This article first appeared in Thrive Global.
Ever started out with great intentions – and motivation, only to find it lag as time goes on?
We’ve all made birthday promises, or set New Year’s resolutions, and then wondered why they keep showing up year after year. We’ve set daily intentions to be kinder, or more patient, or more productive — and sometimes these don’t even get us through the day.
The thing is motivation is a dwindling resource. It isn’t supposed to last.
We’re biologically wired to yo-yo between periods of high motivation and downtime. And people who are succeed in achieving their goals are those who know how to tune up their motivation before downtime gets a bit too comfortable.
If you’re struggling to stay on top of your game, and wondering whether your goals are even worth the effort, or doubting your abilities to achieve them, here are a few strategies to grasp back your motivation when it risks slipping away.
Connect to Your Identity
A “why” to your goals, that’s aligned with your identity, is a greatest long-term motivator. For example, why do you go to the gym even when it’s a dismally cold day? Is it because you want to be healthy for your children and grandchildren, or because you’re someone who doesn’t give up easily? What’s your goal? And the identity that underpins it?
Break Down Tasks
Focusing on the eventual outcome of our goals is fine every so often when the motivation is high. But when it’s not, the gap from where we are to where we want to go fills up fast with comparison, self-doubt, negativity, blame and shame. That’s when we need to shift our long-term gaze to the very next step, so we don’t give up on our goals.
Nourish Yourself Well
Nourishment is far more than what we put in our bodies. How you feed your mind is just as essential to stay on top of your game. When you find your motivation lagging, do yourself a favor and feed yourself a few positively charged thoughts. Or swap that inner dialogue of criticism, victimhood, and imagined fears and worries to an empowered and energized one.