It’s all well and good to set a goal, stop procrastinating and start it, use your time effectively and harness self-control, but one of the most critical steps to making your goal a reality is to find your motivation.
Motivation can come from two places: within yourself, or from external factors. It doesn’t matter where you find it, the key is to do just that — find it.
But how? Believe it or not, finding motivation isn’t as hard as we sometimes make it out to be.
We put together a list of 9 powerful ways to find your motivation, a mix of internal and external things you can do to find the enthusiasm necessary to carry on and make that goal a reality.
It’s part of our “2021 Is My Year” series, which aims to help us shed the barriers that have held us back in the past, break down those walls and set us up for long-term success.
1) Use positive affirmations.
We’re not talking about telling yourself you’re something you’re not, but using this intrinsic tactic the right way can actually work wonders. It’s a simple action that involves acknowledging your accomplishments — however small they might be — throughout the day.
For example, say you make a choice to eat a side salad instead of fries with your sandwich at lunch. Positive affirmation involves mentally congratulating yourself for making a healthier choice. Or say you get through a whole day without snacking in between meals. Tell yourself at the end of the day that you’re proud. Acknowledge that feeling of pride and remember it for the next day.
2) Leverage family and friends.
Think about your family and friends and who of them would be most likely to be enthusiastic about a goal you set. Then, tell them about it. An encouraging attitude from loved ones who are excited for you can be infectious. When they challenge and support you, it’s a great way to find motivation to keep moving forward.
If you can’t find a friend or family member to support you, try YouTube videos or audio books instead. The key is to have an external voice pushing you to keep going.
3) Question yourself.
Knowledge and enthusiasm go hand in hand. And the key to knowledge is curiosity, something you can definitely achieve by asking questions (and lots of them.) Throughout the day, ask yourself if you made a good decision, if you could’ve made a different (or better) decision or if there’s a better way to do something.
Questions also stimulate ideas and interest. Ask yourself things like, “How can I have more fun doing this?” — or, “What do I want the outcome to be?” Just by inquiring, you might find out something about your process, your methods or even yourself that open up a new world of possibilities.
4) Find external stimulation.
If you’re having an off day, one of the best things you can do to keep moving forward is find some inspiration outside yourself. That can be something as simple as going to a museum, making a playlist of your favorite songs and jamming out to them, buying a new outfit, going on a walk, or reading a good book or news article.
Think of an activity that speaks to you and your interests — and do it. Engaging in them will help you find a continued state of enthusiasm and the contentment necessary to keep moving forward.
5) Be grateful.
Yes that’s simple, and maybe even a bit cliché, but just by being thankful for what you DO have, you’ll likely find some motivation towards getting what you don’t yet have. Feel grateful you’ve made a plan, that you’re able to take steps to achieve it, and that you have the tools necessary.
Gratefulness is a powerful emotion that creates a generally happy outlook on life. And that positive mindset is all you need to keep moving forward.
6) Yes, but…
If you’re struggling to believe that you’re capable of achieving your goals, one tactic you can try is creating a “yes, but” list. To do this, write down whatever is it you doubt (the “yes”), and then write the reason you actually can achieve it (the “but”).
Here’s an example: “YES, I have never lost 50 pounds, BUT, I am now on a program that provides me healthy, balanced meals that are controlled for calories and portion-size and take the thinking out of it.”
Or… “YES, I have diabetes, BUT, I can learn to eat healthier and am able to exercise 3-4 times a week to control it.”
By acknowledging your doubts — and the ways you can overcome them — you’ll find motivation you never knew existed.
Multitasking may seem like a great skill to have, and it can be, but it could also be holding you back. That’s because when you’re multitasking, there’s a chance you’re not focusing on the task at-hand, and therefore not giving it your full attention.
Instead, focus. When you’re doing something, even something as simple as eating a meal, give that your undivided attention. Not only will this make it more enjoyable, but it will also help you understand what you’re doing and be able to do it better the next time.
8) Make checklists.
Writing out each step you need to take to get to your ultimate goal is not only important, it’s fun. Creating a checklist that you can mark off as you go is a tangible way to see the steps you’re taking.
Each morning when you wake up, take 5 minutes to write out the things you need to do that day to take steps towards achieving your goal. Examples include:
- Eat breakfast.
- Go for a walk.
- Eat lunch.
- Read an empowering article.
- Eat dinner.
- Listen to my favorite song.
Be sure to mix in the things you have to do with things that can be inherently motivating. Check them off as you go — you may even want to save the lists and look them over at the end of the week as a way to feel proud of what you’ve accomplished.
9) Reward yourself.
The concept of rewards is something that’s been around as long as humanity itself. You work hard, you get something in return. That simple idea is a powerful way to create motivation as well.
Make a list of several things you want. At the end of a week or a couple weeks that you’ve met your goals, reward yourself with those things. Be careful not to reward yourself with things that will set you back on your goals, such as junk food when you’re trying to eat healthy. Instead, opt for things like getting yourself a massage, buying a new handbag or going on a special outing.
Achieving a goal means you have to take steps to do that. And taking those steps means you need to be motivated. Applying these 9 powerful ways to find your motivation will keep you going.
What are some ways you find motivation? Share in the comments below!
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.