Short Term Goals to Increase Motivation
How is your motivation doing? Early, last week I noticed two letters that we move around the room at least twice a day. From the table to the kitchen work surface for breakfast. From one side of the kitchen to the other as we prepare lunch. Back from the kitchen to the table as we tidy in the evening. The beginnings of a pile that will continue to grow as time goes on, until someone finds the motivation to do something with each item.
One letter is a picture drawn by my daughter for her teacher. The other a thank you card, for a cousin that sent both children a prize for winning the Boxing Day zoom quiz (smug? – muchly!). As my motivation ebbed away, I said out loud with determination and a kick up the backside,
“that’s tomorrow’s job”.
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One step at a time
It did not happen tomorrow. In fact, two days later I experienced a rush of accomplishment as I walked from the kitchen to the office, opened the cupboard and took out two envelopes. As we find ourselves in another period of restriction, I notice that I have reduced ambition. The goals I set for myself are becoming less challenging and shorter term. Tomorrow’s goal is to contact the relevant people for their address. I focus on the small steps of each job. In normal circumstances the process of getting a letter from draft to posted would be one job, one goal, one aspiration. Now to keep motivated I view it in stages. Each stage a new goal, a new ambition that deserves recognition.
Life has slowed down; work is as busy as ever but the demands on my time from everything else has gone. I have two options, to focus on the lack of inspiration that has resulted in letters laying around the house for days. Or I can recognise the steps I have taken to get the letters to their recipient. In times like this (thanks Covid-19) I believe our short-term goals must become shorter term goals. Smaller steps, achieving less consequential things whilst still achieving and congratulating ourselves for the achievements.
Short Term Goals as the Answer to Happiness
There are some great minds that believe short term goals to be the answer to happiness. It is less overwhelming to work towards something that has the end in sight. The progress is easily visible and the feelings of accomplishment more regular as success rarely happens overnight. It took James Dyson approximately fifteen years, 5,127 prototypes, financial hardship, and refusal from every manufacturer before his product was good enough and he found a way to set up the Dyson Company. In interviews James Dyson has perused whether it is impatience that holds us back. Long term goals are certainly overwhelming. With that in mind, break down all goals into smaller, shorter term goals.
You can do this with any goal. I have two people in mind that I know, one has a goal to own her own business. The other a goal to find the courage to leave the house alone. The two goals are vastly different, yet to the individual the effort required to achieve their own goal is great. Just as I did with the posting of letters, both goals can break down in the same way we break down measurements, kilometres into meters, meters into centimetres, centimetres into millimetres, millimetres into micrometres and so on.
Depending on how you are managing emotionally right now, think of a goal you would like to set for yourself (for those thriving it may be a new business idea, for those surviving it may be more like mine, positing a letter). Write your kilometre goal at the top of a piece of paper and break it down into smaller, shorter term goals (meters). Take what you consider to be the most important meter goal and break that down into a centimetre goal. Continue with this exercise until you have a list of micrometre goals.
As you complete each goal tick it off the list and recognise your accomplishment. Some people like to reward themselves, for others the feelings of achievement are enough. If you choose to reward yourself ensure it is not an unhealthy reward. Some suggestions of others are to play your favourite song and dance around the room. Phone a good friend or read a chapter of your favourite book. Regardless of whether there is or is not a reward remember to recognise yourself, your commitment, and the effort you put in.
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If you enjoyed this article and have set a goal to start something new, you may enjoy reading about some budget friendly hobbies here