It doesn’t matter if you’ve fully achieved your goal or if you’ve made slight progress towards what you ultimately want to achieve, if you’ve been implementing good habits that have resulted in noticeable improvement, you should be very proud. However, now it’s crunch time which means it’s up to you to decide what happens next. You are in control and can choose whether your newly adopted habitual behaviour will be labelled a passing fling or whether you are going to allow the ‘new you’ to become the ‘regular you’ everyone thinks of in years to come.
If you are determined to maintain the good progress you’ve made, the following steps will help you to stay on track.
Ensure your goals have value
If you’re not fully invested in your goal emotionally, it’s going to be far too easy to give up. What have you got to lose if you don’t achieve your goal? How will you feel if nothing changes? If the answer to these questions is ‘nothing really’ or ‘I’ll manage’, it might be time to reconsider whether your goals carry any real weight and adjust them accordingly. Career goals that affect family members are sometimes easier to keep as they affect other people but if your goal is for yourself, you may be tempted to let it slip away. If you find yourself in this predicament, you could attach extra motivation by linking your goal to some kind of fundraising that raises money for a charity that means something to you. That way, if your goal is to run a 5K, you won’t be tempted to quit training half way through.
Don’t restrict yourself and don’t beat yourself up
Perhaps your goal is to ditch sweet treats in favour of a healthier diet. This is a great idea, but it doesn’t mean you have to go cold turkey! If you’re used to daily desserts and munching on chocolate after dinner, cutting this down so that you only enjoy a treat on a weekend or when you’re out for dinner is still going to have a dramatic impact on your health compared to before. It’s also important that you don’t beat yourself up if you do overindulge. So what if you had one too many Maltesers at the weekend, tomorrow is a new day, so just draw a line and start again. Whatever you do, don’t let a couple of Maltesers ruin your life and don’t use it as an excuse to eat in excess and quit altogether.
Work on one habit at a time
If your goal requires you to make several sudden changes in your life, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed which will only set you back further. Avoid plastering a time limit to your goal so that unnecessary pressure is removed and instead focus on one element at a time. If, for example, you’ve decided to get up an hour earlier to go for a run before work, start by getting used to the early starts. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your body adjusts and eventually you’ll find that the early start doesn’t feel like such a pain. That’s when you can introduce the run, but again, you should start slow and work your way up.
Embrace motivational messages
Whatever motivates you, embrace it! It could be motivational quotes, affirmations (written by yourself or a friend), a ‘before’ picture or a visual goal board, but whatever it is it needs to feature heavily on the walls of your home and maybe even near your desk at work. Seeing such positive messages every day will help to create the self-belief you need to keep going and conquer what it is you set out to do.
Don’t compare yourself
We are all individuals and yet we somehow feel the need to look at how everyone else is progressing in life as if they are the benchmark for mankind. This unwelcome pressure puts you at risk of feeling like a failure, so it’s important to ignore the achievements of the world around you and focus on yourself. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to do something, much like it doesn’t matter how old you are when you get that promotion or how many countries you’ve visited by 30, what matters is that you are pursuing what you love and making progress towards whatever it is that you have set your sights upon.
Keep track of progress
If you are the kind of person who is very self-critical and unable to see how far you have come, you may find it helpful to keep a diary that tracks your progress. If your goal is related to weight loss or healthy eating, recording your weight and waist measurements will be an obvious visual representation of progress as time goes by, as will regular photographs that illustrate how your figure has changed. For fitness goals you can record things relating to how long it takes you to do something or how many reps you can achieve in a certain time, but for other goals you may have to keep a diary that outlines mini achievements so that you can easily see how far you’ve come. Whenever you’re feeling low, pick your diary back up and read through – you’ll be at amazed at how much you have achieved without acknowledging it!
Celebrate small wins
Breaking your long-term goal down into smaller goals not only makes the goal feel more attainable, it will also give you a great excuse to celebrate all those small wins you have achieved through the process. Recognising that small progress is essential for the overall picture will help you to stay motivated and you’ll feel far more positive about your situation. Your mindset will shift from ‘look how much I still have to do’ to ‘look how far I have come’, and this is a momentous realisation that will do wonders for your self-confidence.
What helps you to stay on track? Share your ideas by commenting below.