How do we maintain motivation to diligently pursue the goals we set?
First of all let's talk about the difference between a resolution and a goal. A resolution is sort of like a hope; something "out there" we'd like to accomplish or have happen in our lives that may or may not be realistic..."I'd like to win the lottery"..."I'd like to lose 50 lbs in a month". A goal is a little different. Good goals, by definition, are concise, realistic, measurable, achievable and time-targeted... "I'm going to join Weight Watchers, attend weekly meetings, follow their plan, exercise and lose 1/2 to 1 pound a week until I reach my goal weight of 125lbs by September of 2013.
So, knowing this, I look at several areas in my life and write goals for each. Great! I feel good. I can do this!...today, and maybe tomorrow, but what about next week? What keeps me going? What motivates me to stick with this plan every day, maintaining consistency at a steady pace? How do I find inspiration to keep working towards these goals or is goal setting enough? What is inspiration anyway and where do I find it?
In my path of seeking understanding I think I'll start with the dictionary. Merriam Webster tells me the word inspire means to influence, move or guide, to infuse, draw forth or bring about...and the one that really made me stop and think...to breathe or blow into. So what are those things, events or people in my life that breathe life into me? What or who moves me to do better, to want to reach for my goals? Where have I been influenced in the past? Hmmm, this could be fun.
I know for me, I find great inspiration in nature. I live in the mountains and love just about any activity in the outdoors. So how does nature inspire me to reach for my goals? Maybe nature itself doesn't inspire me to push away that dish of ice cream I don't really need; but rewarding myself with a hike along a favorite trail with my dog, or a day skiing our local slopes after taking some specific steps towards my goals could be very influential.
There are people I'm fortunate enough to have in my life that inspire me and each for different reasons. My friend, Linda, is such a soul sister to me in so many ways. We think a lot alike and have many of the same goals. She, however, is much better at networking...and I don't mean in a business-like way, but her form of networking helps her business. Linda's manner of staying connected with people is so natural for her. She's such a good communicator and so sincere in her interactions that even her chickens and goats understand what she's saying...seriously, I've never seen anything like it. Linda inspires me.
One of my colleagues and friends, LeeAnn, also moves me to want to do better. She is a talented, intelligent and energetic individual. LeeAnn and I have a date to meet once a month to share our successes and discuss what works for each of us in our respective consulting businesses. While LeeAnn recently told me I inspire her, her constant striving to create new ways to help small business owners grow and connect inspire my desire to always find new ways to share my knowledge and passion for helping others.
And then there's Marc. He's my significant other. Aside from being my best friend and playmate, he regularly inspires me. Marc is always honest, moral and ethical. He is sensitive and caring, insightful and intelligent. Marc is as passionate about emotional intelligence as he is about feeding the world. Wow, I live with inspiration!
I guess my point is, I can write goals and day by day work to achieve them, hoping I make it. Without inspiration this just seems like an uphill trek. Discovering what or who inspires me gives me the motivation to be just as successful as the source of what breathes life into me. Then rewarding my successes, even the little ones, with a healthy and/or rewarding treat, such as a walk along a local lake, that's like stacking the deck in my favor.
Where do you find inspiration and how do you reward yourself along the way towards attaining your goals?
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