At the beginning of each year, I see so many people making their New Year’s resolutions; determined to keep them. A big part of those people will have given up on their resolutions by March. But why does that happen?
They rely only on motivation to keep them going!
Motivation might be the thing that makes us start something new in the first place, but we all know that it’s impossible to be motivated to do everything we need to do all the time. Are you motivated to get up early and go to work every day? Probably not, but you go anyway. Are you motivated to brush your teeth every evening? Likely not, but you still get it done.
When you start something new (let’s take working out regularly as an example), the motivation will likely be there the first few times you work out, so that it will be easy for you to get it done. Then, other feelings start creeping in. You had a long day at work and just want to go home and do nothing. Your favourite TV show will be on soon, and you’d much rather watch that than be physically active. You haven’t noticed any significant physical changes from working out yet, so what’s the point of it anyway?
How you continue from there can make or break your success to stick to your resolution. If you would like it to be successful this time, keep reading.
The following three strategies will keep you going even when you’re lacking motivation.
Remember your end goal
If you decided to start taking up something new, there surely was a reason for it. Think about why you wanted to make the change you decided to make in the first place. Is there a bigger end goal you wanted to reach? Something significant you would like to achieve? Write that goal down, and write down why reaching it is important to you. Then, write down the steps you will take to make it possible for you to reach your goal. Now, every time you feel like skipping out on one of those little steps, go back to that piece of paper and have a good look at the end goal you are working towards and the reasons why you are working towards it. Seeing that in front of you in your own writing will remind you of the purpose of all the little things you are doing daily or weekly, which will make it easier for you to put up with them.
Use discipline to keep you going
Even with your end goal right in front of you in writing, it can still be easy to think “okay I’ll do it, but I’ll do it tomorrow”. If you sweet-talk yourself into procrastination like that, tomorrow can quickly turn into the day after tomorrow, and then the day after that and the day after that, which eventually turns into never. The one thing that keeps you from procrastinating is discipline. You promised yourself you would do something today, so that’s what you’ll do; whether you feel like it or not. The same discipline that you apply to going to work every day, even when you don’t feel like it, is what you’ll apply when you don’t feel like sticking with your resolutions. It might not be easy and it might not always be pleasant, but it works! You made a commitment to yourself to stick with something, so that’s what you’ll do. Start your task before you even have time to talk yourself out of it.
Build a habit
When it comes to brushing your teeth, you probably don’t do it to work towards a goal, but you do it because it’s a habit that you were taught early on and that has been a natural part of your day ever since. Turning your resolutions into habits is another method that helps you make them stick. To visualise this better, I’ll use the example of working out again. Let’s say your resolution was to work out three times a week. Start by thinking about your week and decide which three weekdays are the best to fit a workout in. Let’s say that you decided to work out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Now, you will work out consistently every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and you’ll keep doing it (using discipline and your end goal if necessary) until the workout starts to feel like a natural part of those days, so that spending those days without working out would feel strange to you. Once you’ve arrived at that point, you’ll have a much easier time keeping up with your workouts, because working out three times a week has become a habit for you; just like brushing your teeth.
Let me know if you found this useful!