As important as it is these days to be productive, staying motivated isn’t always an easy task. There are plenty of effective strategies and guidelines for staying organized and accomplishing your goals, but many of those are pretty ineffective if you aren’t motivated to put them to use and reap real results. 

However, there are simple ways to help give you motivation and spur you on to reach your goals. Keep your motivation alive by following these 6 tips below:

1. Visualize Possible Futures

Visualizing positive and negative outcomes can be a helpful way to inspire motivation. First, think of the best possible outcome of achieving your goal, visualizing it in your mind. Because the brain doesn’t always know the difference between thinking about doing something and actually doing it, if you close your eyes and picture yourself in the future achieving the outcome you want, it’s likely you’ll start to feel inspired and excited. 

After you visualize what you want, then visualize the opposite by thinking of what it would be like not to achieve it. Make sure to focus less on why you didn’t achieve it and think more about what it would mean for you if you never got what you wanted. This can be a fast way to illicit a deep desire to launch into action.

2. Look at Past Successes

It can also help to take a look at the past and examine what went right when you successfully achieved goals. Rather than focusing on what you’re “doing wrong” or overcoming some sort of failure, focusing on your strengths and what has made goals more attainable in the past can replace feelings of shame with motivation. 

For example, instead of feeling bad that you haven’t been working out every morning, think about your favorite workouts. What are the common elements? What made them enjoyable? If you can incorporate those elements into your everyday efforts to achieve your goals, it’s much more likely that you will make steady, consistent progress and remain motivated to reach them. 

3. Match Goals to Your Values

Now, before you set any major goals, you should clarify your values and then build your goals around those values. What are the top five, six, seven things that you value most? Family? Personal health? Spirit connection? Emotional growth? Make a list so you can refer back to it as you craft your goals, and as you go, make sure that each goal specifically reflects one of your values. 

For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, but the true value it’s trying to reach is feeling good about your body, there could be a more effective (and motivating) way to address that value—like doing yoga regularly or getting massages more often. When your goals exemplify the things you truly value, it’s much easier to stay motivated as life starts to wear on you, because there’s a real reason why they matter to you.

4. Start With Small, Achievable Goals

Another strategy for staying motivated and on track is setting smaller goals that will build on each other to help you accomplish the end goal. After all, goals can be much more stress-inducing without a strategy to help you achieve them. 

Doing small, previously established pieces every day helps take some of the pressure and immediacy out of goals by limiting distractions (because you’ll know what to focus on each day), keeping the moving parts to a minimum to avoid getting overwhelmed, and increasing motivation through seeing your daily progress.

5. Tell Your Friends

Talking to your friends and family about your ambitions can also help. When you tell others, goals and dreams can feel more real, like something that you can accomplish. The reasoning behind your goal can also seem more meaningful when you tell others about it, helping you remember why you decided on it in the first place. 

Finally, it’s much harder to back out and talk yourself out of your goals when others are expecting you to follow through. When you have dependable people regularly following up with you, you’ll be more motivated to keep working at them so you can give a positive report.

6. Go Easy on Yourself

Finally, go easy on yourself, even if you fail to find that motivation and slack off one day. Compassion for yourself is key—shame is a strong paralytic, and can quickly sap motivation as it makes it harder to believe in yourself. Instead of letting your disappointment turn into discouragement, remind yourself of the progress you’ve already made, or just review why your goal is so important to you.

You are human, and you will make mistakes. However, how we respond to those mistakes can make or break our ability to achieve our goals. By setting up systems that work for you to support your journey, you are giving yourself multiple ways to stay motivated, thereby setting yourself up for success in the best possible way for you.