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  • Abbigale Winslow

Sustaining Motivation

We’ve all been there. It’s New Year’s Day, and you have just finished writing all of your goals for the upcoming year. It’s exciting, it’s fresh, and it’s going to happen. We’ve all also been there too on December 31st, wondering where the time went to complete that list of goals. Sustaining our motivation can be a tricky thing for everyone. From the limited experience that I have, I would argue that unless motivation comes from within it won’t last.

Getting motivated is the easy part. The hard part is keeping with that goal every day until you see it through. That is why according to, 40% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions and only 8% actually happen. Why I am not an expert at this (looking at you goal to visit Mexico), I do have some ideas on how to generate lasting motivation to propel you to your goals.

Get a vision. Put your written goals into visuals. I have a “Vision Board” in my room. On this board I have cut outs from magazines, photos, drawings and print outs of any image that corresponds to my goals. This serves as a daily reminder of what my goals will look like when I reach them. Jim Rohn once called this borrowing from the future to motivate the present.

Next, you have to brainstorm all of the ways that goal might be accomplished. Many of us (myself included) have a dream to be wealthy. How would you achieve that? For some it would be starting their own business, others becoming a highly trained professional, others real estate. There are so many different roads to achieving your dreams that you need to take the time and think through how YOU will get there.

From the ideation stage, you must work on your environment. For a lot of people, this is a hard step because sometimes our environment is out of your control. When I lived with my parents, eating healthy was a nightmare—nothing against my family! They just had the ability to be surrounded by lots of yummy things to eat and take one bite. Me on the other hand, I tend to eat the whole bag of M&Ms. So I had to change my environment to be more conducive to a healthy diet. Right now, the only sugar in Josh and I’s house is some cereal that is for diabetic lows only. Sure makes eating right easy.

Once you have created an environment that is supportive towards your goals, it is fundamental to plan out the daily habits you need to form. My little brother has a sheet written out of all of his hockey practice techniques he does on a daily basis.If you thoughtfully strategize of the small and simple steps you can take towards your goal, it won’t be a challenge of sustaining motivation at all. It will simply be part of who you are. It might be the habit of saving your spare change, waking up 5 minutes earlier, or practicing a new language for 15 minutes after dinner.

Finally, the reward. This is the fun part of your goal. Some goals are self-rewarding—like that trip to Mexico. Others, you have to make sure that the payoff is something tangible. I use to overlook this last step, saying that achieving my goal is good enough. If we truly want to sustain motivation for our goals, we need to train our brain and subconscious that working on our dreams is extremely satisfying. How you do this is completely up to you. The bigger the goal, the better the reward.

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