Have you set your new year’s goals yet? Chances are you’re thinking about what you want the year to look like for you. Whether you want to lose weight, create healthier habits, learn a new language, or be more present each day, you have a vision for a new year and a new you. Perhaps you’ve even started on your goals, but your motivation is waning and you can’t seem to stay motivated.
The challenge with new year’s resolutions isn’t creating them or even starting them. The challenge is sticking to your goals and stay motivated for the long haul.
We all come into the new year with the excitement of change. Reflecting on the previous year, leaving the bad behind, and beginning the year ahead with honorable intentions is a satisfying way to move forward. Yet, study after study shows that 80% of new year’s resolutions go unfulfilled.
As Karen Lamb famously said, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
Don’t let this year go by only to look back and regret that you didn’t follow through with your dreams and aspirations. No matter how big or how small, you can reach your goals. All it takes is consistent effort and a little motivation to keep going to stay motivated.
Here are some tips on how you stay motivated to reach those goals and more.
Set Realistic Goals with Realistic Time Frames
Take a look at the goals you’ve set for yourself. Are they realistic? If you’re aiming to lose 50 pounds in three months, it’s time to change up your goal.
A lot of the time, our expectations are too high. We live in a culture of quick fixes and immediate satisfaction. When we don’t see our goals coming to fruition right away, we get impatient or discouraged and lose the motivation to continue.
Be sure that your goals are truly realistic. An average, healthy weight loss is one to two pounds per week. So if you are hoping to lose more than that, it may be time to take another look at your expectations.
Once you have a set goal in mind, be it weight loss or anything else, do a little research to determine a realistic time frame and tweak your goals from there.
Focus On One Goal at a Time
It’s quite rare that someone goes into the new year with only one goal. We often have a myriad of things we want to change. Maybe you want to switch careers, learn a new language, or eat out less.
Well, switching careers is going to take a lot of time. You need to develop new skills, network with new people, and possibly return to school to get the right credentials. It’s not realistic to also squeeze in learning a new language and making more home-cooked meals.
Instead, prioritize your goals. It’s natural to want to do it all, but unfortunately, it’s not always possible in a short period of time. You may be able to work on some goals in tandem, such as waking up earlier and walking more. But if you have goals that seem to clash, focus on what’s most important to you first, then work on the others later down the road.
No matter how excited you are about the changes you want to make in your life, you’re not always going to have the motivation you need. You will have plenty of days where you just don’t feel like it. Whether you’re tired, short on time, or are feeling discouraged, you’re going to need a system in place to drudge through the drudgery.
This is where inspiration comes in handy. You might like to read daily inspirational quotes, listen to motivational speakers, put on a podcast, or blast some of your favorite music. Whatever you need to do to get motivated, do it!
You can go here for a list of more than 100 inspirational quotes to help you stay on track and motivated while working for your goals this year.
Get Into the Right Mindset
There’s nothing more detrimental to ambition than having an “all or nothing” mindset. If you think you need to do it all and do it perfectly each time, then you are surely on the road to losing your motivation and not achieving your goals.
Making lasting change is hard work, and it’s certainly not a linear path. If your goal is to pay off your debt by the end of the year, you can be sure to expect some challenges along the way. Emergencies will come up that force you to either temporarily stop or lower your monthly payments towards your debt. You may have to adjust and readjust your debt pay-off time frame.
If you have the mindset that you will pay a set amount each month or nothing at all, you’re never going to get it done.
It’s important to learn with what you’ve got. When you hit a roadblock, bounce back as soon as you can. Create the mindset of doing what you can with what you have at any given time, and that is what will move you toward success.
Develop Your “Why?”
Do you have an emotional connection to your goal? If there’s not a strong enough purpose behind your goals, you may find it hard to keep up the motivation to continue. Try to really dig deep and find your “why.” This is your reason for creating your goal in the first place.
If you want to quit smoking because it’s bad for your health, you may find that is not a strong enough reason to push you through the temptation on the tough days. Perhaps you specifically want to quit to be around longer and watch your grandchildren grow, or perhaps you want to age as healthily and independently as possible.
Whatever your goal, create a strong emotional connection with it.
Track Your Progress
You can work as hard as you want towards your goals, but if you’re not tracking your progress, chances are you’ll lose the motivation to continue.
Think about having a long to-do list and scratching tasks off as you complete them. How satisfying is it to visually see that list dwindle down? It’s pretty motivating, right? The same is true for your goals. It’s helpful to create a visual reminder to see how you are doing.
Tracking your progress will allow you to see how far you’ve come on the days you want to give up. It’s also super motivating to see the progress you’ve made over time, no matter how big or how small. Place your reminder in a prominent place to help you through the hard days.
Celebrate Big and Small Successes
One of the best ways to stay on track with your goals is to celebrate all of your success. As you track your progress, be sure to celebrate every small success you achieve – whether it is walking an extra five minutes without stopping or moving below the $1,000 range in your debt pay-off journey.
Celebrating your success and rewarding yourself will give you the excitement and motivation to continue to more and more success.
You don’t need to go at it alone. Reaching your goals shouldn’t be a one-person show. Create accountability by getting outside sources involved. Tell your spouse, family, or close friends about your goals, and ask them for their support to help you stay motivated.
Another option is to hire a professional to help guide you. Depending on your goal, it might be a life coach, a career coach, a marriage coach, a health coach, or a financial coach. A professional can not only offer their expertise, but they can also be someone to check in with for accountability.
Don’t Give Up
The most important thing to remember in your quest to reach your goals is to stay consistent. The going will get tough, you will experience failure, and you will fall off track from time to time – maybe even a lot of the time.
Don’t let failures or setbacks prevent you from moving forward. As long as you give it your best effort, work with what you have, and keep going as much as you can, you will reach your goals.
Reach Your Goals and Beyond
It’s not easy to stay motivated to reach your goals. It’s normal for inspiration to dwindle, to have doubts, and to consider giving up. But with these tips, you can stay on track even in the hard times. A year from now, you can look back on this new year with pride and satisfaction in the positive changes you made to yourself and your life.
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