By Ellie Kaplan
Most people fail to achieve their goals and the success they want — here’s why.The classic “marshmallow test” proved the universal importance of delaying one’s gratification. The ability to resist immediate rewards in anticipation for much bigger things is a test of character that only successful people benefit from.
However, while you strive to reach your long-term goals, energy-draining struggles and challenges will come your way and affect your mindset. If you are not in your best shape mentally and physically, your performance will become compromised.
The good news is that Harvard Business Review found a solution to this dilemma through a series of extensive studies.
Read on to get some tips on how to properly motivate yourself over the long-term and crush your goals, without having to give up on what’s truly important in life.
Be specific on your goals
Before anything else, you have to be sure of what you want to get hold of in the near future. Absence of goals (or habitually choosing to neglect it), is like rowing backwards. You give it all your best but you don’t get anywhere. In contrary, a person who has set a fixed destination, no matter how complicated the route is, still has a direction that keeps him/her going forward.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” — Tony Robbins
Evaluate your progress
Even if you believe that it’s going to be worth it, rewarding yourself whenever you feel like it will harm your future success. In order to stay on track with your long-term goals, you have to be able to clearly and objectively evaluate your progress. Set milestones that will act as your key performance index to know if it is already the right time to give small rewards.
Once you hit these short-term targets, you will know for sure that rewards can be justified as opposed to rewards that are based on impulsive decisions.
Find a trusted mentor
Hearing opinions from a trusted mentor will help straighten up your thoughts and actions. Relying fully on your own will makes it difficult to practice self-control. But if you turn to some you have confidence with, you get to hear the other side of the coin that might not be visible to your own eyes.
Blind spots that are not privy to you are potentially dangerous because circumstances might retaliate. Through a mentor, your judgments could be improved through eliminating emotions that are not helpful.
Maintain a rational mind
Your decision-making skills play a vital role in ensuring that you minimize mistakes and dodge regrets later on. During critical times when you are going against your own mind, the key is to stay logical at all cost. You can do this by pausing for a while and probing for answers (from your own self) mostly about the consequences of what you are contemplating about.
For instance, you want to purchase a new gadget which will be useful, yes, but will also force you to go over your intended budget for months. Before you even go for it, you can either find other less expensive options that will fit your budget (if you badly need it now), or to think about it once more and internalize the impact of this move to your overall financial targets this year.
Make it habit to be grateful
According Ikea Founder Ingvar Kamprad, the most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote to counter this is to spend time every night thinking about what can be done better for tomorrow.
Overconfidence, if not managed well could lead to arrogance and too much self-assurance. Once you can no longer see the value of the little things (or the people around you), it will force you to attribute successes to your own doing. If this attitude progresses, you will keep on finding reasons to give yourself what you think you need as of that moment even if it’s entirely biased.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
The bottom line
Delaying gratification for future purposes is not a piece of cake. It takes immense self-control and strong willpower but the rewards are promising. However, since we are exposed to distractions, it could really be difficult to make our goals a reality. But if we listen to our own rhythm and align our actions to our long-term goals, we have a chance to pursue these things without the need to deprive ourselves with the good things in life.
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