Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto/ThinkstockIt's the end of February, and several weeks have gone by since we proclaimed our New Year's resolutions on January 1. That's plenty of time to start losing the motivation needed to keep those personal goals in place. A lifestyle change or new health and wellness regimen that once seemed so excitingly hopeful may now be hindered by the realitiy of long work hours, family, or plain old procrastination. If your motivation is dwindling and you're beginning to revert back to last year's habits, try following these five simple suggestions to help you stay on track.
Write Your Goals Down
Many people make a simple mental note of their resolutions, which can often times be stashed at the back of the brain and be forgotten over time. Having a visual reminder can help keep the message fresh in your mind and make your goal a priority. Try writing your resolution on a a Post-it note or memo pad placed in high-visibility spaces like refrigerator doors, mirrors, and work desks where you'll see your goals daily and be reminded of your promise to yourself. Displayed in such a public way, you also share your personal commitment with others, which could give you the extra boost you need to stay on track. Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto/Thinkstock
You could also jot notes down in a journal or day planner to track your progress and document your feelings. Having a record of your development will remind you how far you've come and could prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and throwing in the towel. After you've achieved your goal, you could even pass the journal on to a friend to help guide them through their own journey.
Find an App
For the digitally inclined, there is a long list of fun and useful apps for phones and tablets which can assist in helping you meet your goals. These are great because they can be accessed pretty much anytime and anywhere. Apps are interactive and offer a ton of great features like email reminders, logs, badges, and support from an online community. 21habit is a great tool for forming new habits, a process that supposedly takes 21 days. You pay $21 when you sign up for the app's "committed mode" option, where you earn $1 back for each successful day on the plan, or donate $1 to charity each day you do not. Some apps track calories like MyFitnessPal, and others, like Fitbit, keep a record of your physical activity. Good Habits offers a fun platform where you try not to break a chain of successful days, and Social Workout adds a community aspect, letting you announce and share goals with your social network. If you are feeling competitive, this app also lets you challenge a friend or group to complete a goal. Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Create a Support System
Often overlooked, a support system comprised of friends, family, or even a group of like-minded individuals can be invaluable to helping you achieve your goal. Not only can others provide accountability, they can offer positive encouragement for when you feel like quitting, too. Friends and family who know how important your goals are to you can help you keep your word when you're having a bad day and want to make excuses for ignoring your resolution. If you're new to the area and don't know many people yet, the Internet is a great resource for finding others who share the same interests and goals as you. Photo Courtesy of Jupiterimages/Thinkstock
Find a Mentor
A mentor is a trusted source who can guide you through your journey with advice and support. A superior in the sense that he or she may be older, wiser, or speaks from personal experience, a mentor could be extremely helpful with helping you achieve a particular goal. Someone who has been down the same path can anticipate and help you prepare for problems you may face, as well as share appropriate advice. A mentor could be anyone from a trusted elder to a professional— a life coach, doctor, nutritionist, or even a personal trainer can implement methods to tackle roadblocks effectively. Keeping a resolution on your own can be a challenge, but a mentor could help coach you through it. Photo Courtesy of Creatas/Thinkstock
Sometimes we get stuck with a negative image of ourselves in our minds, and vow to make a complete overhaul for the coming year. A new health regimen, job, and partner may very well be needed, but to tackle everything at once is unrealistic and sets you up for failure. Set specific, attainable goals for yourself that you can focus on exclusively one at a time so that you do not become overwhelmed. Remember: one or two ahievements is better than trying to do too much at once and ultimately calling it quits. Photo Courtesy of Hemera/Thinkstock
The all-or-nothing attitude is a common reason why people give up on their resolutions. Sneaking a scoop of Cherry Garcia or enjoying an extra glass of wine isn't the end-all-be-all. Simply hit reset and start new the next day (not the next year.) Remember that change is not an easy process, and slip-ups might occasionally happen. Take it one day at a time, and forgive yourself for a few mistakes along the way— but don't give up!
The whole reason we make resolutions is to replace old habits with new ones, so why not treat yourself for a job well done? For a time, you might be super-focused on your goals with the idea that you can't indulge in any pleasures; but that could make temptations all the more powerful in the long run. Rewarding an accomplishment is important, and will hopefully help you keep your eye on the prize. We suggest making a list of healthy rewards — like treating yourself to a movie or a shopping date — for when you have succeeded in taking steps towards your resolution. This also trains your mind to expect healthy, positive rewards instead of a cigarette or a can of soda. And after all, for such an accomplishment, you deserve it! Photo Courtesy of Stockbyte/Thinkstock