Long-Term Goals: 15 Ways to Keep Your Eye on the Prize and Stay Motivated

If there’s something you want to achieve in life, you must keep your eyes on the prize. What does that mean? For starters, it means you must remain forward-looking and optimistic. Even the most disciplined person can struggle to achieve their long-term goals. 

Here are 15 tips to help you make progress and stay motivated along the way.

1. Clarify Your Goals

Sometimes it’s difficult to achieve a goal because it simply isn’t clear. That’s why it’s imperative to clarify your goals. Consider writing your goals and make it as specific as possible. 

For instance, if your goal is to get healthy, you should clarify what that means to you. It might mean having more energy. If you’re trying to lose weight, throw in how much weight you want to lose. You could also include a goal like fitting into a smaller pair of jeans. Once you know exactly what you want, it’s easier to remain focused.

2. Use the SMART System

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Widely used, this system has helped many people achieve their goals.

smart long-term goal settingSource: Shutterstock

Furthermore, the SMART system is a great way to get started. It can help you quantify what you want to achieve and establish a realistic timeline.

3. Eliminate Distractions

In a world where everyone has a smartphone and some form of social media, it can be hard to stay focused. You know better than anyone else how much time you waste on a given day. When you have something important to do, reducing distractions could help increase your chances of getting it done. 

The key is to pinpoint and eliminate distractions. Do you have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)? If you’re constantly scrolling on social media, consider limiting your access or turning off notifications from these apps on certain times of the day. 

4. Spend Time With Positive People

Have you ever been around a perennially negative person? Sometimes they don’t mean to be that way, they’re just responding to life events. Let’s face it, life can be difficult. 

positive peopleSource: Shutterstock

However, being constantly bombarded with negativity can deter you from achieving your goals, as it can affect your emotional well-being. On the other hand, spending time around positive people can have the opposite effect. They are more likely to champion your success and push you towards reaching your long-term goals.

5. Develop a Strategy

Determining how to get from one point to another is the purpose of a strategy. When considering your long-term goals, it’s always best to create a clear plan for how you will achieve your goal. 

For example, if you want to obtain an advanced degree, you’ll need to understand what’s required. Sometimes this can help you identify options that you didn’t know about, such as the availability of online classes that can advance your academic goals.

6. Learn From a Mentor

If you have lofty goals, there’s a good chance that you’ll run into challenges. In fact, it’s to be expected. When it happens, don’t give up. Consider learning from a mentor. 

If you don’t already have a mentor, finding one may not be as difficult as you think. You can start by identifying someone that has already been where you’re trying to go.

find a mentor to achieve long-term goalsSource: Shutterstock

Keep in mind that a mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you know. It can be an author that writes about an area of interest.

7. Establish Good Habits

Many successful people live the life of their dreams because they have good habits. Most people don’t fully understand that good habits can change a person’s life. Just as important is getting rid of bad habits.

8. Find an Accountability Partner

Is there someone in your life that holds you accountable when you don’t keep your word? If not, now is a good time to identify a close friend or family member that you can confide in about your goals. The right person can inspire you to keep moving forward and hold you accountable if you let the ball drop.

9. Master Self-Discipline

If being disciplined was easy, everyone would get things done all of the time. Since it isn’t, you’ll need to take the time necessary to master it. In most cases, it requires mental and emotional strength. Additionally, you’ll need to avoid unhealthy environments that prevent you from being disciplined.

discipline to achieve long-term goalsSource: Shutterstock

For example, if you want to exercise every morning, staying up late at night will become a problem. It’s better to maintain a disciplined schedule where you can get plenty of sleep and feel rejuvenated in the morning.

10. Do Not Procrastinate

Procrastination is destructive. It stops you from making progress and achieving your life goals. Sure, it’s common for people to put off things for a day or two. However, if a few days turn to a few weeks or months (or years!), then you have a problem. 

Do you have a tendency to procrastinate? Force yourself to get things done sooner than later by creating a to-do list and using a planner for your everyday tasks.

11. Have a Clear Vision for Your Life

What is the vision that you have for your life? How do you want to live your life? When you have a clear vision, it can provide momentum and inspiration to keep moving forward.

12. Figure Out What Works

When engaged in a task and it doesn’t yield the desired results, it’s easy to give up. But remember, working towards your long-term goals takes time to assess what’s working and what isn’t working. This can help you get rid of activities that impede your progress.

13. Use Time Management Tools

time managementSource: Shutterstock

Whether it’s a calendar or an app on your phone, time management tools are valuable to help you maximize your day. 

It’s easy to lose track of time and realize you’ve accomplished nothing for the day or week. Consider assessing how much time is spent on different tasks so that you can make any necessary adjustments.

14. Accept Your Imperfections

No one on earth is perfect. It’s essential to accept your imperfections so that you don’t end up feeling awful whenever you make a mistake or fall off the wagon. It’s okay to fall short every once in a while. But, when you do, it’s best to evaluate what happened so you can improve as you go along your journey. It’s crucial to maintain a positive mindset.

15. Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Making progress can be exhilarating. That’s why celebrating your accomplishments can give you a boost and motivate you to continue your journey. It doesn’t have to be a big celebration, just something to acknowledge that you’re headed in the right direction. This is important because it enables you to see the progress that has been made to date. It can also keep you excited about the future.

Keeping your eye on the prize and staying motivated will help you achieve your long-term goals. People say, slow and steady wins the race, and there is a lot of wisdom in that statement. As long as you don’t give up, you have the chance to reach your goals.

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