Actor Will Smith provides excellent advice on getting motivated, focusing on
your dream, and achieving your
goals in life, in the video below:
Have you ever set a goal for yourself, like getting fit, making honor roll, or being picked for a team?
Like lots of people, maybe you started out doing great, but then lost
some of that drive and had trouble getting motivated again
You're Not Alone!
Everyone struggles with staying motivated and reaching their goals. Just look at how many people go on diets, lose weight, and then gain it back again!
The reality is that refocusing, changing, or making a new start on something, no matter how small, is a big deal. But it's not impossible. With the right approach, you can definitely do it.
So how do you stay motivated and on track with your goal? It all comes down to good planning, realistic expectations, and a stick-to-it attitude.
Here's what you need to do:
First, know your goal.
Start by writing down your major goal. Your major goal is the ultimate
thing you'd like to see happen. For example, "I want to make honor
roll," or "I want to get fit enough to make the cross-country team," or
even, "I want to play in the Olympics" are all major goals because
they're the final thing the goal setter wants to see happen (obviously,
some goals take longer and require more work than others). It's OK to
dream big. That's how people accomplish stuff. You just have to
remember that the bigger the goal, the more work it takes to get there.
Make it specific. It's easier to plan for and master a specific goal than a vague one. Let's say your goal is to get fit. That's pretty vague. Make it specific by defining what you want to achieve (such as muscle tone and definition or endurance), why you want to get fit, and by when. This helps you make a plan to reach your goal. Make it realistic. People often abandon their goals because their expectations are unreasonable.
Maybe they expect to get ripped abs in weeks rather than months, or to quit smoking easily after years of lighting up.
Let's say you want to run a marathon. If you try to run the entire
distance of 26.2 miles tomorrow without any training, you're unlikely
to succeed. It takes the average person 4 months of training to run
that far! But the bigger risk is that you'll get so bummed out that
you'll give up your marathon dreams — and running — altogether.
of staying motivated is being realistic about what you can achieve
within the timeframe you've planned. Competing on the Olympic ski team
is a workable goal if you are 15 and already a star skier. But if
you're 18 and only just taking your first lesson, time isn't exactly on
Write it down. Put your
specific goal in writing. Then write it down again. And again. Research
shows that writing down a goal is part of the mental process of
committing to it. Write your goal down every day to keep you focused
and remind you how much you want it.
Break it down.
Making any change takes self-discipline. You need to pay constant
attention so you don't get sidetracked. One way to make this easier is
to break a big goal into small steps. For example, let's say you want
to run a marathon. If it's February and the marathon is in August,
that's a realistic timeframe to prepare. Start by planning to run 2
miles and work up gradually to the distance you need.
set specific daily tasks, like eating five servings of fruit and
veggies and running a certain amount a day. Put these on a calendar or
planner so you can check them off. Ask a coach to help you set doable
mini-goals for additional mile amounts and for tasks to improve your
performance, such as exercises to build strength and stamina so you'll
stay motivated to run farther.
Reaching frequent, smaller goals is something to celebrate. It gives you the confidence, courage, and motivation to keep running — or doing whatever it is you're aiming to do. So reward yourself! Staying Motivated
Check in with your goal. Now that you've broken your goal down into a series of mini-goals and daily tasks, check in every day.
It helps to write down your small goals in the same way you wrote
down your big goal. That way you can track what you need to do, check
off tasks as you complete them, and enjoy knowing that you're moving
toward your big goal.
As you accomplish a task, check
it off on your list. Tell yourself, "Hey, I've run 10 miles, I'm nearly
halfway to my goal!" Reward yourself with something you promised
yourself when you set your goal. Feel successful — you are! Now think
ahead to accomplishing the rest of your goal: "What do I have to do to
reach 26 miles? How am I going to make the time to train?"
down specific steps has another advantage: If you're feeling weak on
willpower you can look at your list to help you refocus!
