We have somehow reached the end of January, the month where we all start anew, open up to new possibilities and challenge ourselves to shake up the areas of our lives we aren’t thrilled with. A new year feels like suddenly we can be transformed, awaken to that person we always knew we could be. What’s incredible though, is we can actually do that at any moment in our lives. May 23rd is just as powerful a day as January 1st and the possibilities are just as endless in the spring as they are on the cusp of a new year.
This year I set BIG goals, I’m not going to lie, I want to shift things in many areas of my life. The three big ones are money, exercise and career. I’ve had several moments over the past month where I’ve questioned my own capability of success with such big intentions but I’ve used a few strategies to help me stick with it and stay motivated. So if you set yourself some hefty goals, like I did, and you are feeling not quite as motivated or capable at the end of the January as you did at the beginning, here are 5 tips to help you stick with it.
1. Write it down
There is nothing quite as powerful or effective as putting pen to paper and writing down what you want. Give yourself time to really think about this, do not write down goals you have not mulled over and daydreamed about and felt the urgency to achieve.
This is the stage where you should grab a journal and hit your favourite coffee shop and fantasize with a delicious beverage and some sunlight streaming through the window, what do you really, really want? If your life could be shaped in any way, how would you shape it? Write down your ideas, grab some great free printables that help structure your thinking (below are my two favourite that I’ve used) and work it out on paper. Writing things out also helps to activate parts of your brain that don’t get reached when you’re typing.
2. Get clear
You can dream it but until you make a clear plan and figure out specifically what you’re after, it ain’t going to happen. You want more money, define that. “I want to be able to pay off my debt, balance my living expenses, save for the future and live now. To do that I need to make $______ per month.” You want to get fit, define it. “I am going to exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week.”
This is where you take the dreams and figure out the plan to make them real. Danielle LaPorte has an amazing book, The Desire Map, which is a fantastic jumping off point for figuring out what your goals are in relation to how you want to feel in your future life. She has lots of exercises that help you get clear on what you want and why and will keep your motivation running high.
3. Knowing the why
You want these goals, but why? This is an essential part of keeping your motivation going, if you don’t know why you want your goals, it’ll be hard to stick with it.
Using the printables above, which have great exercises to shape your thinking or find inspiration elsewhere – reading a great book on goal setting, a quick Pinterest search will reveal tons of resources for shaping your goal setting practice or just grab some paper and brainstorm what motivates you to make change in your life. Then hold onto that ‘why’ every time you feel you motivation slide because all great things are accomplished with small steps everyday.
4. Be flexible
Ever heard the expression “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”? Well it’s true. Life happens, things derail us, what matters is that we get back in it and keep chipping away at our goals and take small steps towards our goals. Don’t get hard on yourself if you take a day off or a work out felt half-assed or you didn’t accomplish as much as you wanted to. The fact that you have goals, are trying and get back at it make you successful! You will get there, be kind to yourself.
5. Reward yourself
This has got to be one of those totally overlooked KEY parts of sticking to goals. When you accomplish something, whether it be sticking to your workouts for 4 weeks or decluttering all the rooms in your house or chipping away at your side business every week for a month, you got to acknowledge your hard work.
Just know that whenever you are on your path to reaching your goal, you’re not alone. We all struggle and feel like a failure some days. The real success is in coming back to the goal, persisting and putting one foot in front of the other because no know gets big things done all at once. It’s like the joke says, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”