How to Stay Motivated and Actually Achieve Your Goals


Just about all of us have set some major life goal at one point or another, be it a fitness goal, a goal to learn something new, a goal to see through a major endeavor, or a goal to put an end to a bad habit. Yet not all of us can say that we have had success in meeting these goals. In fact, it is estimated that just 8 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve their goals.
As this article points out, motivation really is the key to achieving any goal. You have to have the motivation to do the work. Unfortunately, however, motivation so often wanes within a short period of time. How, then, do you maintain the motivation you need to actually see through your goals? Here are some tips for staying motivated and actually achieving the things you want to accomplish.
Write down your motivations. First, it’s important to write down why you want to achieve a particular goal. This will help make your motivations more tangible, and it will serve as an important reminder later when motivation is running low. It helps to write down some very specific motivations, as well as some broader ones. If you have a major fitness goal, for example, your motivations might be: be able to walk up three flights of stairs without running out of breath, be able to do 50 push-ups, fit back into my favorite pair of pants, and be more fit so I can be more active with my family.

Write down what makes you smile. We don’t always know what exactly motivates us to keep going on our goals. So, take note of what makes you smile throughout the day. To go along with the fitness goal example, maybe it’s seeing the muscle tone in your arms as you lift weights. Maybe it’s concocting the perfect-tasting smoothie. Or maybe it’s finally getting to hit “cool down” on your daily treadmill run. Pay attention to those little moments that boost your enthusiasm so that you can look forward to them on an everyday basis.
Break the goal down into small, meaningful steps. If you don’t break your goal down into smaller, more detailed steps, you’ll never know how you’re actually progressing toward your goal. That’s why it’s important to create a detailed plan for your goal. Let’s say, for example, that your goal is to lose 10 pounds in three months. If you were to break this goal down into weekly benchmarks, that would mean losing about three-fourths of a pound every week—or three pounds every four weeks.
Create a detailed plan. In addition to breaking the goal down into smaller steps, you’ll also want to created a detailed plan that you will follow for actually achieving your goal. What will you do each day to get you to those small milestones you just planned out? If your plan is to get in better shape, you might plan a diet around fresh produce and lean meats and commit yourself to doing a 30-minute “living room workout” on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Dissect your excuses. Maybe your plan to get in better shape involves getting up half an hour earlier on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but when that alarm goes off in the morning, you simply tell yourself that you’re too tired—and then you don’t get up. But what’s the real excuse here? Are you, for example, staying up later than you should watching reruns of your favorite show on Netflix? If this is the case, then you are not exercising simply because you would rather watch your favorite TV show late at night. Whenever you find yourself making an excuse, stop and ask yourself what the root of this excuse is, and then find ways to alter your lifestyle to eliminate these excuses.
Seek outside inspiration. There are plenty of sources of outside inspiration you can turn to when motivation is running low. For instance, think of three people in your life whom you feel your most inspired around. Consider calling them up or spending some extra time with them. Alternatively, you might watch a TED talk or listen to a podcast that centers around the idea of motivation, discipline, or success. Music and books can be other great sources of inspiration.
Repeat these steps as often as necessary. Remember that you always have the option to repeat these steps as you progress toward your goals. You can always reassess where you are in relation to your goal and create new benchmarks to measure yourself against. You can also create a new game plan that will lead you more successfully to your goal. You can always pinpoint something that isn’t working and alter your lifestyle to counter it. Remember that keeping your motivation up is a process, and it’s normal to have to stop every once in a while to recharge.
By: Maurine Anderson

Managing Digital Privacy with a Partner


The internet brings a huge array of wonderful changes for relationships. It means that barriers between different cultures are down, that it’s easy to stay in touch with people who are far away, and that there’s always an adorable cat video waiting for you somewhere.
However, the internet also brings its share of challenges for relationships. After all, when a conversation with an old flame from college is just a click away, the temptation can be harder to resist. When hard-core pornography is constantly creeping in at the corners, and the anonymity of the net makes it easy to keep secrets, it can impact marriage and family in unexpected ways. Although you and your spouse may feel like you’re in your own little bubble, our hyper-connected world loves to puncture those bubbles.
Here’s the thing: every couple has their own way of dealing with the challenges that the internet presents. It’s impossible to say that one way is right or wrong. However, it’s always good to be well-informed, and open channels of communication between you and your significant other.
So, I’ve collected information about three young couples who have had to think about the question of online privacy between the two of them. Each deals with the challenge in their own way, according to their specific challenges and relationship. Reading more about them can help you develop a plan for how you’ll handle online privacy with your own partner.
Marin and Troy
Marin and Troy* have already come face-to-face with the challenges presented by the internet. Troy has struggled with a pornography addiction in the past, and so they’re taking measures to guard against it, and to rebuild trust between the two of them.
The first step for this is setting up filters on the internet on the home, and on both of their phones. This allows both of them to check their behavior online, and to stop and consider where they go and what they see, instead of being subject to compulsive clicks. In order to avoid friction or resentment between the two of them, they decided to set up Troy’s mother as the arbiter of filters on options that allow for parental controls.
In addition to the filters, both Marin and Troy have access to all of each other’s online accounts. Although at first this might feel like an alarming breach of privacy, they’ve decided that it’s a necessary measure in order to re-establish trust that was lost in the wreckage of addiction. What makes this work well for them is that it goes both ways, so both of them are more alert to the way they behave online. Marin said, “I was surprised to see that there were actually things on my account that I would have initially wanted to hide from Troy. Not anything really illicit, but just things I was saying about some of my friends, or the amount of shopping ads I received in my mailbox. Sharing access to each other’s accounts has actually opened up a lot of conversations that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Ben and Carla
Ben and Carla decided from the get-go that they didn’t want to have any secrets from each other. Although they still have their old email accounts, they both have the passwords and access to the others’ account. But on social media, they’ve decided to merge their accounts into one family account instead of maintaining separate identities. This means that they both know about the others’ friends, their new projects, and the manner in which they interact with the people around them.
Ben told me, “We decided to merge accounts at some point during our engagement. I was contacted by an old High School girlfriend who wanted to chat again, even though it said on my profile that I was engaged. It’s possible that her reaching out was totally innocent, but we realized that it wasn’t really a question that we wanted to have come up over and over again once we were married.”
“Although both of us lost some friends in the transition,” said Carla, “The truth is that most of those friends were people that we didn’t keep in touch with anymore anyway. We know that we’re building a new life together and that there’s not necessarily room for anyone who doesn’t know us as a couple instead of as two individuals.”
Pat and Jun
Pat and Jun are two people who value their individuality and independence. In fact, deciding whether Jun would take Pat’s last name when they got married was a big deal. Both have their own careers and sets of friends that are independent of the relationship.
When they got married, they decided that they would keep all their own accounts and usernames. So how do they counter threats that could hurt the relationship? “We decided early on that we would make a decision right then to trust each other, and to talk openly about everything,” said Pat. “That means that if someone asks one of us out for a coffee date, we tell the other about it and talk over whether it makes either of us uncomfortable, or if it’s something that doesn’t threaten the relationship at all.”
While Pat and Jun maintain privacy online, even from each other, they both say that when they have kids around, they’re going to set up filters on the internet. “Filters can guard against everything from adult content to total time-wasting or cyber-bullying. I don’t want to censor what my kids can access, but I want to make sure that I’m able to talk to them about every new challenge as it comes, so I want to be aware of what they’re seeing,” said Jun.
By Christine Hill
*names have been changed for the sake of privacy
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