It feels so, so nice to be motivated. To-do list items checked off faster than you can write them down, the excitement of grand plans coming to fruition, energy.
We won't lie: we'd love to feel driven more often. But it's okay that we don't! Motivation is not something you can tap into whenever you need it, like a cup of coffee or an exercise-induced endorphin boost. Sometimes you just don't feel like doing what needs to get done — and that's OK! In fact, science says you shouldn't always be motivated. When it comes to your basic needs, what has to get done will get done; goals should be met “at appropriate quantities and at appropriate times.” The problem comes when you're on a deadline or trying to change a habit, the pressure can feel intense and make you feel like giving up and a little motivation might come in handy. When a burst of ambition strikes you want to make it last.
Here are some simple tips to keep momentum going while feeling motivated, inspired, and accomplished, whether you're hard at work on a big project for your boss or trying to live a healthier lifestyle.
Remember why you set the goal in the first place. Why do you want to accomplish this, anyway? Sometimes getting back on track is as simple as reminding yourself why. Make a list of reasons you're committing to the goal and look at it when you feel less than motivated.
Set small deadlines for yourself. Big changes can feel intimidating and cause you to procrastinate or lose motivation, so start small. Be realistic about what you can feasibly accomplish in each amount of time; break a big task up into chunks and check each one off when you're done.
Make a motivation playlist. You know those songs that help you run another mile, do another set of burpees, or power through complicated yoga poses? Make a playlist of them to blast when you need a boost; it's important to make tasks feel fun, and nothing lightens the mood like music, right? Here's a Crushing My Goals! playlist we like to get you started.
Post about it. If you have trouble sticking to your goals, make them public and share your progress on social media or a blog. Sharing your progress and setbacks with friends and family may help hold you accountable and give you motivation to complete what you've started. Remember: everyone wants to see you succeed!
Take a break. As tempting as it is to try and get everything done at once, sometimes you just need to give your brain and body what it wants: a break. If you're really not feeling it, step away for a bit, do something you enjoy (like exercising, a 5-minute mindfulness meditation, petting your cat, or cooking) and come back to the task when you're ready. Give yourself some space before revisiting what needs to get done with fresh eyes.
Call in the reinforcements. Need a helping hand to get things done? Ask for it! Maybe assistance can come to you in the form of a coworker working on the same project, your partner, or a friend-slash-cheerleader. They can offer insight, inspiration, and encouragement—and maybe take one or two things off your plate while they're at it.
Think about the end result. Visualize how you'll feel when your goal is complete and let those positive feelings propel you to keep making progress. If you need to, write down those feelings on Post-It notes and keep them at your desk, on the fridge, or on your phone. You'll be there soon!
Celebrate your wins. Mark the milestones, no matter how small, to encourage yourself when things once again feel challenging. It's a great reminder of what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it. And if you need a reward to keep going, don't be afraid to treat yourself! You earned it.