1. Pick ONE certain goal. Don’t try to be a Jack-of-all-the-trades, it will sap your energy trying to take on too much and accomplishing too many goals at once. It’s impossible to stay on track when you have too much on your mind, so instead, create a plan which you could follow and fulfill your goals one at a time.
2. Figure out your ‘why’ behind that goal. Although this one might seem very obvious, actually looking for reasons behind the things you want helps your brain to stay on track. For example, if you want to stick to a workout routine and get fit in the following months, try to look for your personal benefits of getting fit, e.g. looking good is one of them but it’s not the only one.
3. Get support. It’s almost always easier to accomplish something when you see someone else struggling along with you. Talk to your friends and family about it, it’s very likely that you’ll find at least one among them who’ll agree to go on the journey with you, unless the goal is super specific. For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking and everyone around you smokes as well, maybe it’ll be a good idea if you asked them to try and stop or at least to abstain from smoking in front of you so you don’t feel discouraged.
4. Track your progress. When you’re doing one and the same thing every day and you’re still very far from your goal, it’s rather hard to perceive what you’ve actually managed to do on your journey. For example, if you are trying to recover from depression, chances are that you’ll need months and even years to go back to feeling normal again. That doesn’t mean you can’t track your baby steps you’re taking every day. Thus, you could realize you’re actually improving, even if sometimes it doesn’t seem so.
5. Reward yourself. This is a very heavily debated issue, because a lot of people think we’re not dogs and we don’t need treats for something we’ve done well. However, it’s stupid to deny the fact that we’re animals and as such we too could use some positive reinforcement if that’s going to help us achieve our goals.
6. Don’t feel bad if you’re not 100% all of the time. All of us need some time to recover and relax. It’s unnecessary and even counter-productive to try and hustle all of the time. If you do that, you’re doomed to experience burnout very fast and the recovery from that might actually cause you to lose precious progress.
7. Compare yourself with yourself. There are always going to be people who are miles ahead of you. Stop looking at the way others are doing; you have zero idea how much effort they put in to have it the way they do. After all, you’re experiencing your own life, it’s best if you focus on yourself and see how you’ve improved instead of degrading yourself because you’re not doing as good as someone else.
8. Don’t be afraid of failure. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll succeed at your very first attempt. For example, if you’ve just taken up baking, maybe the first couple batches of cookies and cupcakes are going to suck and that’s totally fine. You’ll improve with practice. Just try to find the valuable lessons in each of your failures and ask yourself: ‘What can I learn from this?’.
9. Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Learn to recognize negative self-talk and don’t degrade yourself. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, „I can do this!“
10. Stick with your new routine. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can’t give up with every little bump. Stay with it for the long term, take your time and you’ll get there eventually.
by Rosana Petkova