We all know the score: write a list of resolutions at the beginning of the year, fill in the planners/training logs with good intentions, and make a commitment that this is The Year your life is going to change. You just need to find your personal motivation.
So why does it all go wrong around the third week in January? We lose our drive, we don’t see the results straight away and then we give up. Decide those successful people are a different breed and we have no chance of staying motivated long enough to get fit and be like them.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! In this blog post, I’m going to share with you 15 ways that you can stay motivated throughout the year. Let’s get started!
#1 Understand What Drives You
The drive to achieve can come from different things for different people. Understanding what motivates you is a key step in finding your personal motivation.
Some people are driven by the need to prove themselves, some are motivated by a sense of adventure or challenge and others simply enjoy the feeling of success. Knowing what drives you will help you find a way to reach your goals.
Wishing you were rich and famous over a few drinks on a Friday night isn’t the same as being driven to put in the effort.
#2 Set Realistic Goals
Goal setting needs to be realistic and achievable, building on your current set of skills. Setting unrealistic personal goals is a surefire way to lose motivation quickly.
When you pursue goals, make sure to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are my goals specific, measurable, and time-based?
- Can I see myself achieving this goal?
- Is this specific goal relevant to me and what I want in life?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, it might be worth reconsidering your goal.
Remember – Rome wasn’t built in a day! Small steps will get you closer to your ultimate goal than giant leaps that are impossible to sustain.
#3 Don’t Rely On Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic motivation, (external motivation), is about doing something in order to achieve an external goal, such as getting external rewards or avoiding punishment.
While extrinsic motivation can work in the short term, it’s never going to be a sustainable way of staying motivated. It’s a bit like the star charts parents use with small children. Those sparkly badges don’t keep children engaged for long.
Three months down the line those external incentives intent on creating a better version of you won’t stack up against the lure of instant gratification.
It takes strong motivation to avoid the sweet fix, wasting a few hours watching Netflix or curling up snugly in bed instead of getting up for your early exercise routine.
#4 Seek Out Intrinsic Motivation
When you’re intrinsically self-motivated, you are driven by personal satisfaction – the sense of doing something because you want to do it. It’s tapping into your internal motivation, that drive to achieve. Unleash these positive attitudes and you’re more likely to keep on track and start enjoying the hard work to hit your goals.
Where extrinsic motivators are the carrot and stick approach, intrinsic motivation is the internal drive to do something because you enjoy it or it’s meaningful to you. These are powerful motivators for getting the desired result.
Sometimes it’s just your pride that hooks you into achieving. That idle boast that you can run a marathon, lose ten pounds, backpack around Nepal turns into a life-changing challenge.
This kind of self-motivation is more sustainable in the long term and can even be addictive! Once you find activities that are intrinsically motivating, you’ll want to keep doing them for their own sake.
For example, when people exercise regularly it’s because they want to do it. If you’re doing an exercise you enjoy, it helps keep motivation strong – exercising is going to be a fun part of your day. Finding the self-motivation to be fit becomes a lot easier when you find an activity you love.
#5 Find Your Why
Any personal development plan needs a good why. Why do you want to achieve this goal?
When it comes to personal motivation, your why is key. You need to be emotionally connected to your goal in order to stay the course when things get tough.
Your reason for wanting to achieve something has to be strong enough that it outweighs any short-term distractions or temptations.
Your why should be something that inspires you and makes you feel good. When your why is strong enough, it becomes a personal motivator that will keep you going when the going gets tough.
#6 Change Your Why
If your why isn’t strong enough, it’s time to change it. Maybe you’ve been chasing someone else’s dream or trying to achieve a goal that doesn’t really resonate with you.
It’s important to find goals that are meaningful and personal to you. When your why is based on what you want, rather than what others expect of you, staying motivated becomes much easier.
So take some time to reflect on what really matters to you and find a goal that ties in with your values.
#7 Boost Your Self Esteem
When you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s tough to be motivated. Low self-esteem is a common barrier to success.
You need to believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals to be successful. This is self-efficacy, a concept coined by psychologist Albert Bandura about people’s beliefs in their abilities to exercise behaviors.
Try and start small with something you think you can accomplish. When you achieve this first step, set a slightly bigger challenge, and gradually your self-efficacy and self-confidence will improve. You’ll start believing in yourself as a self-motivated person.
If you’re struggling with negative thoughts and feelings of worthlessness, try and do something that always makes you feel good.
It could be taking a walk in nature, watching an inspiring film, reading inspirational quotes, talking to a good friend – anything to boost self-motivation and stop self-sabotage.
