Less than half of all Americans who set New Years Resolutions are able to maintain it longer than six months. How do you keep up your motivation to stick with it the whole year through?
Motivation, Zest for Life

5 Fool-Proof Tips for Keeping Motivated When Life is Dragging You Down

“The more I told myself that I deserved to feel healthy, and even beautiful, the easier it became to put in the work to achieve my goals.” ~Amanda Stray

Less than half of all Americans who set New Years Resolutions are able to maintain it longer than six months.

As we approach the mid-way point of the year, this is a great time to check in and evaluate the progress we’re making toward our most important resolutions.

Are you still excited about your goals? Are you motivated all the time to keep working toward them?

Staying motivated most of the time is okay. I’ve developed some tips to keep it up.

Less than half of all Americans who set New Years Resolutions are able to maintain it longer than six months. How do you keep up your motivation to stick with it the whole year through?

  1. Track Your Habits

To be sure I’m working toward my goals most of the time, I like to use a habit tracker.

Each month, I set aside a little time to design a tracker I’ll keep in my planner. I make sure I have a square for every day of the month, and make a list of the habits I’d like to build or improve upon in the coming month.

This could also be done on an excel spreadsheet, here’s a template.

Each day, either as I complete the task, or during reflection at the end of the day, I fill in a square for each habit I successfully completed. It’s important to be honest with yourself here!

January through March of this year, I did really well with avoiding sweeteners and grains. Almost every day for the first three months of the year I ate exactly as planned and kept to my new habit.

In April, I almost took “NSNG” (no sweeteners, no grains) off my habit tracker. But at the last minute, I decided one more month of tracking may be beneficial.

Well, the whole month of April, I was successful only one day of eating as planned.

There were days that I mostly ate according to plan. But at the end of the day, I’d have a treat. These were days I thought I could get away with marking successful on my habit tracker. Knowing that wouldn’t be honest, and that I’d only be hurting my own progress, I did the right thing.

When I ended the month with weight gain instead of loss, I was able to look back at my habit tracker and see why.

  1. Complete the Most Important Tasks First

I don’t know about you, but when I come home from work in the evenings, I have no motivation to do anything productive.

Even on the weekends, Hubs and I are usually getting chores done around our property or running errands all day. I’m not interested in going to the gym after all that!

I find that my motivation is at its highest first thing in the morning. When I get the important stuff done first, I’m so much more productive when I move on to the day-to-day.

If your most important goal is to run a half-marathon, jump out of bed and tie those running shoes! Writing a book? Make the coffee and fire up the laptop!

My work day has me leaving the house at 7:30 a.m. and getting home around 5:00 p.m. Every weekday morning, I wake up at 4:00 to work toward my goals before work.

That way, when I come home in the evening I can focus on daily chores like making dinner and washing dishes before my husband comes home.

Then, the rest of the evening is free for us to enjoy together. (And, if I’m too tired when I get home and skip out on the chores, I don’t feel as bad. I can always catch up on the daily stuff tomorrow.)

Alternatively, I could get up in the morning, take care of the day-to-day chores before work, work all day, then come home and try to motivate myself to work out or write that really tough blog post.

I think I’d have a clean house but no goals being reached.

  1. Prioritize

If you have a lot going on, some things may need to take a back burner.

Let’s face it, there are seasons in life that are busier than others. It’s a part of life, and we all need to find a way to deal with it.

I like to make a daily task list and prioritize from most important to least.

As I go through my day, I complete the most important tasks first, and work my way down. If everything I planned doesn’t get done, the least important tasks just move forward to my list for the following day.

By prioritizing my list in this way, I’m able to focus my energy where it benefits me the most and reduce my stress.

  1. Turn Off Social Media Notifications

In the connected world we live in, social media is a huge part of day-to-day life. It can be a great tool, and it can be a major distraction.

Personally, I keep the cell phone notifications turned off on all my social media apps. When I open the app, I can see my notifications. But, my phone isn’t constantly pinging or beeping when someone comments or “likes” a post.

Keeping the notifications turned off helps me limit the time I spend on social media, too. I tend to only check them when I’m waiting for something, or I’m relaxing at the end of a long day.

  1. Follow Motivators & Unfollow “Downers” on Social Media

When I do check my feeds, I like them to be uplifting and inspirational. So, I make a point of following people who inspire me. As a result, my feed is filled with photos of healthy foods, inspirational quotes, and happy people crushing goals.

On the other side of the spectrum, I try to be sure that my feed isn’t filled with sad or degrading posts.

I unfollow people who regularly post about:

  • Political views (especially if they’re angry ones)
  • Vaguely feeling sad, seeking attention
  • Dislike for their current employment situation

To be clear, I don’t automatically unfollow any of my friends the second I see one post about a rough day.

The people I unfollow are those who chronically post about every little bad thing going on in their life, but never seem to have an action plan to fix it.

I don’t unfollow these people because I dislike them. I simply want my news feed to be filled with encouragement, spurring me toward realizing my next goal.

Put it All Together

Staying motivated to work toward your goals 24/7 is just about impossible. By following these 5 tips, staying motivated most of the time can become much more attainable.

Track your habits, take care of the most important tasks first, prioritize, turn off distracting notifications, and adjust your social media feeds.

Let me know in the comments which of these tips will be the most helpful for you to keep working toward your resolution past the six-month mark.

Less than half of all Americans who set New Years Resolutions are able to maintain it longer than six months. How do you keep up your motivation to stick with it the whole year through?

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