Each January brings an opportunity to reflect upon the previous year. This may include the successes that were achieved as well as things that need some improvement in the new year. While the reflection time in January is a great motivator to achieve new goals and changes in the new year, finding motivation after that may prove to be a harder task.
The fitness world is riddled with “New Year, New Me” slogans, which for some may be enough motivation to keep pushing towards the goals and changes that were established for the future. For others, the motivation may wane once February hits. The slogan then turns to “New Year, Same Me”. How can we keep the excitement and enthusiasm we have of the start fresh on day 1 of 365 well into day 128 and beyond?
Several things come into play when goals are established for the future. Motivation is one of the major keys for these changes. If we are not motivated to change or evolve, how will we ever meet or exceed the aspirations that we have for ourselves? There are a few simple things that can help us maintain motivation for our goals.
Write it down, make it stick
The simplest goal of all starts in one place, our minds. But what use is that goal if you do not actively think about it every day? One way to ensure that you are thinking about your goal every day is simply to write it down. It may sound silly but writing your goal down and placing somewhere you will see every day, several times a day, will keep it fresh in your mind. Stick a reminder your coffee pot or attach it to your steering wheel; just don’t look at it while driving! Put a sticky note on your computer monitor or write it on your bathroom mirror. Force yourself to look at the goal you want to achieve every day, several times a day. Yes, seeing the same goal repeatedly every day may get annoying, but you will be thinking about it regularly. This helps you to take then next step of forming an action plan for achieving that goal. Actively reminding yourself of what you are looking to accomplish will give you time to devise a strategy on how to make it happen, and how to get that note off your coffee pot!
Start small, don’t bite off more than you can chew
When looking to make a change in your life, it helps to know that every small achievement is a steppingstone towards accomplishing your overall. Your overall goal may be large and seem insurmountable, but breaking it up into smaller, easier to achieve objectives can help push you towards making it happen. Make sure that your overall goal is something that can be divided into smaller tasks, giving yourself a time limit for each piece of the puzzle. Once one of those puzzle pieces is completed, the motivation that comes with accomplishing it can boost your confidence to go onto the next objective. In no time, that once insurmountable life change now doesn’t seem so impossible after all. Don’t let your overall goal dissuade you from ever starting. Break it down into smaller more attainable objectives that are easily achievable. Once you start checking off those smaller, more attainable goals, in no time you will be on your way to excelling at making a change in your life.
Form a habit, make it happen
Most of what we do daily is some type of habit or routine. Adding a change in the routine will alter the habit in a way that will help you accomplish the overall goal you have set for yourself. Completing the smaller objectives in your overall goal can seem mundane, like just checking off the necessary steps in order to get where you want to be. But truthfully, while you are checking off each step, you are forming a habit. While the steps may be small, any change towards the greater goal can help form a habit. This helps you accomplish your overall goal and will help you continue long after that goal has been achieved. Changing or altering one piece of your routine will not only help you move towards your end goal, but also allow you to seamlessly continue to make strides after you have accomplished what you set out to do.
What happens after I complete my goal?
You’ve summited the mountain. The goal that once felt impossible has been completed and you are ecstatic that you were able to stay motivated and not give up, but now what? First, that’s awesome! Give yourself some kudos, you set out to make a change in your life and were able to conquer it! Don’t stop there though, and definitely don’t go backwards. You have formed a new habit that has helped you achieve what you set out to do. Keep the fire burning by setting a new goal on a larger scale. Write the goal down, break it apart into smaller pieces, and then develop and evolve the habit that you have formed to achieve the goal you are striving for. Don’t let the fact that you completed your goal stop you from continuing to make progress and exceed your own expectations. Take the drive and excitement you have for completing the task at hand and utilize that to continue to develop yourself in any aspect of your life.
We are almost a month into the new year. Don’t let the time of year determine when to start working towards a new goal, it’s never too late. Each day is a chance to start at day 1 of 365 for achieving and accomplishing the things you set out to do.
For more information:
- Stop Setting Goals And Start Building Habits by Jory MacKay, Focus
- Fitness: Tips for staying motivated, Mayo Clinic