So, I’m going to use the dreaded ‘M’ word… we’ll say it together on the count of three, 1… 2… 3… Motivation!
To achieve anything in life, we need to have a goal. And to achieve that goal, we need to have a little something on our side called motivation. Ahh motivation – that elusive intention that seems to come and go as quickly as Christmas.
One minute you’re feeling like you can conquer the world. It feels like nothing can stand in your way…and the next, even the thought of doing something productive makes you want to roll over and take a big ol’ nap. Sound familiar?
Why does this happen? And why do we stray from our goals? Even if it’s something we so desperately want to achieve, why can’t we get motivated and why do we sabotage our efforts?
At one time or another, we have all experienced fear of failure. We set ourselves an important goal or task where the stakes are so high, the thought of failing is inconceivable. So to avoid failure, it’s easy to just not do it at all right?
We may have also chosen a goal that is mentally or physically challenging. It’s important to remind yourself that any challenging goal is obviously worth doing and means something to us – otherwise, we wouldn’t do it. But we tend to lose motivation if we believe we can’t get there. It’s tough being in the driver’s seat when you’re the only one pushing yourself along – so first and foremost, it’s important to connect with people who support you, encourage you and make you feel energised.
Here are 7 tips that may help you get on board the motivation train! Toot toot!
Tip 1: Routine!
The most important part of your goal is just starting. If the enormity of it is overwhelming, find a simple and achievable activity you can do to actually start your task. For example, if your goal is to write a book, perhaps your routine could begin with boiling the kettle and pouring yourself a tea or coffee. Or, if your goal is to run a marathon, start a generic warm up that you can repeat easily each time you’re about to embark on a run. Once you start going through the motions of the routine, you can take it from there.
Tip 2: Get Educated!
Learn everything about your chosen task or goal. More interest in the subject may actually excite you and spark some motivation to get started. Educating yourself may also help you avoid simple mistakes that could unravel you down the track.
Tip 3 Break It Down!
A great way to stay motivated is to break your big goal down into bite sized chunks that you can achieve. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon in 3 month’s time, break down how many km’s you need to run each week or even each day. That way, you stay focused on what’s directly in front of you and you only need to worry about achieving the mini-goal for the day or week. When you’re in a constant pattern of achieving, it will boost your belief system and make you want to keep forging ahead.
Tip 4: Start Small!
Small behaviours reinforce good habits. If you set a goal and completely turn your life 180 degrees to get there, you may not be able to sustain such drastic changes. But if you start making small, habitual changes, you’ll find it easier to stay on track.
The opposite of this is also true. Have you noticed it’s often the small, innocent things that lead to a motivational slump? Like skipping a workout to hang out with friends can suddenly start a pattern of always skipping workouts. When you give yourself the option of an out, it’s very easy to do – and even easier to keep doing it. Pretty soon you will be rationalising why you don’t need to do it at all.
Tip 5: Follow a Plan!
To achieve any goal, you need a ‘road map’ of how you are going to get yourself there. If you want to run a marathon, you need a running program. And you need to stick to it! Trust the process. Even if it feels like it’s not working, even if it feels hard, trust that by sticking to the program, you will get there. A great tip is to find a template or even someone who has done what you want to do and follow exactly what they did. Model their behaviour – that’s what successful people do. Find a mentor or someone who has achieved the goal you’ve set for yourself, reach out to them and learn their habits and tricks of the trade.
Tip 6: Track your progress!
This is paramount. Keep a progress log – for example, get some ‘before’ photos or look at fitness test results from when you started out so you can truly prove that you ARE making progress and giving up now would undo all the work up to this point. Tracking progress is also really handy for learning where you need to improve.
Tip 7: Accountability!
Tell people what you are doing so they can not only encourage you along the way and support your needs, but also keep you accountable and prevent you giving up when times get tough.
Keep your eyes peeled for 7 more tips to stay motivated once you’ve mastered finding that initial motivation.