Starting a project is tough enough, but staying motivated on long-term goals is even more challenging. I tend to break big projects down into small, bite-sized chunks and tasks. That way, I get the instant gratification of completing daily milestones and simultaneously support my long-term goal.
Another trick that helps is to schedule regular review intervals in which you look at the progress you've made over a period, celebrate your successes and brainstorm ways to supercharge your effectiveness over the next period. I do this on a monthly basis. During a review session, I measure my progress on short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. A few of my considerations:
- How well did I ship (crank out work)?
- How well did I manage stress levels, downtime, sleep and healthy habits?
- Am I happier and healthier this month than I was last month?
Then I'll take a long hike and brainstorm solutions to any issues surfaced in my review session, pondering questions like the following:
- What tools or resources do I need to ship more effectively?
- Is anything holding me back from achieving exercise/fitness goals? How can I mitigate or eliminate those obstacles?
- What changes would help me live a happier, healthier life?
The important thing to remember about long-term goals is that the most hassle-free (and thereby efficient) way to achieve them is to stick to a marathon pace with constant steps forward rather than spurts of sprints and stagnation.