crawl into bed.
One way to get under the skin of your why is to literally just keep asking yourself why this is important to you. Let me give you an example….
I want to start a side hustle, why? To earn some more money on the side, why? So I can save up some money to buy my own home, why? Because I want to have a space to call my own.
I want to start a side business so I can finally get some space to call my own.
This is way more powerful than just – to earn a little bit of money on the side. And it's far more motivating.
Write down your why in the front of your notebook, on your whiteboard or on a post-it – keep it with you and remind yourself why you’re doing this.
Here’s another example, I want to learn the drums, why? Because I think it will be fun and I then I can join a band, why? Because I secretly still want to be a rock star, even just part time, why? To give me something different from my day job which will let me express my creativity, why? To make me feel more alive. And so on….
- Celebrate EVERY single victory
I am such a big believer in this. We are all so hard on ourselves sometimes, and from our point of view it’s hard to see how far we have come. So we need a reminder.
No matter how small the victory along your path, celebrate it – or at least make sure you remember it.
I’m not saying but a bottle of Prosecco every time you run another Kilometer (I mean it’s not a bad idea actually) but find some way to capture those achievements. Buy yourself some flowers, treat yourself to a relaxing evening and a good soak in the bath, light some candles, buy the latest Elle Magazine.... you get the picture, and it doesn't need to be expensive either.
One way I do this is to find something every week that I’m proud of. I make a note of it in my weekly planner and then keep them. All of these tiny victories add up and when you’re feeling down – there’s no better way of perking yourself up than reminding yourself of all the things you achieved already.
You could also try writing them down in your journal and then taking some time each week to look over them. No matter how small the win, getting it down on paper is a great reminder of what you have achieved, and will give you a boost!
The key thing is to be able to remind yourself somehow. It’s so easy to forget, to look back and think you have achieved nothing (even when you have) and then give up. And we don’t want that.
If you don't have a journal yet, you can create your own personalised one in the shop! These are filled with 144 pages, so loads of space to write!
- Surround yourself with positivity
I just couldn’t get through this article without mentioning a good old motivational quote! Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen I am a huge fan. I have them all over, on prints on the walls, as my phone background…
If you need one, google is helpful or you can sign up for my newsletter to get sent one each month.
But why do I love them so much?
Well, I don’t love all of them, I find most ‘inspirational quotes’ quite cheesy but sometimes you come across one that just totally nails it and can be a reminder to keep going. I still have the phrase ‘Grind it down’ as my screensaver on my laptop (been there since my university days) and it is actually something my Dad told me once which has just totally stuck!
I advise you take a look and find a phrase which resonates with you – there a plenty out there, and I also have a few prints which might do the trick too.
You find these and others in the print shop.
The other side to this is thinking about who you spend your time with. Sometimes friends and family are great and can be really supportive – but be aware of the people in your life who are a bit more negative.
I have heard many people talk about this in the context of business and entrepreneurship – where they say it is important to surround yourself with other successful business people. You will almost subconsciously pick up their habits and mindsets, which is good for your business.
The reverse can be true too – having people around you who tend to be more negative and who are even unsupportive of your goals won’t be a good influence or motivator. I’m not saying you should stop spending time with these people, just be aware of it. And spend time with people who support you – you’ll need them to help and encourage you when the going gets tough!
- Get a brilliant motivational playlist
If ever I’m in need of a bit of a boost, that’s when the playlist comes in!
These songs don’t need to all be totally motivational – think about songs that mean something to you, make you feel good and want to dance down the street. Here are a few ideas to get you started and a few songs which appear on my playlist. (and no judgment or comments on these please!)
High hopes – Panic! At the Disco
Champion – Fall Out Boy
We can – LeAnn Rymmes
Don't kill my vibe - Sigrid
Cut to the Feeling - Carly Rae Jepsen
This is me - Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman
Thunder - Imagine Dragons
Shake it Out - Florence and the Machine
Don't be so hard on yourself - Jess Glynne
Cukoo - Lissie
Don't stop - Fleetwood Mac
And many others ... which you can find on iTunes here. I change it up regularly!
- Be kind to yourself
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. You are doing brilliantly. If you slip up, miss a goal or fall of the path completely, IT”S FINE.
Because you can always get up and start again. Whatever happens.
Sometimes things come up you can’t control. Trying to look for a job in the middle of a recession, wanting to go for that run but it’s pouring down – or maybe you just wanted a night off to relax.
It’s all ok. So don’t be too hard on yourself, tomorrow is a new day and your goals will still be waiting for you. As Winston Churchill said, 'Success isn't final, failure isn't fatal' - so just because today didn't go so well, it doesn't mean tomorrow will too.
And while we’re at it, don’t compare yourself to other people either. I love Instagram, but fall into this trap all the time and it’s easy to look at polished accounts where everyone else seems to be doing amazingly, have perfect lives, cute dogs, amazing businesses, tiny waists and flawless make up. Try not to be drawn in, it’s not real and a dreadful spiral to get into.
If you start to drift into this, STOP. Put your phone down, get off Instagram and do something else. And always remember, you are absolutely amazing just the way you are.
So there you go, just a few of the things I have found to keep me motivated. Got ways you stay motivated you are up for sharing? Comment below! I would love to hear.