By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
When was the last time you stopped and thought about your goals—both big and small? Maybe you’re pushing yourself for a promotion at work, training for a half-marathon, or saving up for a downpayment on a house. Whatever it is you’re after, it’s awesome that you have high aspirations. Goal-setting is an important part of living a productive and happy life. That said, it’s not always easy to get going or to stay on track. Here, I’ll show you how to get motivated to achieve your goals, no matter what they are.
What is motivation, anyway? For the purpose of this article, it’s the drive that propels you toward your goals. It’s having a positive growth mindset, one that keeps you pushing your limits even when you feel like quitting. You can tap into your motivation and make amazing changes in your life with these five easy steps.
When you need to work something out for yourself, journaling is one of the most useful tools available to you. Recording your thoughts and feelings on paper can provide you with great insight into your mental and emotional state. Do you need some clarity about your dreams and ambitions? Try setting aside some time each day to write about them in a journal. You may find it helpful to use these motivational journaling prompts:
You can return to these prompts repeatedly throughout your journey. Of course, if they don’t speak to you, don’t use them. There are no rules or guidelines when it comes to journaling, so just let your mind (and pen) wander. You can try writing whatever thoughts come to mind without censoring yourself, or check out these inspiring prompts to see where they lead you.
Now it’s time to add some inspiration to your daily routine. Who or what inspires you to push your limits? If you’re a visual person, it could be as simple as an image that reminds you of what matters. In that case, maybe a photo of your favorite athlete or fitness guru is all you need to feel motivated to work out. Hang it on your fridge, stick it to your bathroom mirror, or make it your desktop wallpaper. Seeing it often will keep you in your goal-oriented mindset.
If you’re inspired more by words than by visuals, check out these fifty motivational quotes. And if there’s one you’re in love with, put it somewhere you’ll read it again and again—in your motivation journal, for example. Or you could curate a unique collection of quotes you love on Pinterest. Again, what matters here is that you revisit your inspiration on a regular basis.
Only you know what you need to stay on track. There are no wrong answers here.
Rome wasn’t built in a day—and you won’t be either. Take the time to appreciate each incremental step toward your goal and the hard work it took to get there. If you’re trying to lose fifteen pounds, for example, make a point to celebrate when you lose the first five. And don’t worry—your reward doesn’t have to be expensive or hugely indulgent. You could buy yourself something small and pleasurable, like flowers, a new book, or a cappuccino from your favorite cafe. Or you can simply celebrate your achievements in your evening journaling session. In any case, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for your progress.
In addition to rewarding yourself for your day-to-day achievements, it’s important to keep a positive attitude on less successful days. When you sleep in and skip the gym or spend money you’d planned to save, it’s easy to be too hard on yourself. But instead of asking, “Why am I so unmotivated? Why can’t I stick to my goals?” consider why you made those choices. Maybe you needed a little extra rest after several days of intense workouts. Or perhaps you felt stressed at work and did a little self-care shopping after leaving the office that evening. When you understand what drives you to make certain choices, you can forgive yourself for the ones you regret. And some healthy self-reflection can help you to avoid mistakes as you move forward.
Now that you’ve taken some steps to get motivated, it’s equally important to know how to stay motivated. Once you’ve achieved a major milestone, don’t take your foot off the gas. Let your accomplishments show you what’s next in life. If you were working for a big promotion at work, for instance, what will you do once you’ve earned it? What kinds of great things can you achieve in your new position? Or, if you’ve been training for an event like a 5K, what will you shoot for once you’ve completed one? You could work up to a 10K or add a new dimension to your fitness, like swimming or cycling. Take a minute to be proud of how far you’ve come, and then ask yourself where you’ll go from here.
Only you know for sure what makes you tick—and what makes you want to push yourself further. So do some serious self-searching, and you’ll unlock your personal drive to achieve greatness.
What are you waiting for? You’ve got this!