After I set a goal or an intention I feel excited, inspired, and full of energy. When I am motivated I feel like I can overcome any obstacle and achieve whatever I set my mind to. It’s kind of like there is a little fire inside of me that keeps me going. But as the days and weeks go by the fire starts to fade and I desperately try to hold onto it. The self-doubt creeps in, I start getting inconsistent, procrastinate, and do things to sabotage my efforts, at which point I usually make the decision to “re-start” or give up entirely. Then I feel bad about myself for a little while until I feel motivated enough to try again. No matter what goals, habits, or routines I tried to accomplish staying motivated seemed impossible.
Using the following tips and strategies that I have learned over the last year I have been able to achieve more than I ever have. Since implementing these lessons I now have a morning routine, I exercise consistently, practice meditation daily, read 1-2 books a month, maintain good study habits in school, and have been able to start this blog.
I hope that these tips inspire you to re-think motivation and make progress with your goals too!
TIP #1: YOU DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE TO FEEL MOTIVATED ALL THE TIME
Maybe we are not meant to feel motivated all the time. Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect that we need to feel motivated to achieve our goals. Maybe motivation comes in waves and we have to learn to work with the ups and the downs.
This was a breakthrough moment for me and this simple shift in perspective has completely changed my life.
Sam Laura Brown of the Perfectionism Project podcast, discusses this a lot. She says that trying to stay motivated is actually the PROBLEM and the REASON we don’t accomplish our goals. If motivation is our “willingness to do something” then it’s UNREALISTIC to expect to feel this way all the time because there will be times we just don’t feel like it.
This makes sense because changing a habit or learning a new behaviour involves re-wiring the brain, which takes a lot of effort and focused attention. Because our brains are so resistant to change it will feel easier to fall back into our old habits. In other words, it’s pretty much inevitable that we are not going to feel like working on our goals all the time.
Once I gave up the idea that I should always feel motivated and that things should come naturally and easily all the time I started to accept my lack of motivation as part of the process.
TIP #2: MOTIVATION COMES IN WAVES
Embrace the fact that working towards your goals won’t always feel natural or effortless and that you won’t always feel working towards them.
Some days you will feel motivated and other days you won’t.
On the days you do feel motivated take advantage of it.
On the days you don’t create momentum by taking one baby step forward even if you don’t feel like it. Recognize that your in “the dip” and that if you keep putting one foot in front of the other you will eventually make progress.
Do your best to ride the waves and keep pushing forwards.
TIP #3: IT’S ALL ABOUT MOMENTUM
For me, it’s all about creating MOMENTUM through small actionable steps. I try to remember that as long as I am putting in the time and energy I am moving in the right direction and I will see results.
Taking small consistent action creates momentum and gets results. Seeing results gives me all the motivation I need to keep going.
Results take time. Results take consistent effort. Consistency is key!
Keep taking baby steps forwards and create momentum with your goals.
TIP #4: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE ALL OR NOTHING
If I mess up or fall off the wagon I keep going no matter what. I ask myself, “what is the smallest thing I can do to keep me moving in the direction of my goals?”
Don’t “re-start” or give up entirely. Keep going! It might take you twice as long but you will get there eventually. Crawl towards your goal if you have to.
My mantra is “progress not perfection”and I try to not be hard on myself if I stumble.
Give yourself permission to not be perfect. Be willing to mess up, be a beginner, and learn as you go.
TIP #5: GET DETERMINED INSTEAD
Instead of trying to feel motivated all the time, Sam Laura Brown suggests that we focus on feeling determined instead.
Motivated assumes that our goals should feel effortless and natural and that we are always going to feel like working on them.
Determined on the other hand acknowledges that we might not always feel like it and that there might be some resistance.
I think making progress with your goals has everything to do with overcoming resistance and moving forwards. If we sit around waiting to feel motivated and for things to feel easy then we will be waiting a long time.
Decide that you are going to keep moving forwards no matter what.
How do you stay motivated when it comes to your goals? Let me know in the comments below!