Let’s face it, learning how to change is not easy.
Stepping out of our comfort zone and doing something that we’re not used to doing feels foreign to us.
Change is uncomfortable, and we oftentimes revert back to what we know, rather than implementing new habits that could be beneficial for us. However, there are things that we can do that can make change easier, based on the research of motivation.
Here are 10 tips to help you find the motivation to change and accomplish your goals.
1. Schedule a time to complete the activity.
Pick a time every day when you will block out your calendar to work on the activity.
For example, if you’re working on a daily meditation practice, start with 10 to 15 minutes first thing in the morning.
Want to jog three days a week? Schedule a time right after work or over the lunch hour. Pick a time when you are most likely to be successful.
Write it down in your calendar and work on it as you would an important work assignment. Make sure the time is non-negotiable.
2. Sign a contract and commit to completing your goal.
There is power in the pen! And handwriting your goals is more powerful and effective than typing them.
Writing something down and seeing it in black and white can help you stay committed and stick to your goal.
Writing down our goals clearly and with as much detail as possible increases our success by as much as 42 percent! That’s a pretty big boost and an easy step we all can take.
3. Reward yourself.
We’re all motivated by positive reinforcement, so giving yourself a reward right after trying something new (like going to the gym) can help reinforce the behavior.
It can be as simple as buying yourself a latte after the completing the task or activity. Your brain will start to connect the positive reward with the activity, further reinforcing the change.
4. Celebrate progress every day.
It’s easy to just see success in terms of completion of the goal. However, you’re more likely to stay motivated if you can see the progress you make every day.
Focus on what you’re doing right, such as blocking out the time to do the activity or learning about the benefits of exercise.
Changes start with small steps.
5. Set your intention every day.
At the beginning of each day, set your intention of what you would like to accomplish that day. It doesn’t have to be that long and detailed, just focus on what you would like to focus on that day.
A simple phrase or mantra can also be effective: “I seek peace and contentment today,” or “I’m going to focus on what is going well today.”
6. Set a clear goal for yourself.
Again, keep it simple, but make sure you’ve identified clearly what you want to accomplish.
For example, maybe you’d like to exercise three times a week for a half-hour each session, for a month. You may need to set smaller goals to achieve this, such as finding out the schedule of classes or coordinating walking with a friend.
7. Tracking your progress.
Keep an activity log to write down when you have worked on the activity. A simple chart with the date, time, and activity you worked on will do.
This will also allow you to look back and see how much you have accomplished. Celebrate your activity by tracking it on a calendar with a checkmark, sticker, or an “X.”
8. Channel your heroes.
Looking for inspirational people who have overcome adversity or achieved their goals can keep us motivated. Every day, ask yourself how they would respond when feeling a lack of motivation.
Keep a picture of them on your refrigerator. Create a vision board with their quotes. You can include other inspirational quotes to lift you up when you’re feeling uninspired.
9. Prioritize and complete your activity earlier in the day.
We’re more likely to be tired and worn down by the end of the day, and less likely to have the willpower to complete our goals.
Prioritize your activity earlier in the day, before you’re inundated with other choices and potential distractions that can take away from your goal.
10. Exercise self-compassion and kindness.
It’s not easy to change, and being too rigid or hard on yourself is a sure way to discourage any positive progress toward your goal. Having an all-or-nothing approach or being self-critical will only result in your giving up sooner and reverting back to old habits.
Remember that setbacks are inevitable, and we all will have some good days and bad days. Self-compassion helps us remain encouraged and less concerned with setbacks.
Everyone has setbacks along the way, and often the journey and process are as important as the end result.
Yes, change can require some work and discipline. But the rewards of achieving your goal and learning a new healthy habit far outweigh the comfort of staying in the same routine.
Printing this checklist, placing it somewhere visible in your house, and creating an inspiration board will help keep you motivated and moving towards your goal.
Things can get better. Taking small steps every day will help you achieve your goals.
You can do this! You got this!
Monica Ramunda, MA, LPC, LCMHC, RPT-S is a licensed counselor in both Colorado and North Carolina and a Registered Play Therapist supervisor. She offers teletherapy and in-person sessions for clients. Monica helps clients reach their full potential and become the best version of themselves.