I was talking to a friend this week about motivation. Years ago when I would compete in fitness competitions my WHY was huge – there was a big end goal and a date to work to, so the motivation stayed high and it tested your endurance and mental commitment to the extremes. The likelihood of failure was very low as you would not want to look or feel ridiculous so even on days when you wanted to quit you would drag yourself to your training days or eat that broccoli stem over the Chinese takeaway.
In every day life motivation for goals can be harder. If the WHY is not big enough then staying motivated can feel tough, and the excuses slip in all too easy. Whilst our intentions and vision might be clear the action that is required can waiver. Why? Because the why just is not BIG enough.
Here’s an example. Most of us, have said ‘I need to lose weight’ but what is the difference between the person who completes the action and those who slide off the diet wagon a few weeks later? The WHY. Those who have a wedding to be ready for will inevitably fit into their dress, even if the challenge seems unrealistic at first. Those with an event to train for will find themselves steaming towards it because they have a double end goal and a reason to stay motivated. Those who say ‘I want to’ really DO want to, the WHY just in not always big enough.
So how can we make our WHY bigger?
# Decide why you need this – Being clear why you are doing this, or want to achieve your goal means that when the going gets tough you can keep focussed and return to your WHY. Your WHY needs to be strong and big – you ideally need to be emotionally attached to it on some level. A need or a want is a low level desire – WHY does this matter? what will change because of it? How will life be better? How will you feel when you achieve it? WHY are you so motivated to achieve it? Get clear on your why and your reasons before you jump in
#Plan it – Once you have your WHY plan your approach – so may people fall by the wayside because they leapt in feet first and forgot to plan their approach. With a clear plan you will know that you are on track and where you need to be and by when. Spend some time looking at the details, your approach, what resources you need and when your start date will be. With a plan a wish becomes a clear goal.
# Break it down – Look at your goal and break it into smaller pieces so you can see the progress. This is especially important if your goal is a long term one. If the progress feels like it will take forever it can be harder to stay focused, smaller, shorter goals which contribute to the bigger picture are more likely to help you stay on track.
# Get some help – If your goal has an area of expertise attached then seek out experts or professionals who can help you with it. Could you join a club, group or online community to help you stay focussed? pick up tips? support you? Having a help system who keep you focussed and resolve any barriers quickly is key to long term success.
#Be accountable – whether you sign up with a personal trainer, attend a set programme or hire a coach or find a buddy being accountable to our goals supports us to stay on track. BUT find someone who will make you accountable – if you have to explain why you didn’t do what you achieved you need someone who is going to make you squirm a little, not someone who says ‘it’s ok’ – if you want to stay on track find someone who cares about your goal too.
#ACT on it – Take action – once you have decided your plan, rallied the support and gathered your resources act on it – get up every day and stay focussed on what you want to achieve and keep your WHY clear. Celebrate your achievements and goal posts on the way to stay motivated and remember how far you have come!
#Review – Every 4-6 weeks review your progress. Measure how far you have come and also your next steps. If you need to review your plan and make an alterations or amendments this is a time to do it. To be successful long term regularly checking in is imperative to success!