Updated: Mar 2
Let’s be honest… staying consistent with things can be really hard. There are plenty of things that we can be “motivated” by, but how many of those things do we really stick with on a consistent basis once the “honeymoon” phase of it is over? All of the well intentioned people who join the gyms in January, only to stop going by March. Or from a business perspective, you are excited to start and run a business, but all of the things you need to do on a consistent basis can easily become overwhelming. Chances are, you can think of plenty of situations where people (ourselves included) went into something new and exciting; only to lose the motivation and stop before reaching their full potential.
So the question now becomes: How do you keep the motivation so that you can achieve the desired outcome?
They say that doing something for 21+ days consistently will make it become a habit. However, I call BS on this theory and here’s why:
As a Spiritual Advisor and a Certified Life Coach, I’ve worked with clients from all different walks of life. These people (myself included) can tell you from experience, that we have tried things for over 21 days and still lost the motivation to keep going at some point. This is because we were missing the key points of consistency needed, long after the 21 days are over. Implementing actual tools of keeping motivation going beyond the honeymoon phase, is high on the priority list for the majority of my clients. Here are my Top 10 tools you can implement into your life so that you can achieve the goals you set out to accomplish; even when your motivation feels like it ran out.
1. Team Up With Someone Who Will Hold You Accountable
When we set out to do things on our own, sometimes we lack the self-discipline needed to continue our plan once the honeymoon phase is over. We call it a honeymoon phase because in the beginning it is new and exciting and you have the energy needed to put into achieving the goal. After a period of time though, even the best of intentions can start to feel overwhelming and unmotivating. Simply talking with a trustworthy person about the progress of your goal, can provide a huge help to get you through the unmotivated days. This person should be able to hold you accountable in a supportive and motivating way*. It is okay to adjust your goal if needed, but having someone who is cheering you on to reach the end can loan you the motivation needed to continue on.
(*This is a great example of what a coach can do for you, in the event that you don’t have someone else in your life who can support you with the accountability that you need.)
2. Get Clear on Your Goal
A general initial goal is a good start, but it's also easy to get lost in, unless you become really clear on what you are trying to achieve. From a weight loss perspective, saying that you want to “lose weight” is a great start, but our weight fluctuates on a daily basis depending on many factors. While the goal of “losing weight” is a good start, is not an ideal long term goal. “I want to lose 20 lbs” is a much better goal because now we have a definitive number we are looking for. We can do things on a daily basis that will align us with reaching that goal. It is also something that can be tracked and analyzed to see what is working to help you get closer to that goal and what is not.
From a business perspective, a person may say that their goal is to be financially independent; which again, is a good start. What makes that goal better and more attainable is defining your version of “financially independent”. This is because somewhere a person wishes that they were making what you are currently making. That wage could be what they see as being financially independent, whereas for you and your lifestyle, that amount isn’t ideal for you.
No matter what type of goal you are looking to achieve, if you become very clear on the outcome you desire, you can start taking the actions aligned with the outcome.
3. Change Your Routine
Just a slight variation can take you to a new level and renew your motivation. Is a morning workout not getting you out of bed?: Switch to an evening workout to see if that helps. Having trouble being consistent in your business?: Switch things up to make it easier for you. Try adding a short motivational video to your playlist during your commute. If you work from home, start your day with a 5-minute motivational video or even some simple stretches to get your day going in a different, more motivating way.
4. Track Your Progress
I will be the first to admit that numbers are not always fun. No matter the goal, numbers will always play a part in it. Making working with the numbers fun and achievable (more on this next) can really help keep your motivation going. If you are a visual person, try adding colors to your spreadsheets. You can also print things on visually appealing paper to make the numbers of life look happier and brighter.
5. Set Smaller, Achievable Goals
When you are starting at zero, or close to it, hitting the larger end goal can start to feel overwhelming and unachievable very quickly. Learning to chunk things down into smaller, bite sized pieces helps you to see the progression and feel accomplished. Reaching the smaller goals leading up to your end goal, will reinforce the motivation and consistency needed to keep going.
