The beginning of a year is hopeful time, isn’t it? Even the most negative and depressive among us are willing to let in just a little bit of hope in our lives. No matter how many gloomy, dark clouds surround us, the beginning of a new year always make us leave our heavy baggage in the past and look ahead towards the future with hope in our hearts. This is probably why we all make resolutions around that time. Whether we actually write them down on a piece of paper or just resolve to kick a couple of oldies and embrace nice new habits, we are all itching to change our lives positively, one baby step at a time. But unfortunately, most of us falter along the way.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” - Henry Ford.
Wise words, those. It isn’t the lack of belief in dreams or the lack of self assurance that makes us falter along the way and ultimately, stops us from reaching our goals. It is the lack of motivation that does it.
What is motivation? The dictionary defines motivation as the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action towards a desired goal, the reason for that action. Whether you aspire to be productive, cultivate a new habit or get rid of one, it is motivation that either helps you realise your dream or keeps you away from it.
We are aware that motivation leads to perseverance and perseverance leads to goal attainment. However, despite the knowledge, it isn’t easy to stay motivated day in and day out. People who have learnt to train their mind, reign in their impulses and stay motivated have achieved a lot. Good news is, it isn’t as daunting as it sounds and a few small steps can help you stay close to your centre and stay focussed. I will mention a few in brief here.
a) Start small – If you want to lose 10 kilos, finish writing a novel, get married, buy that car, become a vegan and keep your closet colour co-ordinated this year, chances are, you will falter. Start small, focus on one goal at a time.
b) Examine your goal – If your goals are dependent on others or are whimsical and not thought out properly, it is obvious that attaining them will not be possible. If you want to grow your hair because that model in that mag looked fab with long hair, you are not likely to stick. Sit down and think what you really, REALLY want. A goal should be something that makes you desire it physically because it makes a huge difference in your life. Wanting it for the right (and not fanciful) reasons is the key.
c) Make a public announcement – You know your mates. If you tell them you will do something and then don’t, they will make sure to publicly strip you. They say it’s for fun but the Facebook wall post about how you couldn’t stop after three drinks is a little embarrassing, right? Want to stick to your goals? Make a public announcement so that on days you find it hard to stay motivated, humiliation will bring you back on track.
I don’t know about you but I am feeling motivated already. Don’t wait for January 1st, start today. Write it down, print it out and post is somewhere prominent. Every time you feel tempted to let it go, hold back and tell yourself – you are so going to love what you get if you can just hold back tonight. Practice every day, without fail. Keep thinking about the benefits; give yourself all the incentives you can think of. Pat yourself on small successes, find like-minded people, read inspiring stuff, banish negative thoughts, listen to happy music and find your happy feet.