Since it's over a week into 2009, I figured it was the perfect time to discuss motivation. I imagine many of you began your resolutions at the turn of the new year, and since it's already been 10 days, you may have started to feel less enthusiastic about the promises you made to yourself (and others) a week and a half ago. Since your motivation might be waning, and it's been proven to take about 30 days to successfully form a new habit, it's key that you stick to your resolutions for the next few weeks if you want them to be smoothly incorporated into your lifestyle.
Before you began your resolutions you probably thought about them intently and got yourself all geared up and ready to start. What many of us fail to do is actively work on our enthusiasm for our resolutions much beyond January 1st. We psych ourselves up for them and then neglect to continue to foster that energy and commitment that we felt early on (or even before beginning). Below are some tips and techniques for maintaining your motivation so that when you look back over this year, you can feel that you truly did your best to reach your goals!
1. Start Slowly. Even though you may have been gunning to start, it's important to make manageable changes. If you set your goal to work out 30 minutes, 5 days a week and are finding that difficult to stick to, rewind and take baby steps. Start with just 5 minutes, 5 days a week. You'll get used to setting aside the time, and you can gradually build to your goal, instead of giving up 2 weeks in.
2. Put it on Paper. If you haven't already done so, write your resolutions down. Sometimes the simple act of transferring your thoughts onto paper makes you feel more driven. List the reasons why you chose to make each resolution. When you're feeling like giving up, reread what you wrote and remind yourself of why you wanted to make these changes in the first place.
3. Recruit Support. If you feel accountable to someone else, you're more likely to stick to your goals. Share your resolutions with a loved one and even ask them to "check up" on you each day, week, month, etc. It's one thing to let yourself down, but it's another when you feel like you'll disappoint somebody else with your (lack of) actions.
4. Keep Track. Record your progress. Journaling about the headway you're making with regard to your resolutions will reaffirm why you made them in the first place. Also, when you're feeling frustrated, you can look back and see how far you've come!
Best of luck with your resolutions! Let me know how you're doing so far.