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Motivation and Inspiration: 5 Ways to Focus on Your Goals

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As we approach the New Year, resolutions are on the minds of many. Maybe you want to focus on healthy living in 2012? Or, maybe you want to focus on raising giving children? There's always the thought of working on your creativity by tapping into your craft side. Whatever your resolution(s) might be, it's important to set goals and stay focused on them.

For me, my goal was to turn my ideas into a book and then into an app. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in the living room at a writer’s group meeting that I had recently joined. When I told them I wanted to make my children’s story Penelope the Purple Pirate into a storybook app, they explained to me that wasn't really how it was done.

First, I needed to have it accepted and published by a major publishing house and then they would make it into an app. Well, I could see Penelope in my head as an app and a book and was determined to go after my dream regardless of what others said around me. I decided to make it happen and started my own publishing company, found an illustrator and app developer for my book.

This was about two years ago and Penelope became a storybook app this past January and has gone on to become a Top 25 iTunes Book App! Anything really is possible if you follow your dreams and take the journey step by step.

Do you have a secret goal or dream that you would like to accomplish? This could be something as wonderful as being the best parent you can be. Or maybe you have a goal to write a book. Sometimes it can seem impossible to stay motivated and you can’t seem to find the inspiration or passion to finish or even start on one of your goals.

5 Ways to Stay Focused on Your Goals

Here are some steps you can take to help you focus and achieve your dreams.

  1. Keep a Journal: I find that by writing down the tasks at-hand really helps me focus. Also, you are able to check off things you have finished and it allows you to see firsthand what you have already completed.
  2.  Identify and Track the Milestones: Identify what exactly you want to achieve. Maybe you want to lose those last 10 post-pregnancy pounds. It is also important to recognize what you have already accomplished.  By doing this, it helps to keep you motivated during the down or more difficult times.
  3.  Immerse yourself with things that inspire you: Inspiration is not something that comes easily to many. Inspiration is a skill and needs to be honed just like any other skill. Surround yourself with things that inspire you such as art surrounding your desktop, music in the car or at home, etc. As a writer of children’s stories, it helps me to try to look at the world from my daughter’s perspective.  Children have a beautiful gift of being present in the moment. They aren't thinking of what needs to get done or what they should have said. By staying present in the moment I am able to enjoy the unexpected magic that can occur and get ideas for stories.
  4.  Set realistic goals: Dreaming big and having big ambitions is fantastic! How else are great things achieved? But it is important to set realistic goals for yourself so you don’t get frustrated and quit before you give yourself a chance. Write down your specific goal and then write out 10 concrete steps that will help make this happen. If you are not able to come up 10 specific steps; maybe you can redefine your goals or how best to pursue them (source: www.zenhabits.com).
  5. Do not accept defeat: The road to achieving your goals can become tiresome, frustrating, and you might find yourself wanting to quit. But if you have a great goal in mind, don’t allow negative talk – whether it is from yourself or others – to stand in your way. Hold on to your dreams and keep moving forward.
What goals do you have for 2012? How will you stay focused on your goals?

References:  Jeffrey Tang, How to Defeat Burnout and Stay Motivated, www.zenhabits.net.

Melissa Northway, M.S. in Human Nutrition, is a mom, writer, and her company, Polka Dots Publishing, produces children’s picture book apps. Her first storybook app, Penelope the Purple Pirate, has been chosen as a Top 10 Educational iPad App.  You can read more about Penelope here:  http://melissanorthway.com/news.html . And follow Penelope the Purple Pirate on Facebook to learn about more giveaways coming up for the holidays! You can reach her at: @melissanorthway and mcube@sbcglobal.net.

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One Response to “Motivation and Inspiration: 5 Ways to Focus on Your Goals”

  1. [...] Inspiration—In one of my favorite children books, Your Special Gift by Max Lucado (2006), Punchinello and his fellow wooden Wemmicks each receive special anonymous gifts when they wake up one day. As they go about their business, they meet a very tired family whose wagon has broken down in their town square. They all good-naturedly rush to help the poor folk, forgetting their gifts in a heap on the curb. Somehow, everything goes wrong and the family they are trying to help ends up worse off than before. [...]

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