Staying motivated is something we all struggle with from time to time. You decide to begin an exercise routine to lose weight but within a week you've fallen off the wagon. You renege on a commitment at work, in your church or community because of a lack of motivation. Lack of motivation can cause you to fail in school, get your business off the ground, save for that dream house... and the list goes on. How do you stay motivated when you have a goal that you want to achieve?
Ultimately, motivation comes from within. I don't care how many self-help books you read or motivational speeches you listen to, they can inspire you to began the race but not necessarily maintain that motivation to the finish line. However, there are some things that you can do that will help to stimulate your motivation to keep moving forward to achieving your desired result. Here are just four:
Be consistent. Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar was quoted as saying, "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing--that's why we recommend it daily." When you set a goal, it has to be a priority. Anytime you commit yourself to something for twenty one days, it usually becomes a habit.
Each year I begin with a spiritual exercise that sets the tone for the entire year. I go on a 21-day fast with a diet that consists of fruit, vegetables and water... no bread, sweets, snacks, meat or dairy. Once I make it past the first three days of temptations, I'm home free! The key to sustaining the fast is establishing a meal plan that is either prepared in advance of readily accessible. Consequently, when the urge to eat comes, I have a replacement for those chicken wings or cookies.
Once you form a habit it becomes a routine that is not casually broken. If you can stay focused and committed for three weeks, your chances of succeeding greatly increases.
Be accountable to someone. You need someone supportive with whom you can check in on a regular basis, bounce off your ideas and get constructive feedback and encouragement.
This step was critical for me when I begin my business at the onset of the 2008 stock market crash and subsequent recession. I was fortunate enough to forge a close relationship with a fellow struggling business owner who had just opened a healthy-eating restaurant. Neither of us saw this tidal wave coming! We leaned on each other for support and encouragement to not give up. We became each others accountability party.
Once you announce to someone what you're going to do, you're more likely to stick with it because you know that person is going to hold you accountable. Where there is no transparency, there's no accountability.
Surround yourself with other like-minded people who share the same goals. If you're trying to lose weight, team up with other people who are committed to the same thing; the same with growing a business or aspiring to a higher place. You can draw strength and motivation from each other.
Social and professional connections have been pivot to the growth of my businesses. I connect with other women's groups on a regular. It helps me to keep things in perspective when I get to experience other women who share my same concerns and issues.
It easier to stay motivated when you can connect with others who have shared commonalities. What may be a drudgery to do alone, can actually be inspiring when done with companions.
Focus on the outcome. Demonstrate how bad you want it. Push past the momentary struggle by focusing on the reward that awaits you. Keep your focus on the other side of your challenges. Imagine the sense of meaning and fulfillment in the end.
When I set a monumental goal, I always create a vision board that I can view on a daily basis. You'd be surprised at the power of visualization. What I see on a regular basis become an ingrained belief. What I believe is what I will eventually achieve.
Visualize yourself in the place you want to be or doing what you want to do. This will serve as a constant reminder that the process you're going through is only temporary. The best is yet to come.
While you may know that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is to stay motivated, it's up to you to put into practice the necessary stimuli to sustain that motivation in order to achieve your desired outcome.
Don't forget to reward yourself at specific milestones along the way!