Four easy ways to stay motivated and reach your goals this school year

Have you ever set a goal for yourself, made it a third of the way, and gave up because it didn't feel like you were getting there at all? Don't worry–we all have. But have you ever wondered why it's hard to stick to long-term goals, no matter how badly you want to achieve them? The reasons may vary, but fortunately, there are just as many solutions.

Let's take a look at four simple and helpful tricks that will help!

Make a plan

Setting goals for yourself is important in both your personal life and career–getting that promotion, losing weight, saving for a vacation, etc. But the reason so many people have trouble getting there is that we tend to dismiss the "small" steps it takes us to make it to the end of our journey. We may get halfway there, or even 99%, but without seeing how far we've actually come (and rewarding ourselves along the way), it can feel like we haven't made any progress.

Mapping out the small steps it will take you to achieve your goal is vital in determining how and when you'll get there. For example, if you were planning to start your own business and the only destination you set for yourself was "start a business," you would likely never get there.

Not because you aren't intelligent, business-savvy, and hardworking, but because there are so many steps you're skipping over, which makes this goal seem out of reach, and almost guarantees burnout. Giving yourself smaller steps along the way, such as rent office space, register your business, hire employees, etc., will help you achieve more and help you see your end goal.

"Jar of Awesome"

So how do we set realistic goals and keep track of them in a way that will motivate us? This psychologist-approved tip might be the solution. Making a list and checking things off as you go is a good start, but according to Perpetua Neo, a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, taking this one step further by adding a "Jar of Awesome" might do the trick to help you stick to your habits/plan and move towards your bigger goals. So, what's a jar of awesome, you may be asking?

Let's take a look.

A jar of awesome is a simple and effective way to visually represent just how far you've come and reward yourself along the way to your bigger, primary goal. Instead of crossing off items and moving on (or not tracking smaller steps along the way at all), they suggest writing the efforts you've completed onto pieces of paper and put them in a clear mason jar as you go (a cup, bucket, etc. will work as well–just make sure it's clear). Seeing your progress in a physical representation will show you just how much you've accomplished and appreciate just how far you've come.

Reward yourself

So, now that we know why seeing our accomplishments will help us appreciate our progress, how do we motivate ourselves to keep going? This one is pretty simple, and it's something that's been ingrained in our minds since we were kids. Remember your parents saying you couldn't have dessert if you didn't eat your veggies? Let's apply that same logic in our goal setting. Planning rewards for reaching specific steps in your plan is a great way to stay motivated and excited to keep progressing. Just make sure your reward matches the level of accomplishment. For example, don't promise yourself something huge for your first step, or you won't look forward to the next ones.

Speak it into existence, and ask for help

So what do you do if you still can't stay motivated after taking all the right steps? The answer is probably right next to you–friends and family! Asking for help from a trusted support system can do wonders for your long-term goals. Firstly, because when you speak your goals into existence you cement them into your future. And secondly, you are establishing external expectations upon yourself and ensuring you have a shoulder to lean when need be. Telling someone rather than yourself that you plan on completing x, y, and z, helps open a discussion for how, why, and when you want to achieve them.

Setting goals is easy; it's reaching them that takes dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Taking time to establish the steps you need to take to get there, ensuring you have a positive and visual way to track your progress, and creating a safe and encouraging support system are some great ways to keep you on track and help you get to the finish line. It's normal to feel overwhelmed, but putting the proper procedures in place will make a world of difference.

Looking to stay on track and reach your health and fitness goals? The FitTrack Dara scale is a great health tool that provides 17 health insights, such as weight, body water percentage, muscle rate, metabolic age, and much more. Track your progress each day–just don’t forget to reward yourself!

For the Back-to-School contest participants who made it this far: your secret keyword is BEEBO (all caps).