While making New Years resolutions is easy, the challenging part is considering how to stay motivated. According to Forbes, by the end of January almost half of people have given up on their resolutions.
Want help to stay motivated? Here’s two things I believe are important.
1. Balancing intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivaton is the motivation that comes from within. It’s the type of motivation that occurs from doing something you enjoy and get pleasure out of, so what you’re actually doing itself is rewarding. For example, running a half marathon for some is intrinsic motivation – if you love the feeling of running, the challenge of completing a half marathon is driven mainly by intrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic motivation on the other hand is when motivation comes from outside forces. For example, you turn up to work each day for a job you don’t enjoy because you’re motivated by the pay.
Extrinsic motivation is easier to create than intrinsic but both are important. Your resolutions should come from an intrinsic motivation. If you’re resolution is to get fit by going to the gym, but you hate the gym then it’s not the best start. Get fit by doing something that taps into your intrinsic motivation. Perhaps you love to socialise? Join a team sport – that way you’ll be tapping into your intrisinc motivation which will help sustain you. Your extrinsic motivators are what can help carry you through when you’re losing motivation – little rewards to get you through. For example, if you go on that run you’ll treat yourself to a hot bubble bath afterwards.
Figure out your intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and use them to your advantage.
2. Focus on the goal
When you first start working towards your New Year’s resolution you’re generally fairly driven. Saying no to that extra slice of cake is easy, and you’ll have no trouble bounding out of bed to go for that early morning run. Unfortunately willpower and drive isn’t infinite. You’ll hit a day when you don’t feel like doing what you need to reach your goal. At this point, you’ve reached a crossroad – you can either continue to give in to your lack of motivation, or you can forget about your motivation and focus on the goal. Remembering why you want to achieve your goal can help push you through. There are days when I’m not motivated to go for a run, but I do it anyway as I know that if I want to get fitter and run a half marathon then I need to do it. The long term picture becomes an internal drive to go for a run, even though I don’t really feel like it. I like to use the Nike motto and “Just Do It”!
Use extrinsic motivators to help get you through the dips in motivation – set rewards for reaching milestones.
How do you keep motivated?