How to Stay Motivated When Doing Something New
Before you begin looking for ways to stay motivated when forming a new habit, you need to have a specific type of change in mind. It’s difficult to commit to an abstract goal. For example, saying, “I’d like to lose weight” is a little too vague.
You need to be specific amount the number of pounds you want to lose and the time frame you’re going to give yourself to establish new dietary habits.
This is not only going to help you stay on track, but also help you achieve your goals in the long run.
Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to run 20 miles a day, tell yourself you’re going to run 5mins the first day. Running 20 miles a day is such a ridiculous goal that you’re going to get so tired on the first day, you’ll never want to run again. See how that can mess you up?
This can also be applied to any of the new habits you want to build.
Want to wake up earlier? You aren’t going to be able to do it if you wake up 3 hours earlier the first day, you’ll just be groggy and tired and hate yourself. Instead wake up a few mins earlier each day and build up to those 3 extra hours.
Want to quit smoking? You aren’t going to be able to throw your entire pack away easily. Instead try something like this. Every time you buy a pack of cigs, throw 1 cig away as soon as you open it, then throw 2 away, then 3, then 4, and so on until you’ve thrown the entire pack away. Sure it takes a while, but in the end you’ll actually accomplish something as opposed to going cold turkey, which will only make you miserable.
Read on for some more tips.
Positive reinforcement is a key to successfully forming a new habit. By tracking your progress each day, you can congratulate yourself for each small step you take toward your goal. In his article, “How to Build Good Habits (and Make Them Stick)”, Gregory Ciotti refers to these small steps toward change as “Macro Goals” and directly connects achieving those goals with a process called “Micro Quotas.”
When you resolve to make some type of change in your life, it’s helpful to have a support team. You’re less likely to backslide on your committed to a new habit if you’re held accountable for your actions.
You might be able to fool yourself to a certain degree, but your family and friends are not easily fooled and won’t let you get slack with your commitment.
Small Steps Can Get You There
When you’re at the starting line for developing a new habit, the finish line may seem like a faraway destination. In his article “How to Build Good Habits (and Make Them Stick), Gregory Ciotti discusses a system he refers to as “Macro goals and Micro quotas.”
The general premise is that even by setting low quotas for daily achievements, you can and will ultimately reach your goal of establishing a new habit. Each small step you take, gets you one step closer to your goal.
Another way to stay motivated when forming a new habit is to post quotes or pictures in various places to remind you of your goal. The quotes should provide encouragement. The photos should provide inspiration.
You’ll need to post the quotes or pictures in locations where you are sure to see them throughout the day. The refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, your closet door, your desk, your computer monitor and numerous other locations are good places to add visual motivation.
If you backslide on your goal, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Put the moment of regression out of your mind and reaffirm your commitment to the new habit. You might want to give yourself a nice reward for getting back on track.
James Clear emphasized the importance of rewards in his article, “The Three R’s of Habit Change: How to Star New Habits That Actually Stick.” Frequent small rewards are a fantastic motivational tool. Just be sure the reward doesn’t negate the good habit you’re working toward. A doughnut isn’t an appropriate reward when you’re developing a healthy eating habit.
Make it Fun
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to make the journey to the new destination fun. If you are trying to get into the habit of eating healthy foods, explore new fruits and vegetables and have fun creating healthy recipes and visiting new restaurants.
If you want to get into the habit of exercising regularly, find a method of exercise that you enjoy. Walking the dog each day can be a fun habit and a great way to get some exercise. If getting organized is the habit you’re striving for, have a major house-clearing, sell your surplus and use the money you make to do something you consider fun.