Whenever I get asked the question “how do you stay motivated?”, I feel like I could respond in 100 different ways. Motivation can be one of those things that you have one day, and its gone the next. Think back to the last time you were motivated in an area in your life. Business, relationships, your health – these are just some of the areas that you have likely experienced motivation in before. But why does motivation come and go? Why isn’t there a way you can stay motivated, forever? Well, I think there is.
Motivation differs from person to person. For example, in terms of your health and fitness, you could be motivated by your lack of energy levels, the number on the weight scale, how your clothes fit, etc. For someone else, their motivation may be around a big trip that they want to be in shape for.
A problem with motivation is that it comes in peaks. Think back to your last New Years Resolution. Like many, your resolution was likely around improving your health and getting in better shape. Now be honest; how long did your motivation last? A few weeks? A couple of months? And then what…did it disappear?
Here are 2 easy steps that you can take today that can help you stay motivated, no matter what you are trying to achieve.
(1) Make a list of the reasons you want to achieve the goal
Break out your pen and paper right now and pick a goal that you want to achieve. Being that January is around the corner, many goals may involve improving your health and fitness. If you are looking to get in better shape, make a list of reasons WHY this is important for you. For example, I want to:
- Look better for my partner
- Have the energy to play with my kids and not be out of breath
- Feel comfortable in my own skin
- Fit into my college jeans again
- Look good in my bathing suit for an upcoming trip
- Feel confident when I wake up every morning
These are potential reasons as to why you might want to get in better shape, but feel free to write down your own. The key is to physically write these reasons down using pen and paper and to place this list in a visible area. In my experience, many people create this list and keep it next to their alarm clock so they see it every morning.
As soon as they wake up, they see this list and remember WHY they are looking to get in better shape. After scanning down through your own list, you will immediately feel motivated like you have never been before. It is very important that you create this physical list that you can feel, see and touch every day.
(2) Set small, realistic targets AND celebrate the wins
A common reason why many people fail to achieve their New Years Resolutions is that because they rely on luck to help them out. Running with the health and fitness example, too many people switch to the chicken and broccoli approach starting January 1st. They completely alter their lifestyle overnight without thinking about their habits and without creating a proper plan. They set unrealistic expectations, such as avoiding all ‘junk’ food and rely on luck and motivation to keep them on track.
This approach will set you up for failure and you will be left wondering what you did wrong. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it’s not a fun place to be.
The key is to set small, realistic targets that can help you achieve your big, long-term goals. Here are a few examples of long term goals, and possible realistic targets that you could set:
- Goal -> Lose 20 pounds within 5 months | Target -> Lose 1 pound a week
- Goal -> Fit into my college jeans | Target -> Lose 1 inch within 30 days
- Goal -> Cut out all junk food on January 1st | Target -> Eliminate 1 unhealthy food from your diet per week
Once you start accomplishing your realistic targets, you will stay motivated and focused on your long-term goal. To keep things exciting, you need to celebrate each and every small win you achieve. If you go 7 days without eating your favourite dessert, go ahead and enjoy a small portion of it. The list of possible ways to celebrate your wins are endless.
Everyone experiences a lack of motivation at some point throughout their life
The key is to get back on track as quickly as possible and not spend any time worrying about the past. Whether you are motivated to launch a business, get in better shape or improve your relationships, use the 2 steps mentioned above and set yourself up for success.