We come up with goals more times than we can be bothered to count. Every year we make a resolution that we swear we are going to follow during the year. In the spring we insist on setting a goal to achieve the “Summer Body.” We want to save money for a new car, learn how to drive that car, or any car for that matter.
There are many reasons for setting goals, and just as soon as we do, it seems we have a setback that tempts us to give up on that goal. You indulge in a piece of cake at your own birthday party. Or a pipe bursts, and you have to spend the money you were saving for a new car on the repair.
There are many things in life that might slow us down or provide a detour from the path to our goal, but the important thing to remember is that a setback is not the end of the journey. Fortunately, there are a few strategies for maintaining your motivation after a setback.
Take Ownership of the Goal
One of the most helpful ways of maintaining motivation after a setback is to assess whether the goal is really your own. There are goals that we set for ourselves, and there are the goals that we set for the benefit of others, which disguise themselves as goals of our own. Ask yourself what your motivations are and if the goal is for yourself or to please others.
If the goal is not your own and you do not take ownership of it, chances are you are not going to be as motivated as if you had come up with it and committed to it freely. If you are content with the body you are in, or if you are not in need of a new car, then you are not going to be as motivated toward reaching the goal, and any setback is sure to make you give up on the goal. If the goal is truly yours, then you are more likely to regain your motivation after a setback.
Keep the Goal SMART
Oftentimes in the goal making process, we are told that a goal should be SMART, which is a helpful acronym to remind us that a goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Your goal should be Specific. Instead of telling yourself that you want to save money, think about what you want to save money for. Perhaps you would like to save up enough money to buy a new car.
Your goal should be Measurable. How much money will you need to save? By making a goal measurable, you can see how far you have come and how close you are to achieving the goal. Being able to recognize your progress will help you maintain the motivation to push ahead.
Goals should also be Achievable, meaning that the goal should be possible. Saving for a new car is an achievable goal if you have a source of income. If you know that you can eventually achieve the goal, then you are more likely to stay motivated, even after a setback.
A goal should also be Relevant. Is your goal worthwhile? Is this the right time for you to make the goal? If you know that you have a big expense coming up, or that you owe someone quite a bit of money, then saving for a car might not be the best goal to have at this time. When you already have so much going on in your life you probably would not be motivated enough to keep working toward that goal.
Finally, a goal should be Time-Bound. You should set a reasonable timeline for reaching your goal. Chances are you will not save enough money overnight for a car–unless you win the lottery. However, if you tell yourself you will save the amount by the end of the year, within six months, by your birthday, etc. you are more likely to maintain motivation after a setback because of your commitment to that timeline.
When your goals follow the SMART system, you are more likely to stick to your goal and maintain you motivation after a setback.
Accept the Setbacks
It is seldom that anything in life will go exactly according to your plan. Setbacks and unforeseen events are a part of life, and they are bound to happen.
When we accept the fact that life is full of setbacks, we can better equip ourselves for dealing with them when they do happen. Planning ahead when we can and accepting the fact that setbacks are a part of life and out of our control will help us maintain motivation and not get discouraged on the journey toward reaching our goals.
Find an Accountability Partner
Reaching a goal is hard, and when there is a setback you might feel the overwhelming urge to give up. You might feel that there is no way you will be able to reach that goal.
One strategy that might help with maintaining your motivation to find an accountability partner. Share your goals with someone you trust, and come up with a plan for how they can help you keep on track.
If you are trying to save money, invite that person to go grocery shopping with you. When you place a package of cookies that were not on your list into your cart, that person can remind you to stick to your budget and discourage you from buying those cookies.
By reminding you of your goals, an accountability partner can help keep you motivated when you encounter a setback. They can help reinvigorate your excitement toward your goal and can even help you adjust your game plan when you are feeling defeated.
Need Additional Help Maintaining Your Motivation?
If you are struggling with maintaining the motivation to achieve the goals you have set for yourself and would like additional help in this arena give us a call. One of the trained therapists at Keri Powell Therapy would be delighted to work with you to develop a strategy for setting realistic goals for yourself and maintaining the motivation to achieve them.