When you’re sozzled on spirits and excitedly staring down the final few seconds of the year it’s so easy to make resolutions and solemn vows for the new year ahead. You fill the fridge with kale and broccoli, buy some running shoes and yoga pants, and buzz with the motivation to do better. But you know how it goes, by the end of January you’re skint and nackered; the kale’s moulding in the bottom of the fridge, the soles of your running shoes are still a pristine and virginal white and your motivational buzz has fizzled out into a dashed and depressive drone.
You’ve hit the Resolution Rut!
It happens to to the best of us, kid. And usually towards the end of January when the dark winter mornings and evenings just make us want to crawl into a ball and feast on pizza until Spring arrives (Read my tips for conquering the January Blues here) instead of getting out and conquering the world one new year’s goal at a time.
So how do you stay motivated and on track when you hit that rut?
1. Don’t feel forced into making Resolutions in January
The truth is that new leaves can be turned over on any day of the year, not just January the 1st. Don’t feel like you have to get swept up in the tide of dieting and determination with everyone else. If you’re not ready to make adventurous plans that you have a good chance of seeing through to the end, don’t. There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you’re ready to commit. For example, if you’re planning to get into running maybe wait until Spring when the weather improves rather than forcing yourself out the door on dark and drizzly January mornings. Some people choose to make resolutions in September or on their birthdays or randomly on August the 3rd. For a lot of people – myself included – that motivational mindset just isn’t switched on in January.
2. Tell EVERYONE about your goals for the year
I used to make my resolutions in secret. Every year I’d have a few goals in mind but I’d never tell anyone what I was planning, that way if they flopped or fell flat no one would know I’d failed. But I knew, and wasn’t I the only person I was trying to impress anyway? So here’s a little trick I picked up when doing Nanowrimo. By telling your mum, your best friend, your boyfriend, your brother, your dog – everyone – of your plans, you decrease your chances of failure. If you know that people are watching and taking note then you’ll push yourself twice as hard to make sure you succeed.
Bonus; you’ll have someone to talk to when you feel like quitting. They’ll know about and understand your journey from drunken promise to prize and will be there to slap the metaphorical pizza out of your hand when you’re ready to throw in the towel.
3. Plot your path to success
Achieving your goals isn’t as simple as dream and do, there’s a long hard slog in between. Understanding what you need to do to get yourself there is really important and breaking the journey down into smaller steps can really help. Keep a diary and set yourself weekly or monthly targets. Make a list of all the things you need to do to get yourself onto the next step; ticking them off one by one and seeing progress is really satisfying.
4. Plenty of carrots (i.e REWARDS!)
Sometimes the reward of achieving your end goal can seem a long way off, and if you’re anything like me then you’ll need a little something to grease the wheels along the way. Small steps towards victory should be celebrated! When I set myself a target, I also set myself a bonus for achieving that target. Think of it as like levelling up in a computer game; you’re always rewarded with a little something for beating the mini-boss that gives you the boost you need to press on to the end. When I’m writing, if I finish a tricky chapter or reach my word count I celebrate – usually with a little something from my Etsy or ASOS wishlist 😉
5. Keep a picture of your younger self on your desk
Be the person you would have looked up to as a kid. Be your own superhero. And when you feel like giving up on your goals look at the picture and remind yourself of why you started and who you’re putting in all that hard work for.
What are your tips and tricks for staying motivated?