6. Schedule Things In
Having the intention to get something done and actually doing it are two very different things. For some people, having the knowledge that something needs to get done is enough to do it. For others, its not that easy. You know if you intend to go to the gym, but get busy with other things, that time can get away from you. At some point you are likely to push it off “until tomorrow”. While plans change, and it's good to be flexible, it can be very helpful to schedule things in the same way you schedule doctors appointments. This schedule will trigger your brain into being aware of what time it is. If you know you have the gym scheduled at 6pm, then at 5pm, your brain (and maybe an alarm on your phone) is going to tell you to start getting ready to head to the gym. In business, if you need to work on something, add it into your schedule so you know what you are supposed to be working on during that time.
7. Unplug / Or Silent Your Notifications
Distractions are a huge problem for a lot of people in today’s society. It is easy to unlock your phone, intending to look up something, only to get pulled away for 20+ minutes because of a social media notification. During the time you set aside to work on your goal, it is best to remove all potential distractions. If you have the ability to leave your phone in another room, do so. If not, then turn off all unnecessary notifications for the allotted time period. Taking these actions will help to keep you focused and assist you in making progress on your goals.
8. Take Action
One of the worst things people can do is to find things they think they need to do in preparation for a goal, instead of actually working on the goal. Looking at it from the perspective of someone whose goal was to run a 5K: first they research a new pair of running shoes or clothing. Then they go out and buy them. They get stuck in the preparation mode, and put off taking the actions that are going to help them achieve the 5K which is actually running! One perspective that I constantly remind myself and my clients of is that other people have done a lot more with a lot less. Who cares if the shoes you start working out in are not brand new and ideal for what you're looking to do. You can always upgrade them later. Having the basics of what you need to achieve the goal is important. However, don’t allow yourself to spend so much time in the planning/preparation stages that you neglect doing the things that will actually help you reach your goals.
9. Go Easy on Yourself
Stuff happens – unexpected things come up that force you to change your plans sometimes. Just because things change, doesn't mean your goals or your plans have to. Take a fews days off if you need to, but then get back out there and take action again. One off day, or a few, won't set you back nearly as far as stopping altogether and having to restart. Rest is important, and at times the universe may force you to stop, slow down, or readjust your plan if you are headed in an unhealthy direction. Everything in moderation, work included. Just like a car, you won’t get far if you are running on empty. Take the time you need to regroup (refill) in order to keep going without burning yourself out.
10. Know your WHY
One of the most important keys to keeping your motivation going, is to get clear on why you started. This is where vision boards can be very helpful for some people. Having a daily visual reminder of why you are doing something can help to keep you consistent, even when your motivation is lacking. Looking at a photo of something that inspires you, helps you to be more mindful of the actions that are aligned with your goals. Having some type of saying or mantra next to the photo adds to the reinforcement of motivation for your mind. These sayings/mantras are best when used in the present tense, but they also need to be statements that you resonate with.
If your goal again is to be financially independent, a mantra such as “I am wealthy” might set off your BS meter if you don’t currently “feel” wealthy. A more useful mantra for this could be: “My actions are aligning with my financial goals”. Seeing and repeating this type of mantra daily, will help to make the choices aligned with your financial goals. For weight loss, the mantra “I am healthy” might set off a person's BS meter if they don’t “feel” healthy. A more useful mantra for this could be: “I am making healthier choices whenever I can”. Eventually once you’ve become accustomed to this mantra, you will start asking yourself if certain choices align with that statement or not. If they don’t, you can look for alternatives that do.
Like most things, results take time and may not be achieved on the first try. It is also important to keep in mind that not everything that works for you will work for someone else; including the future you. By going back and adjusting as needed, you will be able to see the progress you have made and what necessary changes are needed to meet your end goal.
All of the things described in this article and more, are things that a coach can help you to work on and implement in your own life. If you are interested in working with me or seeing if I can help you to achieve your goals, I invite you to book a free, no-obligation Discovery Call with me. During this call we will introduce ourselves and establish the goals that you are looking to achieve. If we are a good client/coach fit I will invite you to book additional sessions. If we are not a good fit, I can do my best to refer you to someone who might be a better fit for your long-term goals.
I wish you all the best on your journey!