Three Pointers by Dr Megan Swanson

Welcome to our guest mini blog with experts from the world of health and wellness…

This week we’re delighted to welcome Dr Megan Swanson to share her “3 Pointers” around finding motivation to keep you focused on your goals/intentions this year… small, easy to adopt steps we can all make to help us feel better day-to-day, leading to a healthier, happier and more thriving life.

Megan Swanson M.Ed PsyD is a Doctor of Clinical and sports psychology with a master’s in education. She is a university professor, writer and editor and is also trained in positive psychology, mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and personal training.

Here, Megan shares her 3 Pointers and perspective on the subject of finding motivation and goal setting.

We set goals in life for a million different reasons. And we each attack reaching those goals in different ways; some that work and others that don’t. So, as we look at how to work towards successfully achieving goals – here are three tips!

1. Remove the barriers to success

Okay, so you’ve set a goal and now you need to get motivated to reach it. You’ve set this goal for a reason, right? Think about that reason and then about how you actually plan to get to the end result. Now take a moment to assess what might be standing in your way. What excuses can you envision yourself making in the process or reaching your goal? Are they valid? If so, how will you work through them to see that your goal comes to be?

When we prepare our minds for the potential pitfalls that could occur and hinder our motivation, we can create a plan to address them before they even happen and potentially stop them from happening at all. We can be more prepared, and thus have a higher chance of effectively overcoming them and removing them as a barrier to success.

2. Identify patterns to success

Think back to times in your life that you have set goals and been successful in achieving them. What were the circumstances that surrounded those successes? Were you surrounded by specific people? Were in a specific place (geographically or generally in life)? Doing specific things (exercising, having a set routine, working in a particular job/field) etc.

Once we identify positive patterns that led to motivation and the successful reaching of goals, we can work towards repeating those patterns in the future. Simply put; patterns help us to identify what has worked and what hasn’t. If we put in the time to acknowledge what those patterns are for us as individuals, we increase our chances of being able to address and breakdown the negative patterns and capitalise upon and utilise the positive ones.

3. Celebrate the small steps

Setting goals is easy. Being motivated on an ongoing basis to reach those goals is not. And often we forget that along the road to achieving a big goal… we have met and achieved a million little small ones! Even in completing the steps above, there is celebration to be had. There is great value in looking at the positive patterns we create and addressing what barriers exist within our lives or that we create for ourselves.

That mindful and thoughtful time is helpful in all areas of life; not just for this one singular goal. These are prised tools for your personal mental health and wellness toolbox that can be used well beyond the completion of this particular goal.

So, celebrate along the way; don’t hold out until you have deemed your goal “accomplished”.  And in that celebrating, assess and reassess the end goal itself. The little steps along the way will help you to understand how you may need to shift or change the overall goal. Allowing yourself this space will help you to remain motivated and excited about the goal you’ve set for yourself!

Read our other interview with Megan here.