How To: Stay Motivated in the New Year

New Year's Day has come and gone, but your resolutions are here to stay!

Many people look to the New Year as a sign of hope and change. Whether your intention is to lose weight, learn a new skill, volunteer more, or read bestsellers, reaching your goals takes one word and one word only: Motivation!


So, without any further adieu, let's go!



Tip 1: Get organized.


It can be tempting to write down your goals - and then put the pen down. But, to achieve your goals you need to have a real plan.


This means your plan should be specific and your actions should be prioritized.


The important thing you do, make sure to be specific in defining exactly how will you get to your goals, prioritize your actions, and create a balance.


Here's a general formula to follow:


1. Break each goal into manageable steps.

2. Research how to get started on each step.

3. Prioritize each step based on importance and urgency.

4. Set an estimated time frame for completion for each step.


These steps should be small enough to be inspiring but not intimidating. Having a detailed plan reminds you of your next steps so you keep moving forward. The key is that you want to stay focused and feel like you are making progress. (There is nothing like the satisfaction of checking off an item on a checklist!)



Tip 2: Get rid of distractions.


Social media, Animal Crossing, and the YouTube rabbit hole have one thing in common: They are all distractions! If you are reading this with no distractions, then huge kudos to you! Those who have stopped reading to check their social media feed, reply to your friend’s texts, or search for a recipe for bundt cake you weren’t looking for... Well, like all of us, you might have wasted a bit of time.


Fortunately, minimizing these distractions is easy if you take a few easy steps. Start by turning off notifications on your phone/laptop and set a timer for "focus time." A strategy that we use at Zone is called the "Pomodoro technique." All you have to do is set a timer to work for 25 minutes, then you earn a 5 minute (timed!) break. It really is that easy.


Make sure to tell your friends that you are busy and will get back to them when you are ready (don't worry, they will understand). Then you can turn your devices to "Do Not Disturb" mode without any temptation or guilt.


If you want to go even farther, you can turn your screens to black and white mode to make them less visually appealing and less distracting!



Tip 3: Find your happy place.


Studies show that it can be hard to be productive at home. How many times have you caught yourself saying, I will get this done, I will not fall asleep on the couch, I will not turn on Netflix, or I will not put this off… Only to do just that?


If you are like most people, the answer is many times! Help yourself out and get out of the house. If you don’t know where to go, then look up new places to go like coffee shops, bakeries, or even diners that have WiFi.


If you choose to stay at home, recognize your problem areas. This refers to any room in the house that may be considered a gateway to distractions, like that living room with that pesky television calling your name, or the kitchen with all those snacks.



Tip 4: Be present! Don't jump to conclusions.


Sometimes our minds get the best of us, crafting stories of worst case scenarios before we even start. Give yourself the gift of possibility by opening your mind to the chance of a different and positive outcome.


Even if you make a mistake or face a setback, it’s not the end; you can get back on track. Keep taking the small steps. Don’t tear yourself down for making a mistake. When the inevitable voice of doubt creeps in, challenge it!


You can take away the power that “I can’t do this” can have over you. Affirm yourself, take a stand, and say you are enough. And if you do fail, like everyone does from time to time, forgive yourself and get back to work.


By the way, be prepared to repeat this over and over.



Tip 5. Visualize your ideal future.


Imagination. It’s a powerful thing.


Start by asking yourself what you would like to accomplish and then visualize that as your reality. If envisioning one possible outcome is difficult, then write it out or create a vision board!


The things you visualize should inspire you to act in alignment with your goals. If you need some help getting started with a vision board, then read this article by Make A Vision Board!



Tip 6. Remind yourself why you started.


Making changes is hard, and it is almost inevitable that you will have moments that make you ask yourself, “Why am I still doing this?” or , “Nothing is changing. What’s the point?”


Change doesn't happen overnight. It takes commitment and discipline, and you will have to withstand slumps, discomfort, and bouts of fatigue. Remind yourself of WHAT you are working towards and WHY by placing sticky notes with inspirational words for yourself on the fridge, desk, or anywhere in your house can boost your morale. Jot down “I am” statements following with a positive and affirming word.


Some of our favorites to help you get started:

I am enough.

I am strong.

I am on the right path.

I am grateful for who I am and who I can be.

I am capable.

I am not alone.

I am worth it.



Tip 7. Have fun!


Sure, routines can be dull, but they don’t have to be!


Try researching alternatives you can implement into your plans. A change to your routine will do you a world of good, even if it is a tiny change.


Shave ten minutes off your workout to do extra stretching? Go ahead, you can afford to spare those ten minutes to finish early. Want to find new ways to display your creative side but don’t know where to look? Try sketching or creative writing. You can settle into a routine, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.



Tip 8. Have a fight song.


Everyone has a fight song. You may not know yours but you almost certainly have one. Your fight song is a song that gives you strength, purpose, and optimism all in one shot. Even the cliches like Eye Of The Tiger or We Are The Champions can bring out the best in you.


Personally, my fight song is Third Eye by Florence + The Machine. If you’ve never listened to the song, then look it up and be amazed. The lyrics, “I’m the same, I’m the same, I’m try’na change,” repeated over and over again assure me that no matter what I set out to do, I am making the effort to take risks and make changes (even if I don’t succeed). Find your fight song, focus on the lyrics and see what you can draw from the words.


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So what have we learned from these tips? Giving up? BAD! Keeping moving forward? GOOD!


Apply some of these tips to anything you have going on in your life. Only you can stoke the fires of motivation and keep the flames burning, so don’t let anything snuff that out!


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