7 tips for making motivation last
Motivation has a way of disappearing. A new year rolls around, we get pumped up and excited, and then suddenly a week goes by and our motivation has gone out the window.
And it’s no surprise why—making a change is hard. Saying you want to exercise more is simple, but actually making it happen can be terribly difficult, draining your motivation fast.
So, we thought we’d put together some quick tips to help you stay motivated to move.
1. Stick to the basics.
There is so much information out there on motivation and strategies for making change that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Instead of drowning in info, stick to the basics. Eat well, get 7.5 to 8 hours of good quality sleep each night, and drink plenty of water during the day. Keeping it simple helps you stay focused on the things that matter. When you’re hydrated, well rested, and full of nutritious food, you’ll be more likely to feel motivated to move.
2. Focus on consistency over intensity.
It’s easy to go too hard and too fast out of the gate. We think big changes require big actions. But the truth is that consistency matters far more than intensity. Start small and focus on doing something each day. Change happens slowly and steadily, not overnight. Once you get the hang of consistent action, then you can start upping the intensity.
3. Don’t take an all-or-nothing approach.
We’re often quick to judge our goals on a pass/fail basis. Either we did it or we didn’t. Combine this with a lofty New Year’s resolution and you have a recipe for failure.
Instead, make progress your measuring stick. Are you getting better? Are you taking actions toward your goals? Are you headed in the right direction?
Don’t get down on yourself if you’ve missed a day or already faced a challenge. Just keep moving forward. The year is long, you’ll go far if you remember something is better than nothing.
4. Remind yourself what’s at stake.
Sometimes we are motivated to take action not by what we’ll get if we do, but by what will happen if we don’t. We drag ourselves out of bed and to work each morning because if we don’t, there will be consequences.
The same is true of moving more. It may sound a tad morbid, but it’s important to remind yourself what will happen if you don’t make movement a regular part of your day. What will happen to your health and to your happiness?
Your primary motivation should never be fear, of course, but keeping the consequences of inaction in mind can certainly help push you forward.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Social media has made it easier than ever before to compare. It’s extremely tempting and hard to resist comparing where we’re at with others. But it can also be super deflating.
Instead, try to focus on yourself, on your goals and your priorities. Remember that we’re all on different paths and trying to compare them isn’t fair to you, helpful for making progress, or a good way to stay motivated.
6. Start with the smallest possible thing.
You don’t need motivation to brush your teeth or tie your shoes. You just do it. Tiny tasks are effortless.
When you’re not feeling motivated, focus on a task so tiny that there’s no motivation required. It may seem silly at first, but it also may just lead to forming a new habit.
7. Have fun!
The more fun you’re having, the more motivated you’ll feel. Don’t force yourself to do things that feel like bores or chores. They sap your motivation.
Instead, do something you’ll enjoy. Even if it’s a short walk. Even if it’s dancing to your favourite jam in your living room. Even if it’s just a few stretches to help you relax.
Living the Dream
The dream is for your motivation to grow over time, rather than fading away. And that might not happen at first. That’s okay.
But if you stick to the basics, consistently take small steps, and have fun with the process, you just might end up living the dream.