A few years ago I wrote in my journal that one of the things I love about this column is that it’s “alive.” Awhile later I wrote an article on the same subject. In the article I said: “There will never be a day when I run out of stuff to write about. While I’m working on one article, there are always others I have percolating for future publication. In the words of Ralph Cooper in the 1938 film The Duke is Tops when it comes to life coaching articles, I have more ideas than a clock has ticks. Thankfully I’m blessed in this area…”
Some goals are short lived. You accomplish the goal, cross it off of your list and never think of it again. Other goals—like my life coaching writing—are never ending and I must nurture and take care of this goal continuously. While I always have ideas to write about, I don’t always feel like putting my ideas into article form. Writing when you are not motivated is wrenching.
So how do you stay motivated while working on long term goals?
Find a life coach, a friend, a mentor or anyone who will hold you accountable. As for my life coach writing, I’m accountable to Bellaonline who has systems in place to make sure I post an article every week. I was already slowly writing self-help articles prior to joining Bella 5 years ago, but I was doing this work in fits and spurts. By meeting my obligation to Bellaonline every week, I’ve produced hundreds of articles. I would not have been nearly this productive without the structure Bellaonline provided.
Make a vision board. Clip images and words related to your long term goal and use them to decorate a poster board. Put your vision board in a room you frequently use to remind you to stay on track with your goals. Or make a virtual vision board. I have one on Facebook.
Use affirmations. Write statements as if you have already completed the goal. For example suppose you have a goal to lose weight. An affirmation might be, “I am eating healthier each day and make choices that nurture my body.” Repeat these affirmations several times during the day. If you’re not actually eating healthier and this sort of affirmation seems false to you, use a trick I learned from Michael Losier in his book about the law of attraction. Losier suggests using language like “I love how it feels…” “I love to think about etc…” You’re not actually saying that you’ve accomplished the goal when you haven’t. This might feel better to you and be more effective.
Using Losier’s method, an affirmation might be, “I love how it feels when I think of myself eating healthy food.” Or “I love envisioning my future where I take pleasure in preparing food that’s good for me.”
Reflect on your progress. Every March my husband prints out for me each life coaching article I’ve posted that year. I then put them into a large three ring binder. After I put the articles into the binder I flip through and remember. “Oh yeah, this is the article I wrote while I was waiting for the bus and it was 100 degrees that day.” Also I like to think of how far I’ve come. When I first signed up to host the site I’d read quite a few self-help books, but now through the years I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of books. I’m proud of that.
Be Grateful. Several years before I applied to be the life coaching editor for Bellaonline, I purchased a book called You Can Write a Column by Monica McCabe Cardoza and I read it several times. This was well before anyone was blogging and the internet was relatively new, so I was thinking in terms of having something in a newspaper. That’s how long ago I purchased that book! So when I was selected by Bellaonline in 2005, I realized a goal I’d had for years. I’ve admitted here that I can write down a goal and achieve it, but I’m challenged when it comes to envisioning goals first and then completing them, which is much more effective.
This is one of the rare occasions where I had a dream first and then much later physically achieved it. That’s what life coaching is all about living our dreams. Also I often think all of the characteristics I’ve developed or improved upon while maintaining this long term goal like discipline, love of learning, commitment, creativity, mastery etc. and I am truly thankful. Gratitude is one of the best motivators there is.