Having a goal and the motivation to achieve it can feel incredibly powerful. But what happens when that motivation dips? Chances are we’re all going to experience setbacks. When we understand how motivation works, we can be better prepared to overcome those dips and keep working toward our goals.
Five ways to weather the ups and down of motivation.
- Focus on why you want to achieve your goal.
Dig deep. Why do you value this goal? What does the accomplishment really mean to you? Make a list of your reasons and write them down the old-fashioned way—with a pen and paper. When you write by hand, you engage the brain more actively in the process. Then go back to your notes whenever you need a boost.
“Motivation can come and go, so sometimes we have to remember our desires,” says Alessandra, a MOBE Guide. “Why are we making a change? What do we desire? If we focus on the desire when our motivation is low, we can keep going and build that motivation back up.”
- Take it one step at a time—but don’t forget the big picture.
When setting a goal, it’s important to break it down into the small steps that will get you there. If you find yourself lacking motivation along the way, take a moment to refocus on your larger goal. “For any goal, there will be setbacks,” says Alessandra. “But you have to remember why you started in the first place and move forward. Don’t give up on you.”
- Visualize what meeting your goal will feel like.
Picture how your body will feel and what you’ll be thinking as you cross the finish line. Go back to this visualization anytime you are having a dip in motivation.
- Don’t focus on failure.
Setbacks are bound to happen, we’re human after all. Consider them an opportunity to learn what’s working for you and what’s not. Then strategize and move forward. Plan ahead for potential setbacks and think about how you might overcome them.
- Think of self-motivation as a muscle you can exercise.
The more you practice, the better you get at it. Start each day with a positive, motivating thought. When you experience a drop in willpower, repeat the thought and practice overcoming the obstacle. Over time, you may find it’s easier to self-motivate.
A MOBE Guide can help you maintain the mindset and motivation to reach toward your health goals. Get started today.