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Right before we start a new task or goal, and even at the beginning of the project, we seem to be extremely motivated.
Every little thing we do toward our goals is exciting. Just talking about accomplishing our goals is exciting.
And for the first few days or even weeks, we are so pumped we do exactly what we should.
But then, all of the sudden, our motivation is gone.
We may have even slowly seen it fade until we simply can’t find the motivation we once had. And without motivation, it is extremely hard to push yourself forward when the going gets rough.
So how do you stay motivated when that initial motivation has worn off? How do you stay motivated even when you don’t see immediate progress or results?
How do you stay motivated when all you want to do is give up?
Here are 10 Tips To Help You Stay Motivated:
1. Write down your WHY and display it. We are often told to write down our goals and keep them in a place we can see them to remind us of what we want. But goals really don’t mean anything if we don’t remember WHY we wanted to accomplish them. WHY do you want to accomplish your goals? WHY do they matter? WHY should they be a priority? If your WHY is strong enough, it will keep you motivated. Especially if you display it in a place you can see it when struggles and stress happen. Reminding ourselves of WHY we started is important to keep the motivation alive! Those feelings, those emotions we had when we first started can be reawakened by just reminding ourselves of our WHY.
2. Map out your WHAT in SMART goals. What do you want to accomplish? Now how are you going to make it specific, measurable, attainable realistic and time-based. If you don’t know specifically what you want to accomplish, you are never going to move forward. For instance…While your goal may be to get healthy, you need to specify what being “healthy” means for you in this case. You may want to accomplish 3 or 4 different things to become healthy, but you need to pick one and specify which one you are going to work toward. When you know exactly WHAT you want to accomplish, you know what you are working toward and can outline a clear plan. Then you can make that specific goal something you can measure. If you can’t measure your goal, you can’t see your progress. And if we can’t see our progress, we are more likely to give up on our program. Being able to measure and see progress is key to staying motivated when our goal will take more than a week or so to accomplish. Progress let’s us see that things are working. Also, make sure your goal is realistic for the resources and timeline you have outlined. Set yourself up for success. Don’t give yourself a month to accomplish something that may take years. Set a realistic timeline and break down your goals into short-term goals so you can see the progress along that timeline. Setting SMART goals will help you stay motivated!
3. Set a DEADLINE. Even if you are planning to make a lifestyle change, you need to set a deadline. Without a deadline, we tend to put things off. A deadline makes the issue something we need to accomplish NOW. So what do you do if your goals may take 6 months or even a year to accomplish? That’s a long time to stay motivated without reaching your goal. That is when it is super important to break down your goals into short-term goals. Short-term goals give us more pressing deadlines. They also give us deadlines to measure progress. And the more pressing and important you can make your deadline, the more it will motivate you to succeed. So make your deadlines a BIG EVENT. Celebrate your deadlines. Reward yourself. Make them dates that you have etched in stone because we are way more likely to accomplish things when we can’t just push back the end date.
4. Create a plan. When we have a plan, we can see where we are going and how we are going to get there. And if things plateau, we can easily figure out what is and isn’t working. If we have no plan, we don’t know what is helping us or hindering us, which tends to cause us to completely give up on the process altogether. Plans also break down our goals into daily and weekly tasks. And while our goals may not seem attainable at the moment, daily tasks do seem manageable. They keep us from getting overwhelmed and give us something small and basic to focus on doing. Something small and basic that will eventually move us forward toward our goals. So once you have your Why, your What and your When (deadline) then you just need to create your PLAN (and put it somewhere you can see it every day!).
5. Get people involved – develop some sort of support group. It is super hard to go it alone. While it is great to be self-sufficient, we generally do better when the people around us support us. They hold us accountable when we struggle to hold ourselves accountable. They check in on us and help us stay positive when our progress slows. Heck, sometimes they even remind us of how far we’ve come when we plateau and stop seeing the results. Friends and family motivate us sometimes when we can’t motivate ourselves. Simply tell your friends and family about your goals. It is way harder to give up when others know what we want to accomplish (and when we want to accomplish it). Or workout with a friend to make working out fun. Or join a group. Or hire a trainer. Have others in your life that support your new lifestyle! And that also means getting rid of the people that don’t support you….Getting rid of the crabs.
6. Track your progress. We hit small milestones every day. Yet rarely do we even realize we’ve made progress…Unless we track it. Track your workout numbers. Give yourself credit when you lift more or do more reps even if it is just one more than last time. It is still one more! Also, tracking your progress will help you realize what IS WORKING and what ISN’T WORKING. If your progress stalls, you will be able to quickly see that it is time to change things up. However, if you only do monthly weigh-ins or tests, you may not see that things aren’t progressing near as quickly. And you also won’t be able to pinpoint where the problem is. Tracking your progress is a great way to find out what is working and recognize even the smallest of victories.
7. Reward small victories every week. Small victories build into huge successes. Give yourself credit for all of your hard work and forward progress, even if it is simply eating well for one meal. Progress is progress no matter how small. Small movement forward builds like a snowball until it is huge and seemingly almost moving forward effortlessly on its own. So reward yourself for your progress. But reward yourself in ways that are positive, that promote your new lifestyle.
8. Give yourself a break when little slip ups occur. You don’t need perfection to attain your goal. Life is going to get in the way sometimes. Expecting perfection of yourself can actually hinder your progress by putting unneeded pressure on you. It can also make you feel like any little slip up means the day is ruined and lead to bigger binges that ACTUALLY ruin the day. One little cheat or slip up isn’t going to interfere with your progress. Accept those slip ups and move forward. Enjoy those little cheats and let them reinvigorate you. Don’t expect perfection and you will find you don’t get as stressed out by your goals and stay more motivated.
9. Plan in times to relax! Not only do you need to forgive little slips, but you also need to plan in time to relax. You can’t be on 24/7. Sometimes you need to indulge and relax. Sometimes you just need to live life. So plan in time to enjoy. Create a plan and deadline that give you time to indulge. Remember the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time you need to be on point, but 20 percent of the time you can indulge. Don’t restrict yourself so much that it leads to a binge. Complete and utter deprivation may work for a little bit, but in the end it leaves you feeling deprived and unhappy, which means eventually you are going to binge and probably fall off of your program. So prevent the binge with controlled days or meals or snacks of indulgence. Plan ahead and plan in time to indulge so you can stick to your plan the other days without feeling completely deprived!
10. Stay focused on ONE THING AT A TIME. The best way to get great results is to focus on one thing at a time. Maybe two things if the program is basically the same or complimentary, HOWEVER, you can’t have your attention split between numerous things and expect to succeed. Plus when you try to accomplish too many things at once, your program is going to be all over the place and then you won’t really be able to tell what IS working and what ISN’T working. Stay focused on one thing and remember your WHY. It will help keep you motivated!
For more great tips to help you get started and stay motivated, check out this Getting Started: Goal Setting Guide!