When it comes to setting our goals and our dreams, especially around the new year, it can be easy to make lofty plans for ourselves. We want to quit a bad habit, lose weight, learn a new skill — whatever it is, it’s all part of a plan to better ourselves.
But when it comes time to execute those goals, many of us struggle to find the motivation to keep it up. According to research, while 93% of people set New Year’s resolutions, only 8% of them actually follow through and accomplish their goals. We’ve all faced the struggles of staying motivated, which is why we’ve compiled these tips on how to break out of the slump and keep grinding towards achieving your goals!
Read through each step below or jump to our infographic!
1. Start small
Whether it’s creating new goals for a New Year’s resolution or just looking to make a positive change in life, it’s easy to want to bite off more than we can chew. Start with small goals that you know you can keep and change one behavior at a time.
2. Set realistic goals
While creating your small goals, it’s also important to make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). This helps make improvements easier to monitor, and the practicality of these goals will keep you motivated to continue your progress!
3. Break down your goals into phases
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with trying to accomplish a large goal, try breaking it into smaller steps. By visualizing the end goal in multiple phases rather than one giant task, you can motivate yourself to accomplish one thing at a time.
4. Get active
In addition to helping your physique, there are many psychological benefits to exercise that can aid your motivation. Physical activity can stimulate brain chemicals that control stress, depression and anxiety — leaving you feeling more refreshed and ready to take on any challenge.
5. Reward yourself at every milestone
Who doesn’t like to treat themselves every now and then? Once you achieve a milestone or goal, reward yourself with something you enjoy. Whether it’s taking a 15-minute break or indulging in a sweet treat, a rewards system is a powerful way to keep yourself motivated.
6. Create a vision board
Vision or dream boards are a great way to create a visual representation of your goals. These inspirational images can actually help you develop an emotional connection to your goal, thus making you more motivated to achieve it.
7. Find a support system
It doesn’t matter what age you are — the buddy system is one that works! When you have a support system that inspires you and keeps you on track, you’re more likely to find the motivation to continue. You can also find others who have similar goals or resolutions and work towards them together!
8. Add mood-boosting foods to your diet
There are tons of food options that are not only good for you, but make you feel good too! Try including foods like blueberries, avocados and even dark chocolate to your diet to keep your mind sharp and stay motivated.
9. Drink more water
Now this may sound like the same advice you got from adults when you were a kid, but it’s true! Losing even a small amount of your body’s water content can result in reduced motivation and increased fatigue. By staying hydrated, you stay focused and ready to tackle any challenge.
10. Find things that inspire you
Whether it’s a playlist to pump you up on the way to the gym or daily quotes from an author or entrepreneur that you admire, these simple things can help remind you that you can achieve the goal you set out to accomplish.
11. Focus on the positive outcomes
Even with all the motivation in the world, you might experience a few setbacks on your way to achieving a new goal. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and focus on where you’ve seen the most success. Reflect on the positive outcomes, and use that as your motivation to keep going!
12. Develop a new routine
Since change doesn’t happen overnight, it’s important to come up with a new daily routine that will support your efforts towards reaching your goal. Research shows that it can take about 21 days for a new routine to become a habit, so stick with it and know that it will get easier in just a few weeks!
13. Schedule time to relax
At the beginning of your journey to bettering yourself, it’s easy to become obsessive and focus on change every moment of the day. However, taking time to relax helps our brains take a break from prolonged focus on the task at hand. Schedule 5-10 minute rests intermittently throughout the day to keep your focus sharp!
14. Embrace power-posing
Back in 2012, Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy explored the benefits of positive body language, and more specifically what she referred to as power poses. This theory states that by striking a powerful pose, people would actually feel more confident.
15. Practice self care
Self care is any action we take deliberately to help improve our mental, emotional and physical health. Whether it’s repeating a mantra, or trying out self care and wellness checklists to make an effort to take care of yourself daily, self care is a way to strengthen your desire to better yourself and stay motivated.
16. Maintain a healthy work-life balance
A solid work-life balance can provide you with a handful of benefits, including increased productivity and motivation, less stress and an overall more positive attitude. This balance will allow you to focus that new positive energy into achieving your goals.
17. Fake it until you make it
While faking your way through something doesn’t sound like the way to go, researchers have actually found that acting a certain way allows your brain to practice a new way of thinking. As the brain continues to rehearse these new actions, we actually can change our mental state. So act the way you need to get motivated, and pretty soon, you’ll feel the real motivation to keep going.
The start of the new year is the perfect time to set goals for yourself and to begin a new chapter of your life. Whether it’s changing a bad habit that you’ve been putting off for years, or setting a new aspiration that you want to reach for, these tips will help to keep you motivated for the next 365 days. While there will be days that are challenging, the most important thing is to keep trying. Start small and work your way up towards accomplishing larger goals, and you’ll find that you can take on any challenge that is facing you!