During a speech on the problem of motivation at the company level, one businessman was asked: “How to motivate yourself?” The answer was as follows:
For personal motivation, I only know one way – the goal. If its very vision and definition does not turn you into a homing missile to achieve a result, then you should find another target.
I agree that in the issue of self-motivation, the goal plays a critical role, because it sets the direction for all subsequent actions. However, in order for the goal to start motivating you, you need to follow a few important rules.
1. The goal must have a specific time frame
When I am interested in the goals of the people around them, they are happy to share their plans. However, when I flesh out the question and ask: “What are your goals for the next 2-3 years?” – many are lost. This happens because by goals they are accustomed to understanding the desires they expect to be fulfilled.
“I want to learn English”, “I want to read more”, “I want to start running” – such statements are not goals and will not motivate changes. If the goal has no deadline, then you don’t even plan to start implementing it.
The first thing you need to get the goal to start pushing you towards results is a deadline. And here it is important not to make one of two mistakes.
- Do not rush. Losing 20 kg for ten years is also not the best idea. After all, individual successes can be achieved in a short time.
- Too rush. You cannot lose 20 kg in a month or learn English in a week. Be realistic.
Albert Einstein once said very accurately: “Anyone who wants to see the results of his work immediately, must go to the shoemakers.” You are not a shoemaker, and it will take time to achieve a significant result, accept it. But you shouldn’t delay either. It is always important to determine for yourself when you can look back and evaluate the result obtained.
2. The goal should be ambitious, both in essence and in ways of achieving
The goal should cover your area of interest broadly. It should challenge you and your capabilities, make you overcome yourself.
Undoubtedly, any goal, one way or another, prompts you to action. It is important that it expands the familiar view of any achievement.
I’m sure you can learn spoken English in a year. But why not take a volunteer trip to an English-speaking country? Or make friends who are native speakers?
Thinking out of the box – “think outside the system.” A well-known metaphor about the need to go beyond the conditions in order to find the right solution. Look for the true motives of your desires, expanding their boundaries and constantly asking yourself the question: “How else could I achieve this?”
3. The goal must be specific
In the comments to my first article, a lady asked how she could figure out her goals. One of them was formulated as follows: “I want to read as many books of Nobel laureates in literature as possible.”
I immediately wanted to ask: “How do you know when it’s time to stop? “As much as possible” is how much? “
Vague goals prevent us from evaluating the result of our work and making sure that we are going in the right direction. You should always be clear about how many books to read, how many pages to write, how much money to make.
I’m sure you’ve heard this advice many times already, but recently it has become a scientific fact as well. Experiments by renowned psychologists Dan Ariely and Klaus Wertenbroch have proven that setting clear goals in different areas of human interests greatly increases the likelihood of achieving them.
Check out Arieli’s books and talks for an extra boost of motivation.
4. The goal must be kept secret or correctly voiced
Do not rush to share your ambitious goal (and even more so the timing of its achievement) with the people around you. In most cases, this leads to an effect called substitution in psychology.
Imagine the situation.
You tell your friends: “I decided to learn English in six months!” But after that, for some mysterious reason, your motivation starts to wane and you put in less and less effort. What happened?
Due to the substitution effect, we get pleasure from universal approval of our goal, and therefore the brain stops reminding you that you need to make any efforts to actually achieve it. After all, your friends have already begun to consider you a “super-achiever”, and who among them will remember your promise in six months?
There are two ways out of this situation.
- Expose for public viewing only intermediate results on the way to the goal. Boast your knowledge of new words and phrases, mastered the rules of grammar.
- If you still want to share your dream, then do it in such a way as to get as little pleasure as possible and challenge yourself even more: “I’m going to learn spoken English in six months, but for this I need to practice for an hour a day, and if I will be lazy, then give me a good push! “
This principle was discovered by the founder of social psychology, Kurt Lewin. He also owns the wonderful words:
You can only really understand what you are trying to change.
Do not rush to share goals until you notice the first changes, and when they happen, it will be even more pleasant for you to share the accomplishments you have already made.
Sometimes it seems to me that there is more writing on the topic of goal setting than goals. In this article, I tried to give a slightly updated look at the usual ideas about goals, supplementing some of them with scientific facts.
Many criteria and principles will still be repeated, but the essence, as it seems to me, should remain unchanged: the goal is just the beginning of a lot of work, and without the efforts that we should apply, it will remain just a goal.
I hope I managed to inspire you at least a little to set the right goals, because, as art critic Sarah Lewis said in one of her performances, “we do not flourish when we have done everything, but when there is still a lot to be done” …
Set goals and achieve them!