Have you ever wondered how you can stay motivated?
Do you get frustrated with yourself when you set a goal and go after it for a short time and then conveniently forget about it?
Most people do not keep their resolutions, or any goal they set for themselves, because they don’t know how to make the motivation last. But you can change that if you follow these tips.
Learn To Stay Motivated In 7 Steps
1. Define your plan in detail
Suppose that your goal is to lose weight, and you decide that you will lose 30 pounds in the next six months. If you plan a diet that includes healthy eating and portion control, and a specific routine in the gym that you’ll follow four times a week, you’ll stay motivated more than if you just say that you’ll cut down on food and exercise a couple of times a week.
The key is to be specific and plan the details ahead of time.
Related: 7 Tips to Achieve Your Dreams
2. Write down why you want to do this
Write or imagine what pleasure you will get from achieving the goal. Imagine that you are a hard-working person but your resolution is to spend less time at the office and more time with your family. Visualize the joys you will get from watching your children grow, being with your spouse, and having fun with them.
Don’t just think about it but feel the feelings. Emotion motivates people, not thought, so use your emotions and your thoughts will naturally follow.
Related: The Power of Positive Thinking
3. Visualize the pain of not achieving your resolution
Just as feeling the joy of achieving the goal helps motivate you, feeling the pain of not achieving it can strengthen your motivation. Using the example of spending more time with family, imagine and feel the pain of missing your children growing up, and losing the feeling of connection with your spouse, maybe even getting divorced.
If you imagine the joy of being there and the pain of not being there you’ll double your motivation.
Related: How to Get Motivated From Within
When you have a goal or resolution that could take some time to achieve, break it down into small steps. You will feel a sense of accomplishment more frequently. Going back to step 1, if your resolution is to lose 30 pounds in 6 months, break it down into 5 pounds every month. This can make the goal seem more manageable.
5. Tell a trusted friend
If you have a life coach they will coach you to keep going. If you don’t then ask a friend to act as your coach. Tell them that you want them to keep you going and not to be easy on you.
Related: How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs
6. Plan a big reward
When you have achieved the goal that you set as your resolution, plan a weekend away or treat yourself to a new iPad or something that you have wanted for a while. Make sure the reward is big and appropriate. But remember…your reward should be aligned with your goals. So if you want to lose weight, don’t eat chocolate cake all weekend as a “reward” when you have lost your 30 pounds.
Instead, do something that will further improve your health, like plan a day at the spa, get a massage, or even a shopping trip to get some new clothes to fit that slimmer new body.
7. Plan mini-treats
Plan periodic treats so that you incorporate the resolution into your lifestyle. Going to the beach or swimming weekly is great for the weight loss goal. But the key is to tailor your specific “treat” to whatever your goal is, and what you enjoy. By linking pleasure to success you’ll be more likely to stay motivated and achieve new goals as well.
These are all ways to get leverage on yourself so you can accomplish anything in your life. If you do all seven of these it will be much more likely that you’ll keep your resolution. However, even doing three or four of them can keep you going. The more that you do the more motivated you will be to stick to your resolution.
Frank Healy is a Life Coach through Grow Training. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and author of the book Heal Your Memories, Change Your Life.
Featured image by The Windowlicker
Originally published 12/2013 and updated 11/2014.