It’s amazing how simple staying motivated to reach health goals can seem when you first set a New Year’s resolution. In early January, we feel focused and driven to start this year off great. This will be the year when we get the job done. Then, before the first month is done, let alone the start of spring, all that drive seems to have faded away. What happens there?
Staying Motivated is Easy at the Start
Staying motivated is pretty simple at the beginning of an effort to reach a goal. Everything feels new and exciting and that novelty and drive to reach your goal makes you think that you might reach your target earlier than expected. It is utterly and completely convincing. This will be it. This time, it will work. Then life happens.
New Year’s Resolutions Are Based on Best-Case Scenarios
When we set a New Year’s resolution, we aren’t doing so with the same mindset that we’d have at any other point in the year. We’ve just come out of the holidays when all our nutrition rules, workout habits and healthy lifestyle routines have been trashed for over a month. Then, we burst into a fresh year brimming with all our hopes for the future. This distorts our perspective ever-so slightly.
When we imagine achieving our goal and staying motivated the entire time, it feels like we can’t lose. Of course, we’ll remain driven the whole time! The goal is right there in front of us and will change everything when we attain it!
Then, as the days pass, and we face the changes and challenges associated with attaining that goal day in and day out, the drive fades. It becomes harder to visualize where we’re headed. The everyday habits for getting there feel like a drag, not a positive step on the right track. Staying motivated gets very hard when simply slipping back into old habits is so easy and comfortable.
Is Staying Motivated Possible Over the Long Term?
Staying motivated is definitely possible over the long term. However, it will take the right steps to achieve. Keeping yourself driven will involve staying organized, having a plan, and then building natural habits into your life. That way, the longer you keep them up, they’ll become easier to do instead of harder. When you focus on building habits instead of just achieving goals, you’ll set yourself up to keep up many of the steps to achieving your goal without even having to think about them. They’ll just be what you do every day, like brushing your teeth.
Therefore, as you create your New Year’s resolution this time, instead of only imagining how great everything will be, add a few other layers to your strategy. Make one of those layers a plan for when you become demoralized and tired of trying to keep up all these new challenging habits. When you plan for the hard times, not just the easy ones, you’ll be able to pivot quickly to keep up your progress without losing ground.
You’ll be ready to cope, to rebuild, and to return to staying motivated once again, because you’ll expect it as part of the path to getting to your goal. You won’t feel bad about it, you’ll just think of it as arriving at the next step along the way. From there, you’ll overcome it and will continue moving forward once again.
Ready to learn more about how to make this year your best one yet? We’ve created an entire series to help you set and reach your goals in a practical and realistic way. Read the SHAREFIT Guide to a Healthier You in the New Year…Consistency.