Recommit to your goal if you slip up. If you slip up, don't give up. Forgive yourself and make a plan for getting back on track.
Pat yourself on the back for everything you did right. Don't beat
yourself up, no matter how far off track you get. Most people slip up
when trying to make a change — it's a natural part of the process.
down daily tasks and mini-goals helps here too. By keeping track of
things, you'll quickly recognize when you've slipped up, making it
easier to refocus and recommit to your goal. So instead of feeling
discouraged, you can know exactly where you got off track and why.
if you keep slipping up? Ask yourself if you're really committed to
your goal. If you are, recommit — and put it in writing. The process of
writing everything down may also help you discover when you're not
really committed to a goal. For example, perhaps you're more in love
with the fantasy of being a star athlete than the reality, and there's
something else that you'd rather be or do.
View slip-ups as lessons and reminders of why you're trying to make a change. When you mess up, it's not a fault
— it's an opportunity to learn something new about yourself. Say your
goal is to fight less with your brother or sister. You may learn that
it's better to say, "I can't talk about this right now" and take time
to calm down when you feel your temper growing out of control. Keep a stick-to-it attitude.
Visualize yourself achieving your goal: a toned you in your prom dress
or a successful you scoring the winning soccer goal. Self-visualization
helps you keep what you're trying to accomplish in mind. It helps you
believe it's possible. You can also call up your mental picture when
willpower and motivation are low.
also boosts your attitude and motivation. Tell yourself, "I deserve to
make the honor roll because I've really been working hard" or "I feel
great when I swim — I'm doing well on my exercise plan!"
If you're not getting support from someone when you really need it, you may need to take a break from that friendship and surround yourself with people who want to help you succeed. For instance, if you've been going to your friend's house to study together every Thursday after school, but now your pal is turning
on the TV, IMing friends online, or gabbing on the phone and ignoring your pleas to get down to work, it's time to find another study buddy. You can't stay focused on your goal if your friend doesn't share that goal — or, even worse, is trying to hold you back. Seek out others who are on the same path you are and work with them instead.
Don't Give Up!
Ending an unhealthy behavior or creating a new, exciting one is all about taking responsibility for our lives. Finding the motivation to do it isn't necessarily easy, but it is always possible. You can stay motivated by writing down your goals, sticking to your schedule, and reminding yourself of what led you to set your goal in the first place. Change is exciting — we'd all be very bored without it.
Good luck in reaching your goals!
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2009
Hey, I’m Adam
Visit us on Facebook! or email me
“We’ve created a place on the internet for you to ask the questions
you’ve always wanted to ask. So take a look around, then let us know
what you think about it. You might make a really good point about
something, then see what others think about it as well. It’s getting
involved, and sharing ideas about all kinds of subjects.”
I'm Adam. I joined this web site because I really appreciate what In
Search of Me Cafe is trying to do. When I was faced with tough choices
I never really had a lot of people to talk to. Often I was embarrassed
asking for advice on awkward stuff from my friends and family. I think
if there had been an In Search of Me Cafe when I was making tough
decisions it would have really helped me.
enough about why I like this site so much. I have always liked to party
and I love chillin’ with my friends. Obviously partying can lead to
some tough life choices; I had my first alcoholic drink when I was 13.
That may seem pretty young but I grew up in Europe where the legal age
was 16. Yes I know... that’s still underage.
I was underage. It’s easy to drink when your friends drink. Needless to
say, from the first drink till now, I have experienced a lot. Partying
was probably the best tool in learning about me which may seem strange
but I really learned a lot about how I treat my friends and
relationships, how I trust …you name it. Good times and bad I have
gained valuable life lessons. If you ever need to talk about stuff or
you have a question you’re burning to ask or if you just wanna share
stories. Go ahead and holler. I won’t judge and it’s pretty hard to
faze me. I’ll give you my honest opinion and you never know, you may
have an experience that’ll teach me some things too.
Hey, I’m Taran
Visit us on Facebook! or email me
“Every teen has to face the same type of problems and try to figure out who they are. This is a place where you can do that.”
