Sustaining motivation over a long period of time can be extremely tough for even the best of people. How can you possibly stay motivated at a time when your to-do list runs into three pages or when you just got a rejection letter? Motivation is not exactly magic. Motivation does not come packed in a bottle, neither is there a little blue pill for it. However, it is something you can tap into. Almost every inspirational author, speaker and life coach that you see on YouTube and at public forums has his own tips to share, but over my decades of observing super-successful, high-achieving people, I have realised certain fundamentals to sustaining motivation, whether you are trying to put together a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle or conquer Mt. Everest.
There can be many reasons behind getting off track with goals. Self-doubt, the neverending fear that we will not succeed, and concerns that we are not setting realistic goals are just few of them. What is important to remember and remind yourself here is that you can change this goal if you want. You can keep going, you can revise it, or you can dump it altogether. At a time when we are experiencing doubts about ourselves, it is easy to feel like we have become almost powerless; it is very easy to feel like we do not have a choice. However, most often, we do. It is important to remind yourself that you are in charge of your destiny. Since the consequences would be yours, the path to be taken to those consequences should also be yours. At times when the going gets tough, we begin to feel like the choices we made (sometimes long ago) are not our own. It is important to remind ourselves that we are the ones who originally set this goal.
Whenever you doubt yourself, look back at what you have achieved till now. If you have been taking steps towards your goal for a while, it is possible that you are in no man’s land right now—far away from the starting point and nowhere close to your destination. Here, in the midst of feeling lost, it can be great to take some time to consider all that you have already accomplished. All long-haul goals take multiple, incremental steps to attain. Pat yourself on the back, and remind yourself of these achievements that you have made over the years. Congratulate yourself and prepare for the next lap of your journey. At times when you are frustrated about lack of movement toward a goal, sit down and make a list of the steps you have already taken to reach it, and the results that those steps have resulted into over the years. This clarity of thought goes a long way in releasing those feelings of frustration and gets you ready for the upcoming battle.
Keep in mind your reasons that initially led you to this path and remind yourself about them time and again. There would be many times when you would simply want to quit. You only have these thoughts when you have been trying long enough. To follow through with a longer-term goal, we need to have solid reasons that make sense to us. With that said, goals are not exactly set in stone. Like everything in life, it is good to approach your goals with flexibility and open-mindedness. If due to some reasons you can’t successfully remind yourself of your initial reasons for going for your desired goal, and get re-ignited about those pious reasons that forced you to take up this journey, then it might be a good time to reassess where you stand at present. As long as you are being true to yourself, there is no shame in readjusting your goal and regaining your focus. Only you can decide what is best for you, and that can change over time. It is important to give ourselves permission to go for goals with full-on focus and gusto, or to change them, or put them aside for a while, or whatever else we decide is right at that time; because we are an outcome of our own choices.
(Surendra Kumar Sachdeva)