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Changing your life is a big project. There are so many different angles to it that it can all feel incredibly overwhelming.
It usually takes some time and hard work to accomplish the kinds of goals that go along with a significant life change.
It can be hard to get started, and it can be hard to maintain enough motivation to get through the whole journey.
And that’s why it’s so important to find solid motivation to help you get started and to keep you on track while you crush those goals.
Though we’re going to look at several different sources of motivation, it’s important to remember that not everything will work for everyone. Some people find it easier to stay inspired and motivated than others. The things that motivate you may not motivate the next person.
All of that is okay. Look for the things that resonate with you, that cause you to stand up and say, “Yes, that makes sense!”
Then make those things that resonate a regular part of your life. That’ll help you to keep moving forward when you’re otherwise struggling.
Where can you find the motivation to change your life?
1. In the sense of pride and accomplishment you get from reaching your goals.
Adopting a goal-oriented approach not only helps you plot a course to success but can also keep you moving when you need motivation.
Achieving a goal causes the mind to give you a little burst of feel-good chemicals and endorphins; a little physiological reward for accomplishment. For some people, the feeling of checking off another goal is more than enough to keep them moving.
And when you’ve reached the end, you can look back on the journey that you’ve undertaken and know that it was your hard work and effort that got you to where you wanted to be.
Set a range of goals – short, medium, and long. An excellent way to get your short and medium goals is to deconstruct your long-term goals. There are many steps that you will have to take (short and medium goals) to get to that long-term goal. It’s an easy way to go about goal-setting.
Make sure those goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
2. In inspirational books, podcasts, or other media.
The road is long and challenging to make a significant life change. It can be helpful to look to other people who have already accomplished the goals you have set out for yourself. When you falter, you can look at their struggle and journey for some inspiration.
There are so many inspirational books, podcasts, speakers, and videos out there that you should be able to find something that can keep your spark alight.
Avoid comparing your journeys, though. That inspirational person? Their life is different than yours. You’ll have different challenges to overcome, so you may struggle in places where they didn’t. And if they had your path, maybe they would struggle in places that you breezed right through.
Don’t get too caught up in those details. Let the inspirational work rejuvenate you and keep you moving forward.
3. In proving yourself or your doubters wrong.
Spite can be a powerful motivator when everything feels dark and brutal. In that darkness, sometimes it’s better to embrace a piece of it than try to run away from it.
Maybe you have people you want to prove wrong; people who told you that you can’t do it. Maybe it’s not people; maybe it’s your own mind, traumas, or mental illness that regularly tell you that you aren’t worthy or capable.
And maybe, just maybe, that’s the fuel you need to crush your goals. Prove the negative people wrong. Prove the negative thoughts and mental unwellness wrong. Use it as fuel to power yourself, focus on what you can and will accomplish, and keep moving forward when it’s all trying to weigh you down.
Sometimes it’s hard to find light, hope, and positivity in dark places. But spite? Spite’s usually not that distant. Prove them all wrong and keep going.
4. In support from friends, support groups, or professionals.
People are social creatures. We tend to do much better in groups and communities than isolated.
Loneliness can make a challenging task even more difficult. But social interaction can help bolster one’s mood, attitude, and resolve toward getting things done.
That could be surrounding yourself with more positive, optimistic people who offer you support when you’re struggling.
There may also be a community or group looking to accomplish the kind of life changes you’re looking to make. If you want to live healthier or lose weight, it makes sense to join a group where other people are working toward weight loss and losing weight themselves.
If you don’t have personal support or can’t find a good community, professional support can also be a good option. You’ll likely want a therapist to deal with mental health issues that you want to overcome. But for things like professional or personal goals, you may find that a career or life coach is a good option.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a little outside help when you need it. And you may find your own motivation in giving back to those people when you’ve finally reached your goals. You may turn out to be their support and inspiration!
5. In upholding and fulfilling your values, purpose, and “Why.”
Why are you thinking about this? Why did you decide to change your life?
Is it because of your family? Friends? Unhappiness with yourself or your life? Is it to fulfill some sense of purpose you feel drawn and called to work on? Is it because some value is of the utmost importance to you to fulfill?
The “why” of your desire to change your life can provide the inspiration you need when times get tough.
It may help to write down your why so you can go back to it when you’re feeling down about your goal. Look back to why you started in the first place and keep that in the front of your mind.
And remember, you can start over. Just because you mess up, relapse, or have a hard time doesn’t mean you can’t jump right back on to trying to make better decisions.
It’s a difference between saying, “I’m the one making the choices here,” and letting the problem spiral out of control.
6. In regular, tangible rewards.
Tangible rewards can serve as a motivation to make difficult changes. They help to provide a concrete source of satisfaction and achievement.
That may come in the form of buying yourself a little gift, treating yourself to a massage, or maybe taking that vacation you really wanted to.
Don’t wait for these things to accidentally crop up in the process. Instead, incorporate rewards with the completion of goals to have something immediate to look forward to.
It’s good to take a little time to celebrate when you meet one of your goals! That positivity will help reinforce the activity and keep you on the right path to achieving those long-term goals.
Do consider how your rewards affect your overall goals. For example, it can be harmful to reward yourself with treat food when you’re trying to maintain a diet. That could trigger a relapse of unhealthy eating that you will then need to overcome again. Make sure your rewards don’t sabotage your goals.
7. In improving your health to live a vibrant, active life.
Do you want to be healthier? Have a nice long life to enjoy with your family? Have the ability to run and rough-house a bit with the kids or grandkids?
A healthy lifestyle can prevent significant health problems from wearing you down later in life. Diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease are widespread and pretty easy to prevent with active management of your diet, exercise, and health.
That’s not even including the everyday benefits. A healthier lifestyle can also help ward off other illnesses like colds and allergies and generally improve your mental health and outlook on life.
A healthier you living an active lifestyle will have more happiness, more options, and an easier time getting on through life. The human body is not built to be sedentary. It’s a finely-honed machine that needs to be driven, maintained, and cared for regularly if you want to get the most out of it.
It’s much easier to enjoy your life and leisure when you’re active and healthy.
8. In making the pursuit of your goals part of your regular schedule.
Motivation can be built through repetition. You incorporate your goals into your schedule and accept them as just part of the things you do.
Suppose you’re a busy person with a lot of responsibilities. In that case, items like self-care in the form of rest and exercise can very quickly get shoved out of the way for other, seemingly more important responsibilities.
That isn’t something you can let happen. You have to be the one to lay down the law to your schedule and responsibilities to make sure that the things you want are addressed.
For example, let’s say you want to eat healthier to lose weight and improve your health. You’ll need to make time in your schedule for meal planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation. You may find that you don’t have enough time to get those things done if you don’t. Missing a meal planning session means you may not get the grocery shopping done, which means you may get take-out rather than deal with it.
Motivation doesn’t have to be a blinding, brilliant thing. It can also be built through repetition. You sit down and do the meal planning on Saturday night, so you can go grocery shopping on Sunday morning to have good meals the rest of the week. And then you do it again next week because that’s just what you do with that time.
9. In the fact that you really, truly deserve it…
Perhaps the greatest gift of inspiration and motivation of them all – because you deserve it.
You deserve to live the kind of life that you want to live. You deserve to have peace, happiness, and good health. It may be challenging to get there. There may be setbacks and hurdles as you work toward your success.
But that’s okay! Because stories are boring when they are all smooth sailing. Adversity helps build character, challenging you to think differently and dream bigger.
So when you falter and question whether you can do it, remind yourself that not only can you do it but you deserve to do it too.