Hey, I’m Maddie
Visit us on Facebook! or email me
“Up until this year I was picked on a lot and it really brings down
your self esteem. Kids don't think about how they're really affecting
other people with their words and eventually the other kids' self
esteem goes down and down and they start to believe what the bullies
are saying. After a while you just start to give up and think, ‘Oh,
what's the point. I suck anyway’ and your grades and everything else
Hey, I’m Chelsi.
Visit me us Facebook! or email me
Each morning I see in my mind what I’m working hard to obtain. I
know I can achieve anything I set my mind on by putting in the time
& effort needed. I believe one can learn from every experience. I
like to ‘take the best and leave the rest’!“
a rule I don’t like talking about myself. However, I want you to know
a little about me, the “teen” likely not much different than you and
thinking a lot of the same things and having similar questions etc.
I try to treat everyone with respect and kindness, just as I would
hope to be treated! Hopefully I can help answer questions you may have
or concerns you don’t want to discuss with an adult… you know
Here’s a bit of what I like to do…. I love
hanging with my friends at the movies or the mall, and staying in with
my family. I love music, sometimes when I’m upset or “heartbroken” I go
in my room and just listen to music. It just lets me cool off and just
not have to think.
Although I’m only 13 on paper, I’m
told I’m much wiser than my years. If there is a problem, I am the
first person anyone calls. I may be nice but, if someone hurts anyone I
know (whether I like ya or not) they are in trouble… haha. They call me
“the haha queen” because I can make any situation funny.
hope after hearing this little bit “about me” you want to ask me your
questions, and if you just want to chat, I’d love to. I like meeting
“And it's now, now or never when we're chasing our dreams.” -Mercy Mercedes
“I'd like to make myself believe that planet Earth turns slowly.” -Owl City
“Do you know what's worth fighting for? When it's not worth dying for?” –Green Day
What my friends have to say About me - Chelsi♥ ……
like talking to you because you can always make me feel good about
myself and make me happy no matter what. I like you as a person because
you really are a great friend and I thank you for being there for me,
and you’re just fun to be with.” -Jessie
hard.. To put into words.. The uncanny ability you have to put a smile
on my face and that’s just online, from reading the nearly poetic
replies. Where as over the phones it’s near impossible to explain the
warmth that washes over me when I hear your voice. For some reason when
I heard you for the first time. Chelsi you inspired my first poem I wrote … -Sean
Hey, I’m Brittany
Visit us on Facebook! or email me
“When people go to parties just to hang out, other people come and
bring drinks or cigarettes, and try to get you to do it. They keep
trying and trying to get you to drink or smoke, and you might be
tempted do it because you want to be known as a cool person.”
Hey, I’m Trent
“I have cousins my same age and younger who are Haitian and Filipino,
which allows me to connect with other cultures. Even with different
styles and different issues, these other teenagers still have some of
the same dramas we have here in America, such as peer pressure.” Hey, I’m Trent
Hey, I’m Forrest
“You can post video blogs on this site -- voice your opinions about
topics here as well as responses to what others are saying in their
blogs. So it kinda builds upon itself.”
Hey, I’m Connor
Hi, I’m Connor Cottle. I’m 17 and a junior at Fernandina Beach
High School in northeast Florida. As an only child, my friends are
really important to me, so I’m either hanging out with them or texting
them when we’re apart.
I spend my free time on the tennis court, the golf course, and at the beach. I volunteer
frequently around my community and enjoy every minute of it.
am also the Lead Youth Advisor of the In Search of Me Café program and
I’m involved because I like how connecting teens all over the world can
help them help themselves.
I’m always around if you need any advice or if you just want to hang out.
Let us know what you think – with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or post a comment on the Forum.
Contact Us | About Us | Site Map Copyright ©2014 All Rights Reserved • In Search Of Me Cafe is managed and operated by In Search of Me Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation • Disclaimer