Whether for school, work, or personal goals, it can be easy to lose our motivation and procrastinate. Here are 8 steps to stay motivated and help you achieve academic, professional, and personal goals.
1. Set CLEAR goals and rewards
Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve? Before starting anything else, set a clear goal for yourself. Have a reason to stay motivated.
Examples are: “I will lose 10lbs”, “I will get an A on English class”, “I will read all Harry Potter books in English by the end of this year” and “I will cook all 3 meals for a week.”
You can also add the duration of time you want to achieve your goals in, if you want to stay fully committed.
When you set your goal(s), make sure that you set your rewards for achieving them. Do you want to travel? Do you want to have a fancy dinner? Do you want a new game?
Come up with rewards that make you happy and feel accomplished. You can also come up with them as you pursue your goals.
Now that you have your goal, let’s “chunk” it. Let’s break down your goal into smaller pieces.
For example, if your goal is “to lose 10lbs,” you can set your daily projects like this:
– Follow one workout video on youtube per week
– Drink 2L of water every day
– Eat more vegetables and protein (e.g. eggs, nuts, meat, beans)
– Cut carbs and sugar from your diet (e.g. rice, bread, candies, cakes)
– Drink less coffee and alcohol.
– Order food once every 2 weeks instead of once a week
– Go for a walk or run for 30 minutes twice a week
– Do 10 sit-ups and 10 squats every other day
When you make these lists, make sure that they are realistic and easy enough for you to follow. For example, instead of saying “I won’t eat anything for 2 days in a row,” say “I will stop eating at 6pm for 2 days.”
Setting a reminder or alarm on your phone can help you remember your daily projects.
3. Make your projects fun and exciting
Having fun is the key to keep yourself going! Wear your favourite workout clothes. Get new stationery. Try new recipes… As we will discuss later, something new and different can fuel your motivation.
4. Be kind to yourself
If you can’t work out one day, allow yourself to have a day off. You may get sick. Take care of your own body and mind first.
Try accommodating to changes along the way instead of giving up. You did not fail your entire project because you missed one task. You can do two tasks in a day if you missed one day.
Oftentimes your goals seem impossible to accomplish in a shorter period of time. Be lenient with your time limit. You may not be able to lose 10lbs in 2 weeks, but the fact that you have lost some weight is more important.
It’s important that you stay committed to your goals. If you feel stuck in the process, remember to stay uplifted by giving yourself small treats along the way.
5. Switch things around
When you are doing the same things for days, you may get tired of your routine. You may feel bored. When you notice that you need new challenges, get out of your comfort zone and try something completely different. Different locations and views can also give you fresh inspiration.
Here are some ideas to switch things around:
– Wake up earlier and do your activity first thing in the morning. Have your breakfast and/or morning coffee (tea) and finish your activity right away! Working out in the morning is particularly good for your health and mood. Getting up nice and early will fuel your energy.
– Come up with different routes. Instead of going to your usual bus stop, try walking to the next bus stop.
– Change your daily routine. Instead of going for a run every Thursday, do yoga on Thursday and go for a run on Friday this week.
– Change the location. Study or read at a café instead of in a library or in your room.
Also, remember to upgrade your small “chunked” projects we discussed above along the way. Your body may be used to running 1 mile after doing so for 2 weeks every day. Try running for 1.5 miles one day to see how you like it. If you can study for 30 minutes every single day, try studying for 45 minutes straight. If you succeeded in stopping to eat after 6 for 2 days in a row, try the same thing for one week.
6. Have family and friends motivate you
Making yourself accountable to your family and friends can motivate you to reach your goals better. They can push you further as well.
Even if your friends are not interested in losing weight in 2 weeks like you, they may have different projects like finishing a novel in 2 weeks or learning a new dance move. Share your goals and tell your progresses and daily goals to each other. Push and motivate each other to accomplish your own goals.
7. Look for inspirations outside your circle
Whether it’s music, photos or quotes, have something to boost your energy. Listen to some upbeat music when you feel down. Read a book that once changed your life.
If you can’t find the support you need among your friends, look for some motivation online. There are many Facebook and meet-up groups for those who have similar hobbies or goals. Join a book club. Join a month-long fitness challenge by your favourite youtuber.
8. Reward yourself
Congratulations! When you accomplish your goals, remember to celebrate!
Enjoy your rewards, rest, and start over with a new goal! Life is filled with constant challenges and opportunities.
Reys, G. (2020, June 26). How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/how-to-stay-motivated.html
Wignall, N. (2019, July 9). 10 Psychological Tricks to Stay Motivated and Stick with Your Goals. https://nickwignall.com/stay-motivated/