We all know how it goes: a New Years resolution is made, a sweeping declaration comes out at dinner or an internal promise is said during work. We stay committed for a few months but life quickly gets in the way and soon the resolutions get placed on the backburner until they go cold. But, just because your resolution has been out of sight for a while, doesn't mean that you need to leave it there.
There are many ways that we can motivate ourselves to get back on track with the goals that we set out for ourselves. You don't need to feel like you can't get back on the horse or that you don't have it in you to get motivated. You're much more capable than you think and there are lots of different tips to help you find your inner strength and stick with your goals, and live life to your tastes!
One of the most important things to remember is that you should start with small steps. Even if you've created a resolution already, you don't need to just focus on the end goal. Oftentimes people want to lose significant amounts of weight, travel to dozens of different countries, or write a book. Though you can do these things with a little time and motivation, you need exactly that: time.
It can be enticing to look into the future and see ourselves as the people we'd like to be and in doing that, we lose sight of the fact that it takes a good chunk of time to get there. (Though it would be nice to wake up in Italy...)
If you're looking for ways that you can get started, you needn't look any further than Erin Falconer's novel: How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything so They Can Achieve Anything. Falconer is the editor-in-chief and co-owner of the blog PickTheBrain, a blog dedicated to self-motivation and self-education. Her novel covers topics like not taking on everything at once and bombarding yourself, how to better use your time, and why you should seek out a mentor. Refinery29 and Business Wire praised Falconer for her work and the advice she has to offer.
It's important to keep in mind that you should have a larger goal but smaller steps to lead you there. Achieve what is possible for you at the moment so you won't get discouraged if you don't keep up with your plans. There's no shame in taking smaller steps to accomplish something larger.
Experts everywhere have stated the importance of writing down your goals and the power that actually has over accomplishing them.
A Huffington Post article written by international speaker and author Mary Morrissey discussed the importance of writing down your goals. According to Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, if you write down your goals you're 42 percent more likely to achieve them. She added that when you write down your goals you use both the right and left hemisphere of your brain. The right hemisphere is your imaginative center but when you write down what you want, the left hemisphere takes into account that this is something you're seriously striving towards. Together, the hemispheres encourage you to get moving.
Morrissey suggested that you partake in an experiment calling for you to write out your goals so you can better understand them. She said that you should write down what you'd truly love to have and this will help you to better realize two things: what matters most in life and how you can focus on these goals throughout the day. She suggests that focusing on these goals is easier if they're right in front of you.
So, if you have goals that you're already working toward or you still need to put some time into it, make sure to write down what you really want in order to encourage your brain that these are things you're serious about doing.
Even though you're on a potentially difficult path to reaching your goals doesn't mean that you need to cancel out any sort of reward. You're accomplishing big things in the long run and rewarding yourself along the way is a way to keep you motivated.
Author of No Sweat and Ph.D., Michelle Segar said that rewarding yourself if you're doing something that you don't exactly like doing. So, if you're going for a 40-minute workout at the gym, you should pair it with something you do like. Bring along your favorite playlist or a buddy whose company you enjoy. Even if you don't speak to each other or you zone out during your favorite song, you'll have something positive associated with something you would otherwise not like.
David Niven, author, and Ph.D. wrote a novel titled The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It which also laid the importance of rewarding yourself. He discovered that the notion of rewards drives 75 percent of our personal motivation. Niven quoted research from 1999 to inform readers that "researchers find that perceived self-interest, the rewards one believes are at stake, is the most significant factor in predicting dedication and satisfaction toward work. It accounts for about 75 percent of personal motivation toward accomplishment."
Remember that you shouldn't reward yourself with huge or counteractive things that set you back. You should also refrain from rewarding yourself for every task you complete. Instead, try giving yourself a treat after you complete 5-10 tasks. This will make your reward all the more enticing when you get it and you'll also get way more done.
Drawing back on the article from Morrissey, you're even more likely to accomplish your goals if you share them with someone who believes in your abilities. This can be anyone from a partner, parent, friend, or another family member.
This alone should be why you get someone to help you, but there are other reasons that might encourage you. Having someone by your side helps to keep you on track because they're an outsider looking in. They know that something is important to you and they're there to motivate you if you ever feel like stopping. It can be a little difficult to have one person commit to your goals as their life can also prevent them from being there 100 percent of the time. So, there are other things you can try to keep you on track.
Many people turn to social media to show off their achievements, but in doing so they also let dozens of people know what they're up to. This method doesn't work for everyone, of course, but some people do find social media to be a great motivator.
Technology also has other uses. You can download various apps that will help keep you on track. Apps like Fitness Pal, GoodBudget, GoogleKeep will help keep you on track and take note of what you've done. To have your achievements (or lack thereof on a slower day) in front of you puts things into perspective and helps you stay focused.
Think about yourself at work for a moment. If your boss tells you that you have a report due "whenever" then you have no reason to do it right away. But if your boss tells you that they want the report by Monday then you're motivated to get something done.
Even though that's a pretty simple notion, most people make goals without giving themselves a deadline. Not setting a deadline for yourself makes it easier for you to quit on yourself. "Tomorrow" turns into "next week" which turns into "next year" and soon your goals wind up right back on the backburner.
Studies have shown that deadlines help you to stay on track because "in order for the future to energize and motivate current action, it must feel imminent." In other words, researchers explained that some people think their future selves will handle future plans and therefore their goals go ignored for years. But, when you have a deadline in front of you, your present self knows that current action must be taken in order to achieve what you're striving towards.
Keep a future date looming over your head but keep it realistic, just like your small steps. You'll be able to accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
There are a few other steps you can try to aid you. They're not hard to follow and the more tips the merrier.
A mantra is something that is repeated frequently and is often used to encourage yourself. It might seem a little funny if you've never done it before but repeating a simple, encouraging mantra once a day is going to help you stay on the path to achieving what is most important to you. It may take a week or two before you stop rolling your eyes and repeat your mantra with some gusto, but once you do that little burst of confidence every day will do wonders for you.
It's no secret that we all fail at one point in life. The word "failure" has become synonymous with giving up, but it really shouldn't be. You can learn from your failures and use those lessons to help you in the future. It's also crucial to your success to remember that everyone stumbles. It's okay if you miss a day or don't achieve your goals when you thought you would. You're not a failure if you fall behind. Remember that you're working towards a larger goal and that's something to be proud of.
Much like we talked about in our first step, it's easy to get swept away in the idea of an improved self. Though working out for an hour every day might sound doable in your head, it's also an unrealistic stretch for most people. We often push ourselves too hard and then burn out. Set realistic breaks for yourself to pair with your realistic steps and you'll be able to reach your goals without driving yourself nuts.
These are just a few things to help you get started. Don't lose sight of the fact that you're much more capable than you give yourself credit for. With a little willpower and time, you're bound to check off everything on your to-do list.