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The trick to staying motivated

It’s the middle of February, the time of year when the optimism of New Year’s Day has perhaps started to wane. The time when we might be thinking of ditching our New Year’s Resolutions; or maybe that’s just me. It can be hard to maintain focus on the things you’ve committed to improving especially when the alternatives (theoretically, of course) consist of sitting on the couch watching the Olympics and eating ice cream.

This year I set several goals: to eat better, get better with bookkeeping (my nemesis), get more involved in my community and finish a half marathon. Suffice it to say some things are going better than others. This isn’t going to be a 10 point list of ways to stay on track with goals because I don’t have all the answers. Sorry, folks. With that said, I will share a few of the things that are working.

  1. A plan: No matter what you want to achieve, map it out and make a plan. In my case of trying to eat healthier, it meant writing out our weekly menus. I know this is so non-innovative but, whatever; it’s saved us a bunch of stress, money and last minute decisions to eat out. Bonus: my teenage son, who always wants to eat (but is also vegetarian) loves it. He gets so excited that we actually have food in the house.
  2. A realistic goal: Running an entire half marathon might not be realistic for me (yet) but doing a run-walk-run combination is.  I haven’t set the bar so high that I’m setting myself up for failure. And telling everyone I’m doing it adds just the right amount of pressure to avoid public humiliation.
  3. A nice reward: What motivates you? I’m sure something does. Yes, I could revel in the self-satisfaction of a job well done but it’s a lot more motivating if I promise myself a trip to Sephora when I finish.
  4. A friend: You and your friend don’t even have to have the same goal. You just need someone with whom you can share your journey, progress, and ups and downs.
  5. Not beating yourself up if you fail: I think most folks are far too hard on themselves. Cut yourself some slack. The vast majority of things are not "do or die"; if you screw up, there’s always tomorrow.
So...there you have it. My five-point list of the things that have sort of helped keep me on track. Most days. But what I’d really love is to hear what y’all do to stay motivated! If you have suggestions, stories, links to great resources etc please share them!
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