Every December, we get excited about the start of the upcoming year. A blank slate to form new habits, reach new goals and finally commit to completing those resolutions.
But here’s the thing — about 80 percent of people don’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions and lose all motivation by February.
Often, the reason we don’t achieve those resolutions is that our goals are too broad, too complicated or just too outside our comfort zone. The lack of clarity and moving forward without a clear vision will make your motivation wane reasonably quickly as you get overwhelmed.
So, what can you do to not be part of the norm, but the exception and motivate yourself to keep going, month after month? On the last day of this decade, here’s how you find your New Year’s motivation to accomplish your goals and stay motivated throughout the year.
1. Think small
A big part of our lack of motivation behind goals and resolutions is that they’re too big — you quickly feel overwhelmed and give up. The key to staying motivated for some is breaking down a realistic goal to smaller pieces to achieve them on a quicker timeline. If you see progress, you’ll be more likely to stay on track to meet your goal.
If your overall resolution is to be healthier, then smaller tasks entail going to the gym three times a week, institute veggie Monday, drink a green smoothie every morning, etc.
2. Track your progress
Source: Product Hunt
Having a visual of your progress and completed milestones can help motivate you even in the laziest of days. Use apps like Streaks or Productive to keep tabs on daily tasks and get automated reminders to drink more water, get to the gym, floss or any other. The app helps see how many days in a row you’ve completed a task, making the whole process a game.
Set up milestones at 30, 60 and 90 days to stay motivated and within those, set up a daily or weekly task list that will help you hit those milestones.
3. Think about why
Why are you doing this particular goal? Is it something you feel passionate about? Will it help your career in the long run?
Thinking about the reason why you set up this goal will keep you motivated as the days pass and your resolve wanes. The why will give you focus, motivation and clarity during the lowest days.
Everything is better with a buddy! Tell everyone you can, from friends to colleagues, all about your goals. Accountability (and let’s be honest — the shame of failure) helps you stay on task, so you have updates every time your accountability buddy asks. Set up times to update them on your progress and celebrate any small win.
If you feel unmotivated, reach out and have them push you to complete your next task. Dragging your feet about a workout class? Tell your buddy and go together.
5. Reward yourself
Every completed task is a small win for the overall goal, so celebrate every single one. Whether you have a big reward at the end or smaller incentives as you complete certain milestones, it’s essential to recognize your progress.
Set up the rewards to be something you care about, like a vacation, a nice meal or a new set of workout clothes, so it motivates you even more.
6. Stop multitasking
It’s the beginning of the year, and the blank slate is making us feel like we can do anything. But it’s essential to remain realistic about how many things we can accomplish in 12 months. Even though a year feels long, it really isn’t.
Keep your goal list short, and when completing one of your daily tasks, stay focused on one at a time. Multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40 percent, according to recent research.
7. Stay positive
Beyond thinking, “I can do this,” it’s essential to surround yourself with positive energy, so you stay motivated. Seek out podcasts, books and even meetups to surround yourself with good energy and continue to stay motivated through your tasks.
Look for leaders that have completed similar tasks for inspiration — a new perspective is always good. Search Spotify for relevant podcasts, subscribe to newsletters and others to give you the boost you need.
8. Be consistent
Doing something toward your resolution every day will keep your goal at the top of mind and keep you consistently moving toward it. Every glass of water, every checkmark on your to-do list, every workout you do daily moves you closer and keeps you motivated.
Just stay consistent — yes, even on holidays and vacations — so you don’t miss a beat.
9. Visualize the result
The best motivator is, of course, the bigger picture. As you complete your smaller tasks and hit those milestones on your way to achieving your goal, visualize the end result.
If your goal was to lose 10 pounds, and you’ve been completing your weekly tasks, visualize the new pair of jeans you’ll buy or the vacation you’ll take. Or perhaps it was to get a new job, then each interview you have gets you closer to that end goal. Thinking of that result will push you past the finish line.
Everyone stays motivated in different ways — whether it’s breaking down a problem into smaller pieces or finding something that inspires you creatively. But staying realistic and clearly defining those goals will help you put together actionable steps and crush those resolutions.