With a new year comes the feeling of a fresh start — the perfect time to hit the reset button. A beacon of hope following a long year and a perhaps indulgent holiday season. But sustaining your motivation throughout the entire year to achieve your goals can be a challenge in itself. In fact, there’s even a national holiday for when most people give up on their resolutions; National Quitter’s Day usually falls around the second week of January.
Research conducted at the University of Scranton showed that about 92% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail to achieve them. If this hits close to home, it’s time to take a different approach to make positive changes in 2023.
Leverage an accountability system.
When you set up a system of accountability to help you achieve your goals, everything changes. Holding yourself accountable is a major key to actually achieving them.
Some people are good at holding themselves accountable. They find their motivation within and don’t usually need outside forces to motivate them. Some people need to be held accountable by someone else, whether that other person participates alongside or not. Some need a partner working alongside you to feel motivated and maintain that energy to achieve a goal. If you’re looking to change your habits, health, body, relationship or your finances, identifying the right commitment system can help you keep moving forward toward reaching your goals.
Have a goal and then outline specific action steps.
Consider all the little things that you need to do to set yourself up to be successful. For example, if your goal is to get to the gym 3 times a week, then you may need to join said gym, schedule it in your daily calendar, make a plan for what you want to do when you get there, pack workout clothes and a lock, get new shoes, etc. Setting up a “system” by which we can achieve our goals will make the likelihood of success increase exponentially. Having a specific roadmap to lead you to success will only help to keep you motivated.
Put perfectionist tendencies on a shelf and keep them there.
Perfectionism can be detrimental to motivation. This can look like: waiting for circumstances to be just right before starting, overthinking to the point of anxiousness, or never starting out of fear of something not being immediately perfect. To keep motivation up for an entire year, there has to be an acceptance of our human imperfections. Ask yourself what is more important: perfection or progress?
Be kind to yourself. I repeat, BE KIND TO YOURSELF. How we talk to ourselves has a major impact on our motivation. If someone was consistently sending you the message that you aren’t good enough or you don’t deserve something, you’ll start to truly believe it at some point. Chances are that it’s also going to tank your motivation. Don’t let your inner self-dialogue be a hindrance to achieving your goals. Accept yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, give yourself grace and love. Support your passions just as you would support a good friend’s. Be kind to yourself.
Consistency over intensity.
You start off January going hard and then something happens to throw off your routine and you start to lose steam. Maybe it’s a tough or busy few weeks at work and you don’t seem to have the same time you did before, so you just stop because you can’t go as intensely.
One way to avoid getting off track is to focus on consistency instead of intensity. Anticipate change. Stick with something consistently regardless of the time you may have at the moment. For example, you went all in on healthy eating in January. You were grocery shopping and cooking most meals every week, but then something changed to throw you off. Instead of going back to takeout every night, shop for healthy convenience meals, explore new, BFY takeout options, or try batch cooking so you aren’t cooking every day. Find small ways to keep the habit going when you experience changes. When plans get thrown off, adapt and keep going.
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