It is easy to get discouraged or lethargic while freeing yourself. The time and dedication to carry out a two-year plan for freedom requires a high and focus. It’s hard to do work every day, day after day.
But fear not! There are six practical motivation hacks that you can try starting right now to get your plan back on track. These clever tricks show you how to work with yourself to achieve your goals.
It’s hard to know where you are going if you don’t have a vision for your future. So dream big. Use your imagination. Picture the moment you accomplish a particular goal or a day-in-the-life of future you. Envision the future you so strongly desire and use that as fuel to push yourself forward.
Don’t worry about being too bold or about what others might say if they knew your vision. This is not about the naysayers. This is about your life desires.
Imagine being free of overly burdensome laws and regulations that hurt your business or lifestyle once you’ve moved to another state. Imagine an end to high taxes or the hassle of annoying neighbors. Imagine that you wake up to another day of doing whatever it is that you love to do.
Think of how it will be when you know you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do. Feel that triumph and joy surging within you. Envision exactly what it is you want and go back to that vision whenever you are stuck.
In fact, write down everything you are picturing with all of its rich detail. The act itself of writing down your vision will help you stay committed to your dreams. Additionally, now that you have your vision on paper, you can refer to it when you are in a rut and need to be reminded why you are making the sacrifices you’re making. When you are stuck and need motivation you will have the words of your enthusiastic past self to spur you onward.
Now that you have your vision, be smart about it. That is, use SMART goals; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timebound.
Anyone who is familiar with planning for a project knows that it is better to break up goals into smaller, easier-to-accomplish parts. This is the case for your vision for your future self. When you envision your future you create a hope and dream to motivate you. But if you want to get there it needs to be broken up into parts.
For example, it is one thing to say your goal to save more money. That’s nice but it’s awfully vague. It is something else entirely if those goals are defined using SMART:
Specific- In one year, I will save $1200 as an emergency fund only to be used because of unexpected repairs, medical expenses, or other dire needs
Measurable- I will save $100 a month towards that goal and by saving that monthly amount, I will know I am on the right track
Achievable- I have reviewed by budget and know that $100 is within reach because I have canceled a few monthly subscriptions to magazines I don’t read and because I recently got a small pay raise
Realistic- In order to ensure that I save $100 each month I will have that money automatically deducted from my paycheck and put into an online bank account. I will use an online bank account because I won’t have easy access to since it takes time to transfer the money elsewhere. Also because I have locked the online account’s checkbook and debit card away in a safe in the attic. This means I will not miss the money, I will forget that it is there, and I will not spend it on other things.
Timebound- The goal of one year means I have a deadline for my goal and that I can hold myself accountable towards it. In addition, I will set a reminder on my calendar for one year from now to remind myself that I should have achieved my objective by then.
This one is fairly self-explanatory but is still very important. Focusing on your freedom plan is much easier with caffeine. Heck, so is life in general. Therefore, pour yourself some coffee or tea to help get into the zone. There’s no good reason to have your vision actions clouded by a foggy mind. Wake up with some caffeine and splash some cold water in your face if you have to!
Alternatively, just get the blood flowing. Take five minutes of each hour to do some pushups, take a quick walk, or stretch.
Everyone knows about sticks and carrots, so why do we often focus solely on the stick?
It’s not healthy or motivating to beat yourself up about past failure. Sure if you hate and talk down to yourself, maybe you can get past the next hurdle. Maybe. But you will resent how you’ve treated yourself. Such a cycle of failure and self-hatred will only make the next roadbump harder.
If you feed yourself negativity and self-hate then you will look at your life and goals through those lies. The world might not always be nice or have mercy on you, but YOU can at least have mercy on yourself. Give yourself grace when you fail and promise yourself a reward when you succeed. And follow through on it!
Do you have book you’ve been wanting to buy? A movie you’ve wanted to see? What about splurging on a great night out or an overdue trip overseas? Use these things as rewards to motivate yourself. It’s just plain old economics- incentives matter, so remember the carrot and use it. Use rewards on yourself, not punishment.
Remember the details of your goal we came up with through SMART? Now it’s time to turn those details into the manageable chunks of action that you can start right now. It only takes one step to begin and with each step forward, you will feel your confidence and motivation growing.
If you have a major goal, figure out what the first practical step is and take it. If it is saving that $1200 emergency fund, start by opening that online bank account or by canceling those unused subscriptions. If it is moving to a more freedom-friendly state, start by setting a date you’ll achieve your goal or by writing down some criteria by which you’ll judge where you might want to move.
Alternatively, if you already have begun work on a major goal and are just in a rut then shake yourself into motivation by taking action. It doesn’t have to be a big one. If you’re nervously pacing in inaction, if you’re stuck, if your brain is just spinning its wheels- just do something related to your goal.
Everyone who’s been there knows that getting started on a project or just writing some ideas down can help get yourself motivated and feeling more at ease. Action breaks the mental cycle of a repeating rut of inaction.
Finally, take care of yourself. You need to give yourself room to fail and to learn from your mistakes. You have to take care of yourself because you’re likely the only one who knows what you need and what can keep you running.
You also may be the only one pushing for your dreams. If you burn out then you can’t get to where you need to go and you can’t help others achieve their goals either. Keep your engine running smoothly so you can get to your destination.
These tips work because they compliment each other. Envision your dreams so that you remember the why behind all you are doing and to give yourself hope when you life hits you. Use SMART goals so that you have a plan and you don’t set yourself up for failure. Stay caffeinated so you don’t slack off after you’ve eaten lunch. Promise, and give, yourself rewards every step of the way. And always, always, have a bias for action.