It’s a few weeks into the new year and some of you may be thinking you want to stop your new weight loss challenge, new exercise regimen, or new side business you launched. We have all heard “you can do anything that you put your mind to.” But what about when your mind is working against you? How do you keep going then?
We all have days when we want to drop out and move to a tropical beach. Unless you’re going to become a travel writer, that’s probably not a realistic plan. A better plan is to look at how you motivate yourself. Every one of us can persevere and not let our motivation slip away.
Here are some tips to help you be positive and constructive about the year that’s over, and carry positive behaviors into the new year.
TIP 1: Make a Schedule and Stick to It
- Staying motivated doesn’t just happen.
- We have to set our intentions and choose behaviors that will keep us on the right track.
- They provide a vital structure that will keep us going, regardless of how we’re thinking or feeling on any given day – almost automating the difficult thing we have to do today. And then tomorrow again.
TIP 2: Find and Remind Yourself about Your Whys!
- Find the value in what you’re doing, to identify why you want to keep going.
- Is it helping you to reach a larger goal, or benefiting others in some way?
- You’ll feel more invested and enthusiastic when you can see the benefits and the meaning of a task.
TIP 3: Stop Comparing Yourself with Other People
- Draw inspiration from those around you, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not on the same level in certain areas.
- If you don’t believe in your potential, then no one else will, regardless of how good you are.
- Don’t be lured by the “greener grass” over the fence.
- Remember, nobody’s life is perfect, no matter how it appears!
Believe me, I get it. This can be hard in our social media-dominated world. Just remember, people tend to post only what they want us to see – the happy stuff! We all need reminders, what you see online is only half the story. Everyone is facing their own struggles, and everyone has bad days and good days, just like you.
TIP 4: Take Care of Yourself and Think Positively
Our brains release dopamine in anticipation of a reward, and this makes us feel good. Keep track of your efforts and reward yourself along the way.
- Fill up on mood-boosting foods, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy, and lean meat. (Blueberries and pistachios are two of my favorites.)
- Do things you enjoy. Listen to inspiring music, and remind yourself of how far you’ve come. We do not do this nearly enough! Applaud who you are.
- Surround yourself with positive people who will help you to get in the zone.
- Should you fail, always look for learning opportunities instead of dwelling on the negatives.
One big “but” – some situations really are bad for you, and in these cases it’s absolutely right to stop or give up. If carrying on is making you ill or truly miserable, then it’s likely not the right path. Changing direction when this happens can be a powerful way to rediscover your “mojo.”
Top Photo of Lisa Bien, Credit: Dana Romano Photography
Lisa Bien is a motivational speaker and coach whose column appears twice a month on Woman Around Town. For more information on Lisa, go to her website.