Staying Motivated

For most people, setting goals doesn’t work (sorry, but it’s the truth). That’s the bad news. The problem is that like most things, staying motivated takes effort directed toward the right activities. When we do the right things it’s not hard to stay motivated, but it doesn’t happen on it’s own.

    “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Goal motivation


The good news is that there’s a solution to the problem of how to stay motivated, and if we take steps to put that solution in place now you should see greatly improved results.   First of all, motivation boils down to three things:

  1. Stay focused on the benefits you want, the dream to be fulfilled or the reward you’re after
  2. Reminding yourself how it will feel to reach this goal, to reach the payoff. Get connected to those emotions
  3. Paying attention to the sense of accomplishment from the small, daily tasks we have to perform to reach our goal

These are daily activities, just like bathing, that we have to do if we want to keep our motivation up and our energy directed at the goal.

Motivation is tied to emotions – some feeling we want to have, enhance, avoid or experience by achieving this goal. All the great goal setting tips and techniques in the world generally won’t do much good if we lose the connection to the benefits we want or dream we seek and how that will make us feel.


Belief is also a critical component of motivation, and a frequent cause of goal pursuit failures. When we believe, when we’re 100% sure we can reach a goal, we allow ourselves to experience the possibilities that goal or dream offers. But if we don’t believe it will happen, if we just really can’t see how it’s possible for us, then we won’t get connected to those positive emotions and we’ll lose our drive. In “The Magic of Thinking Big”, David Schwartz says that one of the greatest causes of defeat is the failure to simply believe that success is possible.

So start by getting perfectly clear what the dream is, and the benefits of achieving that dream or goal. What will you get when you achieve this goal? What’s the important payoff that motivated you to pursue this goal in the first place?

    Those feelings we want. Whether it’s joy, excitement, relief, satisfaction, etc. – whatever we will enjoy when we achieve this goal.

Then pay attention to whether or not you believe you can achieve it. If you’re doubtful, read the page on creating your plan. By seeing a clear, thoughtful, sensible plan that walks you step by step to the outcome your are seeking, you’re likely to begin to understand that it IS possible and your belief can then begin to change.

As I mentioned before, a key reason we fail to stay focused on the benefits is that our dream, our end result, is frequently that we’re not 100% sure we can or will reach it. Failing to believe that the dream or goal is achievable will kill the dream, and with it your drive and motivation.

Tracking progress to stay motivated

There are some tangible, specific activities you can take to help you keep moving in the right direction to help you begin to develop that belief. Check out this page. It’s a great system Jerry Seinfield came up with to get a string of successes started, then to use that to invoke our desire to continue that activity each day. It’s a quick read, and a great idea that’s worked for alot of people to help them start the actions they need to get some momentum, which leads to the belief that the dream can become a reality..

This page explains the reason, and benefits, of tracking and measuring our progress each day.

Also, the page on Goal setting tips has some good ideas for specific actions you can take.

The Reason Why

The reason that keeping the benefits in mind works so well is pretty simple. Any good marketing person can tell you that we make decisions first based on emotion, then we will justify those decisions with reason and logic. Emotions drive our behavior. Reason and logic just serve to help us make sure the things we’re pursuing makes sense.

Whether it’s the pride, increased self-esteem or greater security we will feel by moving out of a tiny apartment and into a new home; or the pure, utter relief and joy of not having to worry about creditors calling when you become debt free; or the thrill, satisfaction and increased self-confidence you’ll get when you can once again fit into your favorite pair of jeans, the same size you wore in high school. You get the idea.

Setting a clear, specific goal is important. Having a good plan is essential. Tracking our progress and reviewing the results regularly matters. But without some degree of emotional connection to the benefits, our chances of reaching our goal are not good.

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