15 Tips on how to stay motivated and achieve your goals
I love January and the hope that comes with the new year. I know many have a different opinion about new year resolutions, but I enjoy the excitement. Why not dream of a better future? Why not wish to be healthier, fitter, richer, or better in any way?
If you set a goal for 2020, I want you to know that I’m cheering for you. I believe that you can be one of the 8% that keep up the new habits for the whole year. If you haven’t set your goals yet, check out this blog post, where I talk about how to define your goals or resolutions in a way that will increase your chance of success.
But if you’re already past that, today’s blog post will give you some practical ways to recommit and find motivation every day.
How to stay motivated to achieve your goals
1. Do you really want it?
First of all, I want to get something out of the way. Do you really want this? Many times, we set goals because we think we “should”, or we push to finish a project that we don’t enjoy.
If it’s making you miserable, that’s not a good goal to have! If it’s only on the list because you already invested time or money in it, or you think you should do it but it’s not pleasant in any way, you have my permission to drop it. Without any guilt. You can then redirect all your energy towards something you do want.
Permission to drop the “shoulds”.
But if only reading the question made you jump up with excitement, that’s great! Commit (or recommit if you’ve taken a break) and let’s move on to the next step.
2. Go back to your Why
Having a vision that can lift you up when you’re feeling down will be one of your greatest assets. In this blog post, I give you a few examples and share the importance of a strong why.
But here’s an extra tip:
Make your reasons positive and focus on what you want to achieve, rather than your current lack.
Example: exercise because you love yourself and your body, not because you hate how it looks now.
Always like your reasons.
3. Recommit every day
Remind yourself every morning that things have changed. Until you make all the new habits you’re working on a routine, start every day by asking yourself:
Who do I want to be?
How can I be this new person today?
Write down your goal every day. This alone increases the chance of success to 42%.
4. Don’t assign any meaning to mistakes
It’s absolutely normal to make mistakes because your old habits are still on autopilot.
Habits are nothing more than circuits in the brain that fire automatically in certain conditions.
They’re great, they help us be more efficient. If the brain knows that it was able to fix a problem with a specific solution and you repeated that a few times, now it will try to apply the same solution every time, without you having to think about it.
Once it becomes automatic, it takes time to “fix” it because you need to bring it back to your awareness. Set the correct expectations and know that it’s unrealistic to think that you can quickly change something you’ve done for years or even your entire life.
If you change the location of an object in your home, you’ll still go to the first location for a while. It’s how habits work.
Be patient. Expect mistakes. But don’t make them mean anything about you. A mistake only means that you’re human.
5. Believe it’s possible
When you don’t believe in your goal, your actions will show it.
Every time you think a thought, you feel a feeling.
That feeling will determine how you act.
How you act will determine the result you have.
So what are you thinking about your goal? Do you think it’s possible?
6. Get accountability
Finding an accountability buddy or being part of a group can be of great support. You have someone to share ideas with but also ask for a bit of motivation or a kick in the pants when needed.
Sharing your goal with someone else increases the probability of success to 65%. However, if you make an appointment with a buddy, for example go to Yoga class together, your chance of doing it increases to 95%.
7. Setup your environment
If your environment is working against you, you can have all the willpower in the world but you won’t be able to make considerable progress.
You have a better chance of eating healthy when you have healthy choices in the house, right?
Think about all the improvements you can make that can support the goal you’re working towards.
- Always have a gym bag stocked with everything you need ready to go.
- Unroll your Yoga mat the night before if you want to stretch in the morning.
- Pre chop your smoothie fruit and veg.
- Clear your desk and make space for your journal.
8. Start small and believe in the compounding effect
If you gave up before because you thought that what you’re doing is not enough, you’re not alone. It’s the human condition, we want results and we want them fast!
But the cost of starting big is that it’s not going to last. If you’ve never run in your life and go out to run a 5k today, it’s not going to end well. You can probably do it, but you’ll be so sore tomorrow you won’t be able to run for another week. And you might not want to! However, if you start with a few minutes only and build the strength and endurance, your first 5k run won’t be your last one.
Success doesn’t happen overnight. It happens through small steps, and small increments that eventually become a great result. Take example from nature: earthquakes happen after years of tiny actions. And when the time is right, all it takes is one more of those small movements to create a big bang and rock your world – literally.
- You might not see the benefits of adding some vegetables to your dinner today, but you’ll see them in a year.
- You might think that 1 Yoga class a week won’t change your life, but give it a few months and it will.
- You won’t be proud of that 1 single page you write every day, but you’ll happily tell everyone you know that you wrote a book six months later!
All your small actions compound to produce a big result. Just keep going.
And remember, the purpose of starting small is not to stay there, but to START there and develop the habit of showing up for yourself.
9. Make it clear
The more specific you are, the better.
What, when, for how long and where will do you a certain activity?
“I’ll go to Yoga this week” won’t be as effective as “I will go to Yoga Monday at 6:30 and Thursday at 7:30 at the studio after work”.
Stating where and when you’ll execute your plan makes you 2-3 times more likely to follow through.
If you use a calendar, add all your activities in – if it gets scheduled, it gets done.
10. Make it enjoyable
Sometimes the results of your work won’t be visible for months. However, the human brain wants instant gratification. It’s how we’re built (faulty software).
Working against nature involves a huge amount of willpower, and you already know that won’t work.
Work with nature, not against it.
Reward yourself every time you perform a good habit. Give yourself instant gratification, but don’t allow it to interfere with the actual result. For example, if you ate only your planned meals this week, get yourself a nice new pair of leggings, not a cookie.
11. Good vibes only
Good vibes attract good results, so do whatever you need to feel good. Make a list of activities that make you happy or excited and every time you start to feel low, pick something from the list.
12. Make it all about your goal
It’s not only what you do, but what you listen to, what you watch, the people you’re surrounded by, what you read. Find inspiration all around you.
What do you think will motivate you when you’re not in the mood to follow through?
13. Join the 5am club
I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not a morning person”. But it’s not something you’re born with, it’s something you develop.
The two most common reasons why you might not work on your goal are: not enough time and not enough energy. This is why so many successful people swear by waking up early. You get some time to work on yourself before everyone else wakes up, and you’re not yet tired from all your other engagements.
14. Cut back on distractions
On a similar note, you can find more time in your day by cutting distractions and saying No more often. Social media, going out, TV shows, they all require both time and energy from you. Reclaim some of that back and work on yourself!
15. Enjoy the journey
Achieving your goal will be one single isolated moment. But what about all those moments that got you there? Focus on having fun, being more present and enjoying every step of the way.
As we say in the Yoga class:
It’s not about touching your toes, but what you learn on the way down.
Whatever your goal is for 2020, all of us here at the studio are cheering for you! Let us know, how can our classes support you on your journey?
Love and gratitude,
Andreea (Yoga Teacher and Life Coach)
Categorised as: Health