January is over. The year is on its way, and this is exactly the time when our goals for the year start to falter. Most of us have something we wish we were motivated to do -- exercise, eat healthier, try a new hobby, start our own business, relax more or feel happier with our lives. We commit, and then we commit again. The real key is momentum.
In the last article you learned the three secrets to staying on track with your goals (visualization, interconnectedness and focusing in end results. All of these things work, but only if we are consistent.
First, we need to understand what prevents us from staying motivated. Time may be part of it, but let's face it; change means risk and risk can mean failure. We all know change is scary, so while purgatory may be comfortable, what keeps us there is fear. Someone once asked Thomas Edison how he felt about failing almost 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb. Edison replied, "I didn't fail. I just learned 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb." There is always something to learn from every fall, and in the long-run, fear is more costly to you than failure.
The four principles that follow will help guide you stay motivated. After using them once, try it with some other things in your life you'd like to change.
1. The Law of One Percent: This tool is from the well known business author Ken Blanchard. The idea is basically baby steps. Our goals may seem so big and far-reaching that you give up after a short time. Instead of deciding that you are going to lose 30 pounds and get into great shape all at once, focus on getting one percent closer to your goal every week. Bite size chunks make change manageable.
2. A Coach: Find one person in your life who motivates and inspires you, and ask them to be your coach. That means they should check up on you every week at a scheduled time to make sure you are staying on track. Make sure this is someone you respect and would not want to disappoint. That way, you hold yourself accountable. Your coach should help you set deadlines and quantifiable outcomes to ensure that you are on track.
3. Schedule it in: Create the space you need to achieve your goals. This may be time to exercise, or to learn something new, or to improve the relationship you care about. We get caught up in the daily craziness of life, and our goals easily fall to the wayside. The great poet, William Stafford used to spend the same hour every day of his life writing. Even if he sat in front of a blank page, he would force himself to sit for that hour.
4. Believe. Believe. Believe -- The antidote to fear is faith. If you look at anyone who has achieved greatness in any sense of the word, you'll find that they all had one thing in common: the belief that they could be great. Remind yourself that what you want is achievable at the beginning and end of every day. Talk to people who support you, and keep your distance from people who cause you to doubt yourself. Finally, don't forget to reward yourself for your small achievements along the way.
If you haven't already, start these things today. Go back to the goals you have set for yourself and remember how good it will feel when you have achieved them. In moments when you feel unmotivated or tired or just plain frustrated, remember that you have done it before and you can do it again.
Elisa Levy conducts seminars on conflict resolution and anger management. For more information, contact her at 305-296-5437 or visit http://www.elisalevy.com.