How to Set Goals and Stay Motivated

Whether you have short term or long terms goals, lifestyle goals such as a healthy diet, exercise, career changes or even finding time for yourself have to become a habit. Like with everything else, repetitive action will yield positive results. Often times, our goals lead to failure because we become frustrated. Sometimes we set long term goals and/or projects with very short term expectations and when they do not come to pass, we simply, out of frustration give up. With no end in sight, we feel as though the light at the end of the tunnel is, in fact, the train coming to hit us. Everything takes time and planning. It starts with a positive attitude and the willingness to understand and groom yourself to knowing that you “deserve” great things. Many do not understand this concept. There is a huge difference between saying you “want” something and understanding that you deserve it. Just like the difference between being in love and just simply loving someone.

One must understand that things do not happen overnight. Unfortunately, we live in a world of “instant gratification.” In today’s day and age, we have grown accustomed to emails, faxes, scans and have no tolerance for any sort of “waiting period.” Our information comes readily available through these resources and other technology like the global internet and even social media. It is because of this that we feel everything becomes effortlessly available to us – even though we know it is unreasonable to expect our goals to come to pass instantly.

Goals are much like planting a garden: You first pick the right soil, and then you plant the seed, all the while nurturing, watering and tending to them in anticipation it will produce the beautiful flower as displayed on it’s package. You fully understand that if you stop watering your seed, then no matter how good the soil, your flower will not sprout; it will die, instead. The same holds true for any goals you place in front of you. It is the same process of nurturing, watering and tending to it. If you simply “plant” your seed of a goal and do nothing with it, the end result will be – nothing. You must always take a reasonable approach to your goals. Breaking down long-term goals into sub-goals makes them more easily doable. In other words, you are preparing your soil today and tomorrow you will begin to plant your seeds. Every action that you take will contribute to completing your goals. Just as you cannot rush Mother Nature with the beauty she bestows on you, you cannot rush your goals. This is where living one day at a time becomes vital and the more you do it, the more it will become a habit and thus second nature.

There are many success secrets that still remain valid today that have been handed down for many years by motivational speakers and business professionals. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, whether you want a bigger home, better health, to lose weight, to advance your career, start a business or to just simply have more joy and happiness in your life. It doesn’t matter how hectic your life is, how hurried you live, how there never seems to be enough time in the day – whatever your mantra, you first must learn that nurturing yourself and staying true to yourself and your goals is necessary not only for your happiness but for those around you. By nurturing yourself you are teaching others to do the same, by nurturing yourself you are expressing the love you have for yourself.

Steps To Achieving Your Goals

YOU must begin to take a radical step and become 100% responsible for YOUR life. No one can make you do or feel anything. The actions of others are not for you to own. Your mood or how you live should never be determined by someone else. Today, we live in a world where people blame people and people blame the government. This attitude is that of a person being in “victim mode. ” To say that something is always someone else’s fault is really saying that you have no control over your life.

Live like you were dying and live with purpose. In everything you do, do it with purpose and love. It doesn’t matter where you are right now, even if you’re in a job you hate – turn the tables – somehow – someway – and learn to love it! If you hate the body you’re in, find your best feature and learn to love it. If you can’t seem to find the time to do something for you, do the laundry another day – after all, it’s not going anywhere. By shifting your mentality to love, purpose and gratitude, you will attract more of the like to you. So, if you want a better job, a better body, more money, to live healthier, happier, whatever your focus, find the one thing in what you are doing and love it! You will be amazed at how quickly you can and will advance to new, better and more exciting things. Remember, the world is full of energy and whatever you put out, it is bouncing right back to you like a ping-pong ball. Love attracts love – purpose attracts more purpose, and so on.

Are you willing to pay the price for your dreams? Then be willing to work hard, to work at it everyday, whatever “it ” is you are working for and towards. Imagine all the luxuries we would not have if the inventors were not willing to the pay the price. There is no difference between them and you unless you decide to not take 100% responsibility for your life and goals.

Stay focused on the prize. I understand life is hectic. There are kids, carpools, office meetings and daunting tasks. Everyone always seems to be competing for your time but this is where you have to make penciling yourself in a habit. By penciling yourself in and shutting out the noise, even if for only 15 minutes a day, you will allow yourself to focus on the things and goals you are working for and towards. Remember, you have to tend water and nurture your seed. If you don’t it will not bloom. You cannot ignore what your goals are because if you do they will never come to pass.

Be prepared with a pen and paper. As a tourist, would you enter a city you have never been to without a map? If you did, you would probably drive or walk in circles because you would have no idea where you were going. Somewhere along the way, you would have to stop, ask for directions or retrieve a map. This would be the only way to get from where you are to where you want to be. A good plan or goal always starts with a piece of paper and a pen. On paper it is clear and precise. You know exactly where you are and where you want to be. Without a written goal all you really have is a fantasy.

Be committed. Never give up on your dreams, goals, ambitions or plans. It should never even be an option. No matter how hectic and even derailed life seems to get, the power of your perseverance becomes a natural force within you that will adhere to no limits. Listen, the fact is, none of us know how long we have here but the one thing we do know is that we don’t have forever. Don’t be the one to put off the procrastinators meeting until tomorrow because tomorrow may never come.

You may have great ideas and even enthusiasm, but if you allow life to take a hold of you rather than you taking a hold of it, all you really have is a dream with no plan.

Related Articles:
Exercise and Body Image: The Thinking Connection
Solution-Focused Ideas to Get Your Best Grades This School Year
Psychotherapy and the “Middle Way”

© Copyright 2011 by Andrew Mendonsa, PsyD. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Hollis

    December 23rd, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    You have to make a create goals that are realistic and attainable.
    You can’t say I am going to lose 50 pounds and expect it to happen overnight.
    This has to be something that you have made up your mind to do and you are willing to be in it for the long haul.

  • mia

    December 24th, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    I am always much better off making then for the short term cuz I always fall of the wagon with those that take a little more time!

  • MarKmark

    December 25th, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    I always try to keep my eyez on the prize. See that is what helps me stay focused and energized. When I give up on seeing the big picture, that is when I say the heck with something and move on to something new.

  • jasmine

    December 26th, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    A wonderful posting for this time of year!
    So many of us are looking toward the new year right now with a detrmination that everything is going to be better and different in 2012.
    What we fail to see is that we have to play a huge role in making those changes happen and that if we get frustrated over the behavior of one day that does not mean that we need to let all of our other hard work be thrown away!
    You have to commit to seeing things through, no matter the obstacles that we are all bound to encounter along the way.
    Those little road blocks just happen to be an unavoidable part of life.

  • albert h

    December 26th, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    nice to read at this time because I always set new year goals and seem to mess them up in January itself.well this time it’s going to be planning to break up my long term goal into many shorter ones and see how it goes.a closer target always feels nice doesn’t it?:)

  • Dr Andrew Mendonsa

    December 28th, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Thank you all for your kind words! Happy holidays!

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.