Just about all of us have set some major life goal at one point or another, be it a fitness goal, a goal to learn something new, a goal to see through a major endeavor, or a goal to put an end to a bad habit. Yet not all of us can say that we have had success in meeting these goals. In fact, it is estimated that just 8 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve their goals.
As this article points out, motivation really is the key to achieving any goal. You have to have the motivation to do the work. Unfortunately, however, motivation so often wanes within a short period of time. How, then, do you maintain the motivation you need to actually see through your goals? Here are some tips for staying motivated and actually achieving the things you want to accomplish.
Write down your motivations. First, it’s important to write down why you want to achieve a particular goal. This will help make your motivations more tangible, and it will serve as an important reminder later when motivation is running low. It helps to write down some very specific motivations, as well as some broader ones. If you have a major fitness goal, for example, your motivations might be: be able to walk up three flights of stairs without running out of breath, be able to do 50 push-ups, fit back into my favorite pair of pants, and be more fit so I can be more active with my family.
Write down what makes you smile. We don’t always know what exactly motivates us to keep going on our goals. So, take note of what makes you smile throughout the day. To go along with the fitness goal example, maybe it’s seeing the muscle tone in your arms as you lift weights. Maybe it’s concocting the perfect-tasting smoothie. Or maybe it’s finally getting to hit “cool down” on your daily treadmill run. Pay attention to those little moments that boost your enthusiasm so that you can look forward to them on an everyday basis.
Break the goal down into small, meaningful steps. If you don’t break your goal down into smaller, more detailed steps, you’ll never know how you’re actually progressing toward your goal. That’s why it’s important to create a detailed plan for your goal. Let’s say, for example, that your goal is to lose 10 pounds in three months. If you were to break this goal down into weekly benchmarks, that would mean losing about three-fourths of a pound every week—or three pounds every four weeks.
Create a detailed plan. In addition to breaking the goal down into smaller steps, you’ll also want to created a detailed plan that you will follow for actually achieving your goal. What will you do each day to get you to those small milestones you just planned out? If your plan is to get in better shape, you might plan a diet around fresh produce and lean meats and commit yourself to doing a 30-minute “living room workout” on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Dissect your excuses. Maybe your plan to get in better shape involves getting up half an hour earlier on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but when that alarm goes off in the morning, you simply tell yourself that you’re too tired—and then you don’t get up. But what’s the real excuse here? Are you, for example, staying up later than you should watching reruns of your favorite show on Netflix? If this is the case, then you are not exercising simply because you would rather watch your favorite TV show late at night. Whenever you find yourself making an excuse, stop and ask yourself what the root of this excuse is, and then find ways to alter your lifestyle to eliminate these excuses.
Seek outside inspiration. There are plenty of sources of outside inspiration you can turn to when motivation is running low. For instance, think of three people in your life whom you feel your most inspired around. Consider calling them up or spending some extra time with them. Alternatively, you might watch a TED talk or listen to a podcast that centers around the idea of motivation, discipline, or success. Music and books can be other great sources of inspiration.
Repeat these steps as often as necessary. Remember that you always have the option to repeat these steps as you progress toward your goals. You can always reassess where you are in relation to your goal and create new benchmarks to measure yourself against. You can also create a new game plan that will lead you more successfully to your goal. You can always pinpoint something that isn’t working and alter your lifestyle to counter it. Remember that keeping your motivation up is a process, and it’s normal to have to stop every once in a while to recharge.
Hello, hello! My name is Deidre.
Deidre Emme is a life + style blog to capture everything from our little family.
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