The Secret To Staying Motivated

Motivation is a funny thing.  You’re likely to notice it the most in January when you make resolutions and set goals as you’re determined to make this new year the best year ever.  You wake up on the 1st with a renewed lease on life, a fresh start, and with your self-confidence soaring knowing that THIS YEAR IS THE YEAR.  You hit the ground running, and for a few weeks, maybe even a few months, you’re nailing it.  You’re fired up and you’re seeing success. 
 
Until one day you wake up and you’re feeling a little less motivated and inspired. Maybe you let some of your new habits slip, just for a day or two. Then a day becomes a week, a week becomes several, and before you know it it’s December again, and you have to talk yourself back into the same new year’s goals, and how this next year is for sure your year…
 
And on and on the cycle goes. 
 
Want to know the key to staying motivated? The magic formula for reaching your goals and living your dream life? I’m about to tell you a THE secret.  Buckle up! It’s a bumpy, truthful ride.
 
The secret to staying motivated is knowing that you can NOT depend on motivation, EVER.  Reaching your goals has nothing to do with being motivated. Not really.  Sure, you start off highly motivated and inspired, but we all know that after some time, no matter if that time frame is a few days or 10 months, our motivation will lessen, our willpower will weaken, and we will start to take the lazy, easy route, even if it costs us our goal.  It’s human nature, and for whatever reason, it’s how we’re built.  Is it okay to take a little break if you’re totally burnt out? Sure, but that’s not why we’re here today. Losing motivation is the problem and we are here to talk about the solution.
 
The secret to overcoming your lack of motivation and reaching your goals can be summed up in one word:

Discipline 

 
That’s right friends, at the end of the day it is not motivation that’s going to get you to your goal. Discipline is going to get you there.
 
It’s those habits that you put into practice while you were feeling highly motivated.  The fact that you got yourself to the gym 6 days a week for 3 months is what is going to get you there on the days you wake up and don’t really feel like going. It’s the healthy eating habits and routines you’ve previously found success with that will give you the power to say no even though today you feel like eating that entire plate of brownies someone brought into work.
 
Motivation: the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way
 
Discipline: The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior
 
Which one of these words do you think has more power and longevity? Which one of these words is going to help you get to your goals?
 
No, I’m not saying that motivation is not a necessary component to wanting to reach your goals and make your dreams come true, but at the end of the day, discipline is what is going to get you there. Using the habits we have the discipline to perform day in and day out we will experience progress, and progress is what is going to fuel the motivation to keep going. Have you ever noticed that when you are seeing progress being made is when you are feeling the most motivated to create more progress? No matter what your goal is, be it a fitness and health goal, a work goal, or personal development goal, seeing progress fuels the fire to make you want more. Ultimately, the skills and habits we acquire by practicing solid discipline are going to give us the progress that is going to fuel our motivation.
 
That’s it. It’s really that simple.  At the end of the day, it has nothing to do with motivation and all, but everything to do with the discipline we developed while we were at our highest level of motivation. 
 
Now that you know that your secret behind staying motivated, you’re ready to go out and reach your goals! Best of luck!
 
 
 
Just kidding.  You didn’t think I was going to leave you high and dry, did you?
 
I’ve also put together a few tips and tricks that personally help me to stick to my habits, fuel my progress, and ultimately produce results that help me stay motivated. 
 

Tip #1: Plan Your Time

I don’t just mean have a planner with your appointments and tasks written down, but I’m talking about planning specific blocks of time.  If you know that every single day you wake up at 6 am and you have gym time blocked off from 7-8:30 then you hit your desk by 9:30, those time blocks are going to start to become routine. If you know you have to work 9-5, but you develop the habit to go workout right after work until dinner at 6:30, that’s going to get drilled into your being.  Cleaning time, gym time, work time, personal development time, and even “me” time should have blocks of allotted time that will allow you to develop a routine you can stick to. 

Tip #2: Create An Environment That Helps Your Positive Habits

It’s important to surround yourself with an environment that will automatically help you stay disciplined.  Weight loss is the easiest way to give you an example for this. If your goal is to lose weight, it’s in your best interest to meal prep so you have healthy choices at the ready when you mindlessly wander to the fridge for a snack. Put the good choices within easy reach and make it more difficult to get a hold of the cookies. Seriously, I have my husband put things like cookies up high where it would take a TON of effort on my part to get at them on my own. Extreme? Maybe, but having easy access to an apple while I’d have to climb a chair and rummage to the back of a cabinet for a cookie will pretty much guarantee I will choose the apple.  Make your environment work for you.

Tip #3: Use A Timer

 I am a huge advocate of the Pomodoro technique. This is basically setting a timer for 25 minutes, focusing on one task during that time, and then earning yourself a 5 minute break. My theory is that I can focus on any one task for 25 minutes, be it writing, editing, cleaning, or working out (although I don’t often apply this to my workouts). Knowing that after 25 minutes I can stop makes it easier for me to sit and crank out the task at hand.   I use an iOS app called BeFocused as my Pomodoro timer, but you can just use any timer and set it for 25 minutes (or whatever amount of time you choose) and then work work work until it goes off. 

Tip #4 Track Your Progress

 
Remember how I mentioned that seeing progress towards your goals is a sure fire way to feel more motivated to keep working? Keeping track of your progress is a great tool to have a visual reminder of how far you’ve come. I have several places where I track my body goals (WW app and a body measurement chart), work goals (social media stats chart), and I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to track a few personal ones. The simple act of looking at these visible proofs of progress definitely helps me stay positive and motivated to keep going and working towards my goals.

Tip #5: Reward Yourself

I am 100% a reward-driven person. If I know there is some sort of prize or treat waiting for me at the end of a goal or task, I am much more likely to get it done.  Whether it’s knowing I can go on a bit of a new wardrobe shopping spree (with hubby’s blessing) when I make it to goal weight, or knowing I have an episode of my favorite show or a bubble bath waiting for me as long as I get my to-do list done for the day, knowing I’m working toward a prize (as if reaching my goal isn’t enough of a prize…I’ll admit I’m the type that wants it all) helps me get these asap. So set rewards for yourself. Big ones and small ones.  Would you be interested in hearing more about my personal rewards system? Let me know!

Now you know the secret to staying motivated and some tips to get you headed in the right direction.  Do you have any other tips, tricks, or thoughts on motivation and discipline?

 

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