How to boost your motivation and keep going when the going gets tough
Whether you’ve made a New Year’s resolution or you made the commitment to change something in 2018 there are things you can do to set yourself up for success. If you’ve fallen off the horse already don’t panic - the same strategies apply to help you get back on it.
Reconnect with the why and not just the what
When we set a goal we often focus on the means of getting there rather than what we really want. People often say that they want to lose weight, they want to go to the gym, give up chocolate, do weight watchers, but all these things are just a means to get to their end goal. Also, by focusing on the stuff you’re giving up or having to do, you’re focusing on deficits, sacrifices and the tough stuff rather than what you’ll gain. This is a very effective way to encourage your mind to reject the change you’re making.
Here are some simple steps to get your mind working for you and not against you.
Step 1: Explore the reasons why you did what you did before (the thing you want to change).
It’s important to understand the reason why you’ve done what you’ve done in the past. What are you getting out of it?
If you’re looking to lose weight you would ask yourself why you eat the things you eat? What does food mean to you and do for you? There’s usually a positive intention in there somewhere, beyond just the enjoyment of food and fuel. For example, the weekend wine and chips might give you a feeling of freedom, relaxation or fun, or you might feel connectedness if there’s a social aspect to food. Perhaps it’s tied to nurturing and providing for your family. If your goal is to change jobs what are the benefits of staying where you are? What are you getting out of your current position? Why haven’t you left before? Perhaps the job gives you a sense of security, identity or routine? Perhaps there’s a strong social aspect that you don’t want to give up.
These things tend to be tied to our values and what drives us in life and they’re pretty strong reasons to keep the status quo. It’s important to understand what’s important to you, your needs and what drives your behaviour so you can address them.
You now need a really powerful, irresistible reason to change and this is why we move onto step 2…
Step 2: What do you want to do now and why?
This is all about focusing your mind on where you want to go rather than how you get there. It’s not about losing the 10lbs, getting a new job or making more money it’s about what achieving these things will give you - the real why. What is the reason for doing this thing?
Ask yourself the following:
Why do you want to do this?
What difference will it make to you/your life?
How will you feel when you reach your goal?
Here’s an example of some answers based on someone who wants to lose weight and get fit:
I want to feel and look good when I go on holiday. I want to be able to wear my skinny jeans again. I will throw my clothes on and go! I will feel lighter in my body, carefree and happy. I will feel like doing the things I used to do. I will feel like I’m walking on air! I will be more confident and enthusiastic about going out and enjoying my life.
Once you’ve done this exercise you can focus your mind on the reason why you’re changing rather than what you have to lose, give up and do to achieve it. You can give your brain a clear direction and point it where you want to go!
Step 3: Connect what you’re doing, your new behaviours, with how you will feel when you’ve achieved that goal.
When you get up in the morning set your intention - remind yourself of the reason you want to change. You might like to post something that reminds you of the ‘why’ around your home, your office, on your laptop and your phone. Perhaps a phrase, quote or photo that will help you stay on track. Do whatever it takes to reconnect with that end goal and how you will feel when you get it.
Do this 2 minute motivation boosting routine every day (preferably first thing) and notice the difference it makes to your progress:
Think of the thing you want to change or achieve - now close your eyes and imagine what it will be like when you’ve achieved it. You can imagine that right? What’s that like? Where in your body are you feeling that? Spend a minute or two really tuning into your thoughts and feelings - this experience. When you’re done you can open your eyes and get cracking.
If you have a bad day, you’ve stuffed up or you feel like giving up then get back to connecting with the why and get back on that horse.
If you’re ready to change things up then get in touch to find out how I can help.