Whether in the context of work, sports, chores, or everyday life, sometimes getting things done is really hard. You can have a brilliant plan with the best of intentions, and still let it fall by the wayside. Why? You lose your drive. You get distracted. Or maybe you succumb to the “I just don’t feel like it” attitude and turn on Netflix instead – it’s okay, we all do it! So the question becomes: What can I do to increase my motivation, stay on task, and see my goal through to completion? I’d like to share with you 3 things that you can do to become (and stay) motivated.

Reevaluate what you’ve committed to do – is it realistic/attainable? When setting a goal it is imperative that the goal is something that you know is possible. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be difficult, or won’t have challenging moments. All it means is that an unrealistic goal sets you up for failure right off the bat. For example, let’s say I have the goal of going to the gym 5 times each week. Sounds great, right? But how realistic is that? Maybe there are people out there who can commit that kind of time, but I need to consider it within the context of MY life. I have a career to build, I have responsibilities to be responsible for, I have a cat to feed. This goal is not realistic for me because 1) I know myself and 2) I know my schedule. I can save myself the whole “rationalize, guilt, stress” cycle by reevaluating my goal. So maybe I commit to going to the gym 3 times each week instead of 5. This allows me to keep a consistent exercise schedule without over-committing myself. So whatever goal it is that you are trying to reach, be sure that it is something that is realistic for you.

Remind yourself of what you want to do and why you want to do it. This one’s easy – or is it? It’s a nice thought, but how often do you actually remind yourself of what your goal is, much less WHY it became your goal in the first place? The first step with this one is actually sitting down and making a list (mental or physical) of why you want to accomplish this. Some reasons will come easily, but think for a while so that those follow-up reasons start to flow. After you’ve come up with some motivational drive behind your goal, start reminding yourself of these reasons on a consistent basis. And I don’t mean remind yourself via that nagging, guilt-tripping voice in the back of your head that says: “you better get that done!” No. I mean remind yourself as in encourage yourself! Rekindle your original desire for achieving the goal. Leave yourself notes with one positive thing that will come out of reaching it. Put a reminder in your Google calendar with a thumbs-up emoji next to it. Use crayons in your planner when it involves this goal so that you associate it with fun & positivity, rather than a nagging burden. Whatever it takes for you to repeatedly remind yourself in uplifting and encouraging ways – I challenge you to give it a try.

Troubleshoot. Make a list of anything/everything that could potentially create a roadblock on your way to achieving your goal. This could include things like “Unexpected illness,” “Family emergency comes up,” or “They finally decided to put The O.C. on Netflix.” Whatever your obstacle(s) may be, it is important to identify them before they happen. When you plan for such roadblocks, you can also plan for how you will overcome them. For example: “If I get unexpectedly ill, I will use that time to rest and to journal about how I can continue with my goal once I am healthy again.” Or, “They finally decided to put The O.C. on Netflix! I’ll watch X number of episodes each week, so that I still have time to dedicate to my goal.”  See what I mean? Realize that you are human and that things will come up, but be as prepared as possible for when they do.

So the next time you are struggling with the motivation to do what it takes to reach your goal(s), think about these things. Think about reevaluatingreminding, and troubleshooting. The motivation is already in you! Sometimes it just takes a few tricks to get it to surface. Now, go! Get after those goals.