5 essential steps to stay motivated

Let's look at five ways you can stay motivated even when the going gets so tough that all you want to do is quit.

Woman with her hands up towards the sky | Concept for staying motivated

Have you ever had a goal that you really wanted to reach, yet you couldn’t quite keep positive behaviors long enough to achieve it? Maybe it was a goal that you’ve set over and over and over again, each time falling short of finally making it a reality. If so, you are not alone.

The problem with goals is that even if they’re something you want with all your heart, your motivation can, and most frequently does, wane. Like a new log that is lit with fire, the flame is burning hot and bright at first. But all too soon, we have burning embers that slowly begin to die. What can you do to keep your fire burning hot? What can you do to stay motivated?

Let’s look at five ways you can keep your fire of motivation burning even when the going gets so tough that all you want to do is quit.

5 steps to stay motivated when you really want to quit

1. Visualize yourself succeeding

Too often, we stop ourselves from reaching our goals because we can’t quite picture ourselves achieving them. We feed ourselves self-defeating phrases like, “you’re never going to be successful, so why even try?” On the flip side, if you can actually see yourself doing whatever it is you want to do, your brain will automatically work toward it. In fact, some of the world’s top sportspersons use visualisation to help them do their absolute best in their individual sports. To do this yourself, find a quiet, comfortable place and sit with your eyes closed as you envision yourself not only achieving, but maybe even surpassing your goal. Engage all of your senses so you can feel, hear, taste, smell, and touch what true victory feels like. Do this every day for 5-10 minutes. The more your mind can “see” your goal as a reality, the higher the chances of it manifesting for you.

2. Walk the walk

There’s no way around it. If you want to reach your goals, you’re going to have to put in some work. The question is: are you doing this or are you just talking about it? For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, are you eating healthier foods or do you just talk about the fact that you should eat more salads and less fast food? If your goal is to get a promotion at work, are you going the extra mile to show that you deserve a higher-paying slot or are you just talking about it? The definition of walking the walk is “to actually do something rather than just talking about it, so that people can see you are really good at it.” Thus, living by this motto can help you stay motivated because you become known as a doer versus a dreamer.

3. Find a mentor who keeps you motivated

There are those who have already walked the path you wish to take. Find such people and ask them for their guidance and mentorship.They can handhold you on your journey and help you navigate challenges and pitfalls so that you don’t get discouraged when things don’t go your way.

4. Associate with the right individuals and groups

Motivation is contagious. When you associate with those who are themselves highly motivated and inspired, their enthusiasm rubs on to you. The opposite is also true: Those are who are mostly cynical or indifferent tend to dampen your enthusiasm and motivation. Never share your ideas and dreams with such people; if possible, stay away from them or at least minimise your association. Mark Twain said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

If you spend any time on social media, one way to keep yourself motivated to reach your goals is to follow people who motivate you to want to be your best. Let their words of inspiration continue to push you forward, even when you’d love nothing more that to just give up.

5. Make it enjoyable

It is fair to assume that you will spend considerable time and effort to reach your goals and achieve whatever it is that you have set your heart on. Imagine spending all that time feeling weary and dull. Obviously you can’t stay motivated and inspired if you find routine cumbersome or boring. Therefore it is imperative that whatever you do, you make it enjoyable. Find ways to make your work fun and exciting. Also ensure that you take frequent breaks (it boosts creativity) and avoid multitasking (enemy of productivity). Lastly, keep your work stress under control. Too much stress and anxiety tends to deteriorate your overall health and wellbeing, making all your efforts ultimately worthless and counter-productive.

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Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri considers himself a student and teacher of the wisdom of love. He is also a writer-editor and has written on topics ranging from strategic marketing and business management to art, culture and even philosophy. His more than 1200 published stories—articles, interviews, full-length features—have appeared in some of the leading newspapers and magazines of India. A certified cognitive behavioural therapist, he works as a personal counsellor too. He is the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed book based on powerful ideas of some of the greatest thought leaders. Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".

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