A book cover, Setting meaningful goals and maintaining motivation are essential components of personal and professional success.

However, it can be challenging to create goals that inspire and motivate us to take action.

In this blog post, I’ll explore 10 tips inspired by Ayelet Fishbach, a Professor of Behavioral Science and Marketing at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and author of the book, “Get It Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivation,” to help you set better goals and stay motivated throughout your journey.

 

🚀 1. Assign a Number to Your Goal

Setting specific, numerical targets for your goals can help you stay focused and motivated.

Why does it work? Setting a numerical target taps into humans’ strong “loss aversion” tendency. We work hard to avoid losses, which means not hitting a specific number can feel like a failure.

How do you do that?

✅ Choose a specific number representing your desired outcome.

✅ Use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) criteria to establish a measurable and attainable goal.

✅ Ensure that you set the goal personally, as feeling like you have no choice can diminish your motivation.

Example: “I will save $4,000 for a vacation in 6 months.”

 

🌪 2. Embrace the Benefits of Uncertainty

Facing the unknown can be intimidating, but embracing uncertainty can lead to personal growth and new opportunities.

Why do we dislike uncertainty? Uncertainty can be scary. People may prefer to remain in an unhappy situation rather than face the unknown, which can seem even more daunting.

How do you remind yourself of the benefits of uncertainty?

✅ Consider which scenarios excite you more: a planned party or a surprise party, and a trip to a new country or a visit to a familiar destination.

✅ Use the power of surprise to boost your motivation during challenging moments.

Example: If you’re contemplating a career change, embrace the uncertainty of exploring new opportunities. Remind yourself of the excitement and potential rewards that can arise from stepping out of your comfort zone.

 

💡 3. Tap into Your Intrinsic Motivation

Identifying activities that genuinely interest and excite you can lead to increased motivation and engagement.

Why does it work? If you find an activity that you are intrinsically motivated and excited to do, you’ll be more engaged with the activity. Intrinsic motivation often leads to greater satisfaction and persistence in achieving your goals.

How do you do that?

✅ Select activities that align with your personal interests and passions.

✅ Choose activities that are enjoyable and rewarding in themselves.

✅ Focus on excitement rather than importance to sustain motivation.

Example: If your goal is to lose weight, choose a form of exercise you genuinely enjoy, such as swimming or dancing, rather than forcing yourself to hit the gym if it’s not something you’re passionate about.

 

🚪 4. Increase Your Commitment with the “Foot-in-the-Door” Technique

Taking small, initial steps toward your goal can help build commitment and confidence for future progress.

Why does it work? Once you take a single goal-congruent action, you tend to increase your commitment to the goal and become more receptive to taking further action.

How do you do that?

✅ Start with small, manageable tasks to build momentum and engagement.

✅ Be open to taking further action once you’ve started.

Example: If you want to improve your public speaking skills, start by volunteering to give a brief presentation at a team meeting. This small step can help you build commitment and confidence to tackle larger speaking engagements.

 

🥛 5. Adopt a “Glass Half Full” or “Glass Half Empty” Perspective Based on Your Situation

Adjusting your perspective on progress and setbacks can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.

Why does it work? The helpful perspective depends on how close you are to the goal.

How do you do that?

✅ If you’re a beginner, focus on the progress made to build confidence.

✅ If you’re an expert, concentrate on areas that need improvement to stay motivated.

Example: If you’re learning to play the guitar, as a beginner, focus on celebrating the chords you’ve mastered (glass half full). As you advance, concentrate on the complex songs you haven’t learned yet (glass half empty) to challenge yourself and stay motivated.

 

🔍 6. Conquer the Middle by Shortening It

Breaking down large goals into smaller milestones can help maintain motivation and keep you focused on progress.

Why is it important to conquer the middle? We all have the tendency to pay more attention to the beginning and end, and ignore the middle.

How can you do that?

✅ Break down large goals into smaller, more manageable milestones.

✅ Utilize the “small area principle” to make progress appear more significant and maintain motivation.

Example: Start with a yearly goal, and then break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

 

💎 7. Turn Negative Feedback into a Valuable Resource

Embracing negative feedback as a learning opportunity can help you improve and reach your goals more quickly.

Why do you want to pay attention to negative feedback? Negative feedback often offers valuable information that helps you reach your goal quicker.

How do you do that?

✅ Embrace negative feedback as a learning opportunity and find “hidden treasures” in it.

✅ Use constructive criticism to identify areas for improvement and accelerate progress toward your goal.

Example: If you receive negative feedback on a work presentation, rather than dismissing it, use the criticism to identify areas for improvement and refine your presentation skills for future success. Utilize the feedback to your advantage and keep progressing.

 

🌱 8. Pursue Your Goals Not to Prove, but to Grow Your Abilities

Adopting a growth mindset can lead to increased motivation, experimentation, and personal development.

Why does it matter? Adopting a growth mindset encourages experimentation, fosters personal growth, and leads to a sense of liberation.

How do you do that?

✅ Shift your mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

✅ Use every opportunity as a chance for personal growth.

Example: If you are taking a beginner pottery class, don’t aim to make a perfect mug. Experiment and focus on growing your skills.

 

🌟 9. Pick an Activity that Gives You the “Best Bang for Your Buck”

Choosing activities that cater to multiple goals can help you make the most of your time and efforts.

Why do you want to do that? We all have limited time each day.

How do you do that?

✅ Choose activities that cater to multiple goals to make the most of your time and efforts.

✅ Identify areas where your interests and goals intersect to maximize productivity and enjoyment.

Example: Pottery making can serve multiple goals, such as spending your leisure time on enjoyable activities and maintaining mental health due to its meditative nature.

 

⏳ 10. Cultivate Self-Discipline and Patience

Developing self-discipline and patience can help you resist temptations and stay focused on your long-term goals.

Why is it important? Temptations are everywhere, and resisting them is crucial for progress. If you get distracted by every temptation, you’ll never reach your goal.

How do you do that?

✅ Develop self-discipline to resist short-term temptations that might impede your long-term goals.

✅ Acknowledge that meaningful goals often require time and persistence to achieve.

 

By actively applying these goal-setting and motivation tips, you’ll be better equipped to create meaningful goals and maintain the motivation necessary to achieve them.

 

🎬 Take Action Now:

1️⃣ Reflect on these ten tips and identify the one that resonates the most with you. Write it down to reinforce its importance.

2️⃣ Come up with specific ways to incorporate the tip into your life.

3️⃣ Set a timeline for implementing the tip and track your progress regularly.

4️⃣ Reflect on your experience and adjust your approach as needed. Learn from any setbacks and celebrate your successes.

Remember that personal growth is a lifelong journey, and with the right tools and mindset, you can overcome obstacles and continue moving forward!