How do I stay motivated to achieve long term goals?

Ever ask yourself, how do I stay motivated to achieve my long term goals? I am sure you have. Unfortunately, our brain does not like pursuing long term goals.

The Brain is Focused on Instant Gratification

When it comes to pursuing long term goals, we run into problems because our brain is focused on instant gratification. It is motivated to seek out any goal or activity that promises a more or less immediate reward.

When you consciously desire something that is truly meaningful and valuable – even if it is a fantasy – this too will stimulate the motivational center in your brain. Dopamine is released and this increases your conscious ability to plan a strategy to achieve that goal.

However, if the the goal is long range, you need to “reward” yourself daily, weekly, and monthly as you progress. Holding your vision starts the motivation process and pleasurably rewarding yourself along the way keeps those motivational “juices” flowing.

How Do I Stay Motivated

Part of this motivation will come from achieving small incremental goals along the way to your longer term goal. Additional motivation will come from the following Pleasure Board exercise that I am about to introduce. The combination will keep you motivated towards pursuing your long term goals.

The Pleasure Board Exercise

The Pleasure Board is an idea pioneered by noted neuroscience researcher, Mark Robert Waldman.

To make a pleasure board, write down every pleasure – large and small – that brought you deep joy and happiness in the past. Write down your most powerful pleasant memories. List all the experiences that make you smile, either now or in the past.

Mindfully meditate on this list and circle all of the small pleasures you still enjoy.

Commit to Giving Yourself Pleasure Every Day

Once you have identified what still gives you pleasure, commit to consciously add pleasure to your work day. Set a mindfulness clock to go off once an hour. Stop for 10-60 seconds and do something pleasurable from your list.

Additional Resources

If you found value in this post, you will likely also enjoy these two other similar posts:  How Can I Motivate Myself, and Savor Your Achievements

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