Thanks so much for all your comments on yesterday’s inspiration board post! I really enjoyed hearing all about your goals for 2011 – your ambition is fabulous! As promised, today’s post is about staying motivated and focused. When I began writing the post, I realized that it was going to be a verrrry loooong one, so I’ve got 6 tips for you today and will post the other half on Thursday. Without further ado, here they are!
1. Think about your motives first. For each goal on your list, answer 2 questions:
In the past, I’ve set various goals that I should achieve, but deep down, didn’t really want to. For example, in 2009, I ran my first marathon in Toronto and qualified for the Boston Marathon. This meant I had 2 years to run it – I could enter in Boston 2010 or 2011. Well, 2010 wasn’t ideal because I was busy with school, and the deadline for 2011 registration was October 2010. As this deadline came closer, I went back and forth in my mind more times than I could count, trying to decide whether or not I was going to do it. Part of me wanted to, and others I talked to kept telling me I should. The other part of me resisted – not because I’m lazy and didn’t want to put in the training effort. I just didn’t really want it. (For more about finding out what it is you really want, check out this post.)
Moral of the story? If you’re not sure exactly what you want to gain by achieving a goal, and it’s not really important to you, chances are your motivation will start to wane. Make sure you want it.
2. Think about why you’ve failed to keep resolutions in the past. If your goal was fitness-related, did your workout partner fail to hold up their end of the deal? Maybe it’s time to find a new one, or find activities that will help you reach your fitness goals but don’t require participation of others. Did you swear to stop smoking, then try to go cold-turkey immediately? Maybe a more gradual approach would be more manageable and effective.
3. Tell someone. This probably isn’t news to you, but studies have shown that telling people what our goals are can help to make us feel more accountable and more likely to achieve them. Better yet, maybe that person shares the same goals as you. If they do, you can use each other as a support system and help to keep each other on track.
4. Keep a journal. It doesn’t matter if your goals are related to healthy eating, weight loss, weight gain, fitness in general, being more thankful, or whatever. I’ve used journals for a whole bunch of activities and, like the ‘tell someone else’ tip, it certainly helps to keep me feeling accountable. During my weight loss days, keeping a food diary was probably one of the best things I could have done. As you probably guessed, there are a ton of free journal-like tracking apps for this as well. For example, on iTunes…
Budgets! Lite (full description here) for managing budgets and expenses. You can also export the information you enter using the app to a .pdf or .csv file. Note – the light version only lets you add one budget, but you can add several with the paid apps.
My Fitness Pal (full description here) can be used for tracking food, nutrients, exercise, and water intake. There are a lot of branded food products stored in the app’s database so you don’t need to manually enter every single food you eat.
ThankfulFor (full description here) is a gratitude journal app where you can enter various things you are thankful for. You can keep them private, or share them with a community whose expressions of gratitude are viewable through the app.
5. Be realistic. Remember my post about setting SMART goals? The whole specific, measurable, achievable, etc thing? Do it, because it works! Looking back at the goals I set last year but failed to achieve, those that I didn’t do so hot on were those that I kept general. Like “do more yoga”. Umm.. ok. But how much? When? Where? Make sure you plan these parts out ahead of time.
6. Have a plan. Although the vision board I posted on Monday doesn’t have all the specifics on it, I’ve made plans for how I’ll achieve each goal on my list. For example, to reach my goal of saving the boatload of money I’ll be needing for my new wheels, the plan includes…
- Calculating how much money I need to meet my target and breaking it down over the months between now and October (check!)
- Making an appointment at my bank (check!)
- Sticking $x from my paycheques each month into a high-interest savings account
- Reassessing the $$ situation every couple of months to make sure I’m still on track.
Another example is my plan to get back into yoga by attending at least 1 class per week, or 4 per month. The plan goes a little something like this..
- Research yoga studios and costs (check!)
- Work the fees into my budget (check!)
- Purchase classes (check!)
- Print off class schedules and write the ones I plan to attend into my calendar each week
…. And in case you were wondering, my first class was yesterday and it was lovely!!
Alright guys, my holiday has now officially ended and it’s time for me to get to work! I’ve also got some great new things to try for Try Something New Tuesday 38 (hence the reason breakfast is not pictured today – I think you’re going to like it!)
Questions for today:
- Do you have a tip that I missed in today’s post? If it’s not already in Part 2 of of this series, post it here or email me at eatspinrunrepeat (at) gmail (dot) com
- What is your most challenging goal for the year ahead? How do you plan to make it happen?