5 Tips For Staying Motivated
If there's one thing I've learned about motivation, it's that it can be incredibly moody. At times, it's as though motivation is bursting from the seams, making us feel capable of accomplishing anything we can dream up. While other times, it becomes more of an elusive idea. Coming and going as it pleases, it can often leave us confused and frustrated with our progress. There are countless social media posts featuring quotes (and sometimes, misquotes) placed over pictures of animals (typically large African cats), intended to inspire a strong sense of motivation. But is it really that simple?
True motivation doesn't come from an outside source. We must find it within ourselves. We may draw inspiration from another person's journey (or maybe even a large African cat?), but personal motivation is intrinsic.
Although we may not always be in touch with it, every single one of us already possesses intrinsic motivation. If we know we have it, how do we keep it? If we haven't discovered ours, how do we find it? It's a difficult thing to harness, and a topic many of my clients have wrestled with. Below are 5 tips that have helped my clients and me cultivate a sense of strong connection to our personal motivation to keep us pushing towards our goals.
1. Make it Personal.
Your goals have to connect with your ideals and values in order to have merit. If a goal doesn't resonate with a personal belief or value, you'll likely find it extremely difficult to achieve. Focus on the area you want to work on right now. What is important to you at this point in your life, and why? One way to connect with what you value is to write a vision statement. Understanding what is important to you and who you want to become can help you set appropriate goals, and ultimately lead you to success.
2. Start Slow and Increase Gradually.
Losing half a pound a week is major progress. Seriously. So is adding one more day of physical activity to your week. So is eating one more serving of vegetables for lunch. The biggest hurdle to motivation and forward progress is people often try to do too much at once. They'll make a complete 180-degree change, see quick results, and then two months later are back where they started. This cycle is incredibly common and not only difficult on our bodies, but on our mentalities as well. Ultimately, most of us desire these changes to become permanent. To be our way of living. We don't just want to feel and look good for a short amount of time. We want to feel and look good on a consistent basis. So why do we expect ourselves to accomplish goals we hope to maintain for life, in just a few months? If you really want to see long-term results and experience lasting success, incorporate positive behaviors into your routine gradually. Start with making one healthy change every two weeks. Stay consistent and trust the process. Patience truly is a strength.
3. Start Your Day with Positive Visualization.
Positive thinking is crucial. Whatever you think, you will believe, and ultimately become. Begin your day by reading over your vision statement and goals. Visualize yourself being successful, accomplishing each goal as though it's a movie playing in your mind. The vision board in my office consists of my vision statement, long-term goals, and other sources of inspiration. Personally, "out of sight, out of mind" has never been truer than when it pertains to my goals. I am far more successful when they're in the forefront of my mind. When we begin our day with positive intentions and planning, we have a much higher chance of staying on track and being successful!
4. Enlist Accountability.
Another major factor in reaching your goals is having accountability. We weren't meant to go through life all by ourselves. In fact, every single one of us has a need for connection and community. Take advantage of all the opportunities around you. Find a friend or a group you can join in a healthy/fun activity (fitness classes, hikes, cooking classes, etc). Most people desire to make improvements to themselves, so asking a friend to start a healthy behavior with you may just give them the encouragement they need to begin. I run with one of my good friends. I ran before we started running together, but I was much more sporadic. One day, I had planned on running, but as it got later in the day, my mind was already creating some really amazing excuses of why I shouldn't go for a run (it's cold out, I ran yesterday, what if it rains, I'm too dehydrated/hungry/tired/etc). Then my friend texted me asking me if I'd go on a run with her. Yes... I will. After getting her text, all my excuses dissipated, and while I may have initially wanted to curse her name, I felt great afterwards and was so thankful to have gone on a run!
5. Celebrate Yourself.
I believe it's important to celebrate often! I think that every month should include a Treat Yo'self day! Stick to rewards that support who you want to become. This could mean getting a much needed massage, buying that new item of clothing you've been eying, treating yourself to a fun weekend dedicated to a hobby, taking a weekend road trip, etc. Rewards are awesome ways to celebrate all the positive decisions you've made so far and it's always fun to have something to look forward to!
Staying motivated may be tough at times but it is absolutely possible! Remember, we're all in this together!
What helps you stay motivated?