It’s already February, and for some of us, maintaining our new year’s resolutions may be starting to become a little harder. With the cold, dark, rainy days we’ve been having, I personally have been struggling to get up and get to the gym at my usual time. So knowing how challenging it can be to follow through on our good intentions, here are some quick pointers on maintaining enthusiasm, determination, and drive on the path to beneficial change.
No matter what goal or resolution you’ve set for yourself - meditating, working out, dieting, or saving - the five points below will be helpful:
Remind yourself of your intrinsic motivation.
Sit down and take a few calming breaths. Then contemplate what satisfies and dissatisfies you about your life. Something spurred you to the resolution you took, so get back in touch with it. Reflecting on the reasons for that decision will motivate you again.
Another benefit of this kind of review is it will show if you need to adjust the scope and size of your goal. Having a manageable goal is the most important element for a successful outcome.
Review the benefits.
One of the best ways to inspire yourself is to make a list of the benefits. Put these on post-it notes or index cards, then keep them on your bedside table and tape them to your bathroom mirror. Review the benefits of this new habit or program you’ve undertaken as often as possible.
On the flip side, try to avoid evaluating your progress too often and too soon as this can discourage you. Set up a realistic time frame to help you get a clear picture of your short term progress and to inspire you towards a long term lifestyle change.
If your resolution is to begin meditating, losing weight, or improving your relationships with loved ones or colleagues, then having a physical representation or reminder is very powerful motivator. You could keep a journal or scrapbook in which you put photographs of those people or your goal, or create a vision board that you hang on your bedroom wall. Look at these often to inspire you when your motivation is running low.
Recall and celebrate your gains.
Celebrate your successes. Taking the time to acknowledge your effort and discipline, and feeling proud of yourself is not vanity. Acknowledging our progress remind us of our abilities and our strengths, and helps create positive memories around these achievements, which is inspiring.
Be vigilant when you are out celebrating. If your goal is shedding a few pounds, be mindful not to harm your weight loss plan, or if it’s to work out or meditate in the morning, then don't stay out until 3 am.
Journal your successes and the changes you are noticing; read these entries often to keep them fresh in your mind and to increase your determination.
As with all new habits, it is normal to slip up. Try not to lose hope. Remind yourself that all habits take time to build.
If you are going to use energy, then use it wisely – not to beat yourself up, but to instead practice kindness towards yourself.
Remember every moment presents the opportunity to start anew.
All the very best. May you succeed in living your ideal life.