Fitness — 08 March 2012
Motivation and Goal Setting for Nurses: Why You Need A Plan

You are a nurse.  You work day in and day out.  You like your patients.  You like your job, but something is missing, something just seems out-of-place.  Maybe you are a licensed practical nurse, but have always wanted to be a registered nurse.  Maybe you are already a registered nurse but wanted to go back to school to get your bachelors in nursing or perhaps become a nurse practitioner.  It is important in nursing – and in life – to have goals that you are always reaching for.  Goals and the motivation to achieve them can transform your life both personally and professionally.


Why Have Goals?

Goals have a tendency to crystallize your life.  They are not just important in nursing, but they are important in other aspects of your life, as well.  If you sit down and look at where you are in your life and then determine where you would like to be, you are on the road to making your life better.  If you are unhappy with where you are in your life now, goals are your ticket out of the routine and into something better.  Maybe you want more schooling or maybe you want to be in a different nursing specialty.  Only when you allow yourself the opportunity to set goals will you know what you want.  That undercurrent of unhappiness you are feeling with your life just might be because you are not working to improve your life.  Having a goal and working towards it will help with that.


Goal Setting Tips

When you decide what goals you want to achieve in your life, you have to come up with motivational ways to make yourself stick to them.  Creating a log or chart is a great way to keep you motivated, according to Zenhabits.  This is especially helpful with diet and fitness goals.  Join a group of like-minded professionals who support your goals to help you achieve them.  If you go to school, you will likely be surrounded by those looking to improve their lives.  Also, think of your goal in mini-goals.  Don’t think of becoming a nurse practitioner as so many years of school.  Think of it as one semester at a time, and work on that semester in front of you.  Don’t forget to give yourself rewards.  If you meet those mini-goals, give yourself a reward of a spa trip or a shopping spree.  It is also important to never forget your reasons.  Write down the reasons your goal is so important to you and refer to it on days when pursuing your goal seems hardest.  On those days, you will be glad to have a picture of your more motivated self to fall back on.


Positive Thinking and Motivation

One of the greatest strategies towards achieving goals and improving your life is to cultivate a state of positive thinking.  Visualize yourself achieving your goals at least once per day.  Cut out pictures of your goals and dreams, and post them where you can see them and be inspired by them.  When you have a negative thought about your goal, quickly replace it with a positive one.  You are not your thoughts and your thoughts do not rule you.  Instead of dwelling on all the negative things your goal entails, focus on the positives that come from working towards something worth achieving.  Journal your thoughts and feelings about your goals as a way of getting your negative feelings out and as a way of staying motivated towards your goal.  With time, persistence, and positivity, you can transform your life and live the life you always dreamed of.


Zenhabits; Top 20 Motivation Hacks – An Overview; February 2007

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About Author

I am a registered nurse with three years experience on a medical-surgical floor in a busy city hospital. In my work, I encountered patient populations such as post-op open heart, gastric bypass, active chest pain, and many other chronic and acute disease functions. I am familiar with the nutrition, diet and fitness fields, as well, from working with obese patients and conducting teaching.

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