Experts Speak

The Top 6 Most Effective Steps to Stay Motivated

Reviewed by

Rekha Prabhu

6 Effective Steps to Stay Motivated

Motivation is something we all struggle with at times; we’re human after all. But when you lose motivation for something, how on earth do you go about trying to motivate your motivation? However, finding the motivation to do things can be a great challenge.

What is Motivation?

According to Psychology Today,

Motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal; a driving factor for actions, willingness and goals. Your motivation could be inspired by outside forces like culture, society, lifestyle or by yourself.

Motivation is the process through which goal-oriented activities are initiated, guided, and maintained. It is what drives people to take action toward something, whether it is grabbing a glass of water to quench your thirst or reading a book to expand your knowledge. Motivation consists of the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive variables that drive action. The word "motivation" is widely used in ordinary speech to express why someone does something. Motivation encompasses more than simply the elements that trigger behaviors; it also includes the components that guide and sustain these goal-directed activities (though such motives are rarely directly observable). As a consequence, we often have to assume the motivations behind people's actions based on observed behaviors. 

With so many things going on in our lives, it is all too easy to let some things slip. Just a single slip – skipping working out for a day, smoking just one cigarette or eating junk food for just one day – leads to a broken routine and lost motivation. But there are ways in which you can get back on track with the key being structure and consistency. Here are some things you can do to build your routine.

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Why is Motivation Important?

1. For Self-Development

  • Helps us modify our behavior, build skills, be creative, create objectives, expand our interests, make plans, develop talents, and increase social engagement.
  • Makes all aspects of day to day life easier; the advantages of which can be seen in how we spend our lives.
  • Life is nothing but time spent continually reacting to changes in our surroundings. Motivation helps take remedial action in the face of changing circumstances

2. To Achieve Personal Health Goals

  • Motivation is a valuable resource that enables us to adapt, operate efficiently, and preserve our well-being in the face of a never-ending stream of possibilities and risks.
  • Increased motivation has several health advantages.
  • Motivation, as a psychological state, is intertwined with our body's physiology and sometimes even pathologies.
  • When our motivation is low, it has a significant impact on our performance and well-being.

What are the 7 Steps to Stay Motivated

1. Set your goals, understand & break it into Micro Goals

As life progresses, our needs and wants keep evolving and among these major life changes it is important to evaluate, set or refresh our goals. Since life is subjective for everyone, it is natural that our goals will also differ, so the first step is to never compare. Although no one can tell you how to definitely set a goal, here are some pointers that will help you out.  There are various aspects of life, namely career, personal, financial, relationship, educational, public service, that one can set goals in.

  • The first thing to do is look at the ‘bigger picture’ of what you want to accomplish with your life (or over the next, say, ten years and define the large-scale objectives that you want to attain.
  • Take a pen and paper and think of the things that are the most important to you and why.
  • Use these answers to better understand the things you believe in and give value to, to become more self aware.
  • Then you break each goal into smaller and smaller milestones that you must meet in order to achieve your long-term goals.
  • Once you reach that stage, you will get clarity, which in turn will help you set and achieve long term goals. 
  • Finally, now that you have a strategy in place, you can begin working on it to attain your objectives.
Things to Remember
  • Achieving even one or two small goals is infinitely more rewarding than not completing one big goal.
  • We are destined to fail if we take on more than we can realistically handle.
  • Instead, focus on taking small, baby steps towards mini-goals, which in time will help achieve a bigger end goal.
For Example
  • Personal Goal : You plan to buy your own house in 10 years. For this, you need to make a plan by assessing how much money you will need, how you will increase your income and the steps you can take to make it happen.
  • Health Goal : If your fitness goal is to walk 10,000 steps in a day, you need to start small and build a routine for it. Start with just 3,000 steps per day for a week. In the second week, gradually increase your steps to 5,000 and so on.
  • Habit Goal : If you want to start waking up earlier (5 am) than your usual routine (8 am), start by waking up just 10 minutes earlier than 8 am. Thus you can slowly push back till you eventually start waking up bright and early at 5 am.

2. Focus on one Goal at a time

A part of starting small also includes attempting one mini goal at a time. Taking on too much can be exhausting both physically and mentally. Instead of multi-tasking, streamline your motivation and focus your time and energy on completing a single project at any given time. When you have too much on your plate, pick the one that’s priority number one. If you want to wake up early and start working out, you might want to first get yourself in the habit of waking up early. Once you have that sorted, you can work towards building an early morning workout routine.

For Example :

  • Eliminate distractions, such as incessant phone notifications or noisy chatter.
  • Prepare your workplace by decluttering your desk, putting on noise-canceling headphones, and hiding your phone in a drawer for a designated amount of time.

3. Lists are your Best Friend

Making lists of your mini goals is a fantastic way to stay on track and organized. When goals undefined it becomes difficult to achieve, as you can easily forget them. Start by listing down all your goals. It’s motivating to see your goals written down in ink rather than just as ideas in your head. Once you have a list, set a priority for each goal. You can do this by, organizing them according to those that are most important to you. Having a natural order in which one can only be started if another has been completed. Starting with the easiest and work towards the hardest.

For Example :

  • Set an alarm for 6 am
  • Get fresh and drink water
  • Start with 10 minutes of meditation in a day
  • Make sure you check each of these items every day

4. Plan to the last Detail

Once you have a list of goals in front of you, break down each goal on the list into a list of action items. Anchoring them this way helps you understand how exactly you would achieve each goal. The key is to specify the Time, Place, Process and Method. By planning and preparing in advance, you eliminate the multiple steps that may come in the way of you accomplishing your goal.

For Example :

  • If you wish to meditate daily, Plan your goal like - I will meditate for 10 minutes before I open my laptop
  • If you wish to do yoga daily, Plan your goal as - I will do yoga for 20 minutes at 7 am every day
  • You can go further and make you plan even more detailed like If you wish to start the day with a workout, Plan the kind of workout you want to do, keep your clothes and shoes ready the previous night.

5. Track your Habits

Each time you complete a task, make a big deal of crossing it off so that you can see the success you have had. Watching how well you’ve been doing for the past days or weeks motivates you to keep going and ensures that you don’t lose motivation even for a day. The longer the streak the more you will be motivated to stick to your habit.

For Example : Keep a Tracker or Chart or Calendar or Bullet Journal on a wall or anywhere in front of you, where it is easily seen. On completion of each day, make a mark on it signifying your achievement and validating the effort you're making. There are now several Apps available for this purpose. Select any one that's appealing to you, and start tracking your progress today.

6. Get yourself an Accountability Buddy

It can be tough to accomplish something alone. A strong support network of family, friends or even an online forum can be helpful. If you have a friend who has the same goals as you, both of you can join forces and motivate each other as well. Ask a trusted friend or family member to regularly check up on your progress. If you are joining forces with a buddy who has the same goals as yours, you may even thrive on a certain amount of friendly competition between you both.

For Example : Consider enlisting a friend with similar goals to team up with you on exercise or even just to encourage each other.

Bottom Line

Don’t let one cheat meal or a failed attempt from not smoking become many. Slip-ups are normal but the key here is to not linger on the mistake for more than a day and to get back to your goal promptly. So there you go – our Complete Guide To Motivation and advice on how to re-motivate your motivation when all you want to do is give up.

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