We’ve all been there. It’s the first week of a new year, and we’re super motivated for all those BIG changes we’re going to make. It’s not easy to ignore the promise of new year, new you. I mean, it’s pretty exciting to think about our upcoming metamorphosis.
But don’t misjudge excitement for motivation.
While feelings of excitement inevitably dwindle, motivation is what keeps us going. So the best thing to do is to figure out how to keep that self-motivation alive and strong this year.
Not sure how? Here are 5 ways to stay motivated so you can keep your 2018 resolutions:
1. Go public with your resolution, then surround yourself with support.
When it comes to goal setting, social media can be your collective best friend. Statistics show that if you have a hive mind or involve a like-minded community (or a team) in reaching your goal, your motivation is augmented from that external source. Plus, having a group of people to hold you accountable and cheer you along is one of the best ways to stay interested and even push yourself more.
2. Anticipate snags and forgive any fails.
We all have days when we let our excuses get the better of us. But what if you proactively prepared for those times when your motivation is at a minimum? If you tend to let the weather dictate your exercise routine or your stress affect your eating habits, have a Plan B ready well in advance. For example, download a wicked workout app (some suggestions here and here) for when you don’t want to leave the house. Or stock your kitchen with a wide variety of healthy snacks during times of high stress. And don’t forget: You’re only human. There will be days when you slip up. Forgive, forget, and move on. You aren’t derailed—just delayed.
3. Fake it ‘til you make it.
Did you know that, when it comes to goal setting, believing in yourself is often more important than actual talent? So if you’re confident that you have what it takes to make your New Year’s resolution come true, the likelihood is that you’ll accomplish your goal sooner than your friends with mad skills who are really hard on themselves. (Perfectionists, we’re talking to you!) Just keep telling yourself that you are capable—and believe in yourself when you say it—and, chances are, you will reach that goal. Try coming up with an encouraging mantra and sayingit in front of the mirror each morning, or turning your most-used password into a phrase that gives you a confidence boost… and you can take advantage of a little thing called perceived self-efficacy. It just might be the simplest way to stay motivated. Ever.
4. Break your resolution up into smaller, attainable goals.
If your New Year’s resolution is lofty and unattainable (“I’m going to write and publish a novel.”) or imprecise and vague (“I want to eat better.”), you’re setting yourself up to fail. The key to success is creating a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound—and then work towards it little by little every day. So rather than resolving to lose weight (vague), set a weekly goal of, just say, 1 pound per week and then come up with specific actions you can take each day to get there. Whether that be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cutting out that sugary afternoon snack, or suggesting walking meetings at work, being clear on what you need to do each day will keep you motivated, simply because it’s… simpler!
5. Prioritize and track your progress.
Life is hectic. It’s easy to find a million and one excuses not to put ourselves first. By the time we’ve met those work deadlines, made dinner, washed the dishes, caught up with old friends, and put the kids to bed, it’s hard to find the energy or motivation to do something that is solely for our own good. But this is why you need to make yourself (and your resolution) a priority. Grab a pen and paper and write your commitment down. Track your progress to that goal because when you can SEE your progress that lights up a part of our brains wired to keep us motivated.
Many of us put a lot of thought (and heart) into making our New Year’s resolutions. And then we beat ourselves up when life gets in the way… and we don’t reach the goals we had set. So let’s put a dent in our resolutions this 2018! If you focus on motivating yourself, it will be that much simpler to stick to (and reach) your goals this year.