Acknowledge that change can be tough, you’re challenging yourself to push through your comfort zone. Eventually, those negative thoughts will start to fade away and become less frequent as you make progress towards your goals.
#8 Remember The Good Times
This is one of my favorite self-motivation techniques, it draws on your own experiences. Think back to a time when you were really happy and successful. What were you doing?
When we remember good times, it helps with positive thoughts and can make us feel more motivated. It’s like a mental boost that can spur us on to achieve our goals.
The next time you’re feeling down, full of negative emotions, or lacking in motivation, take a few minutes to reflect on some of your past successes. Remember how good it felt to achieve something great? Allow those positive emotions to inspire you once again!
#9 Change Your How
One way of staying motivated is to change the way you think about your goal. Maybe you’ve been approaching it all wrong.
When we’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it’s easy to lose sight of our goals. But if we take a step back and look at things differently, we might find that our goal is more achievable than we thought.
For example, let’s say your goal is to get fit. You could start by breaking down that big goal into smaller chunks like going for a walk every day or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Suddenly, getting fit doesn’t seem so daunting after all!
Keep an open mind and be flexible with your approach – this can help with personal motivation when the going gets tough.
#10 Stay In The Present
It’s easy to get lost in daydreams about the future, but when we’re constantly living in a fantasy world, it’s tough to stay motivated.
The best way to stay focused and achieve your goals is to stay in the present moment. When you’re fully engaged in what you’re doing right now and loving life, you can’t think about anything else.
This doesn’t mean that you ignore your goal completely – just make sure that most of your focus is on what’s happening RIGHT NOW. Take small steps towards your goal and celebrate each victory along the way.
Being mindful allows us to appreciate life more and makes us less likely to get sidetracked by distractions.
#11 Find A Buddy
When you have someone to support and encourage you, it’s much easier to stay self-motivated. Find a friend or family member who shares your goals and make a pact to help each other stay on track.
This is especially helpful when you’re working towards long-term goals – you can provide motivation and support for each other when external factors try to derail your efforts. Life never goes smoothly and a family or work crisis can easily put you back at square one. Having a buddy with a positive attitude on board to boost motivation always makes sense.
#12 Set A Routine (Or Not)
When it comes to self-motivation, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. Some people work best with a strict routine while others need more flexibility.
The key is finding what works to keep you highly self-motivated, then sticking to it as much as possible. This might mean setting specific times each day for working on your goal or following a certain order when completing tasks related to your goal.
On the other hand, some people find that too much structure can actually be demotivating. If this sounds like you, try not to rigidly stick to a set plan – allow yourself some freedom and spontaneity. As long as you’re still making progress toward your goal, there’s no need to stress about minor details!
#13 Take Action
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to take action. The more you do, the more progress you’ll make and the closer you’ll get to your goal.
When we see tangible results from our efforts, it’s a great way to stay motivated. It helps us feel productive and feel like we’re moving forward.
So start taking some small steps towards your goal today – even if they’re not perfect, these minor changes will still get you closer than doing nothing at all!
#14 Impress Yourself First
It’s much easier to stay motivated when we’re trying to impress others. But what happens when you’re the only one who’s watching?
When our only critic is ourselves, it can be tough to stay on track. We tend to be much harsher with ourselves than anyone else would ever be.
One way to combat this is by setting goals that are just for you – things that nobody else will ever see. This could be something as simple as learning a new skill or completing a task in record time.
Trying to impress yourself instead of others will build your self-confidence and makes it more enjoyable to work towards your goal. As your self-confidence grows you’ll be more confident in your ability to reach your goals.
#15 Play To Your Strengths
When it comes to self-motivation, it’s important to use your strengths, and personal skills – playing to your personality traits. If you’re good at organizing, then set a goal and create a plan of action.
If you’re creative, come up with a catchy slogan or picture that represents your goal.
Everyone has different strengths and by using them to improve self-motivation, we can make the process of reaching our goals more enjoyable.
We also tend to be more successful when we do things that we’re good at instead of forcing ourselves to do something that doesn’t come naturally. So figure out what your strengths are and use them to stay motivated!
I hope these personal motivation ideas are helpful. When it comes to my own self-motivation I’m as capable as anyone of falling into the pitfalls – setting unrealistic goals and suffering the negative consequences.
I like to start my week with a positive thinking exercise:
- “How can I find motivation this week?”
- “Is my personal life getting in the way of my goals? Am I going through difficult situations, and do I need to make adjustments?”
- “Can I surround myself with supportive people this week who help me to stay positive?”
- “What can I do today that will move me closer to my goal?”
By answering these questions, and others like them, you’ll be on track to finding the motivation and the self-confidence you need for personal success.
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