Moved by Moon Day: Reflections on Motivation and Goal Setting

Every once in a while, the human race achieves something that is truly seminal and ground-breaking. The first moon landing (and moonwalk) in 1969 provided a relevant case in point, and one that we celebrate every year on what is colloquially referred to as Moon Day.

This often overlooked celebration, which is celebrated annually on July 20, teaches us about far more than outer space, however, as it also reinforces the ideal that anything can be achieved with planning, determination and a keen sense of motivation. It is also a celebration that has merit throughout the calendar year, especially as you strive to achieve challenging goals and grow as an individual.

Embracing the Spirit of Moon Day: How to effectively motivate yourself and achieve your goals

The fusion of vision and hard work that is central to the Moon Day message is also central to effective leadership, and in this respect the event should be viewed as an important landmark for anyone who aspires to make a difference or guide others in a common cause. More specifically, this day encourages us to reconsider our goals and ensure that we are as motivated as possible to achieve them.

Consider the following steps towards fulfilling this aim: 

Follow the Goldilocks Rule and set challenging, but attainable, goals

A truly seminal moment in global history, the idea of landing on the moon also appeared to some as an impossible dream prior to its realisation. The way in which we perceive this goal changes when you consider the human and financial resources available to NASA, however, as it suddenly emerges as a challenging but ultimately attainable aim.

This taps into the Goldilocks Rule of motivation, which is based on years of scientific study and research. In simple terms, this asserts that humans are at their most motivated when they pursue goals that are within an optimal range of difficulty. So while tasks that are too simple will disengage the brain and cause individuals to lose interest and focus, those that are too difficult will overwhelm the mind and demotivate the person in question.

Conversely, those that are challenging but within an individual's skill-set will drive long-term engagement and the type of productivity that is central to every successful individual, small business and corporation.

Be Prepared to Fail and Rebound from Setbacks

During the execution of your goal, you are bound to experience setbacks and hardships that impact negatively on your level of motivation. You can negate this impact by being prepared to fail in the first place, however, as you make allowances for external influences and create an open mind that enables you to rebound when you fail.

Let's say that you are planning to buy a home, for example, having painstakingly identified a viable area in which to live, accrued a deposit and organised your credit. It is at this point that the region's school performance tables are updated, leaving a number of local establishments that are rated as outstanding and suddenly highly coveted by parents. Given that houses in the desirable catchment area can drive an additional premium of £21,000, this could delay the accomplishment of your goal and place your dream out of reach for the foreseeable future.

With a determined and informed mind-set, however, you can approach this positively and develop the strength to rebound and redefine your goals in real-time.

Measure your progress regularly and over time

Finally, it is absolutely crucial that you strive to measure your progress as you continue along a particular path. This is renowned among psychologists as a keen driver of happiness, particularly when working on projects within the optimal range of difficulty with a degree of sustained success.

The combination of challenging yourself and obtaining results creates what is commonly referred to as flow, which describes the mind-set of elite athletes and performers when they peak. In short, it creates a mental flow where individuals achieve their optimal levels of focus and motivation, driving progress, attainment and personal development in the process.

By measuring your progress and enjoying the fruits of your labour, it is far easier to remain motivated and continue your pursuit of higher goals in the future.

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