Seven Tips to Help You Stay Motivated to Reach Your Goals

We came into 2021 with high hopes. This year had to be better. We set our eyes on the horizon and imagined this gorgeous year ahead.

Then, January happened. It was tough.

We are still feeling the weight of 2020, longing for the time when life can be normal again. We are stressed, surrounded by snow and the weight of the year has still not let us take a deep breath in. Our lofty goals seem a little ridiculous now. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not too late! 

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated this year:

Seven Tips to Help You Stay Motivated to Reach Your GoalsMake Attainable Goals

There is nothing wrong in shooting for the stars, but when it comes to staying in a productive mindset, smaller goals are better. Take into account your time, ability and resources to create goals with a higher success rate. 

Example: I don’t have the time or physical strength to train for a marathon, but I could work towards a 10k. I haven’t consistently run in months, so even starting with a 5k goal is enough. 

Set up an action plan

You’ve set up your goal, and now it’s time to work towards it. But how? An action plan will make your goal more tangible, rather than just a dream. A clear action plan will set you up for success with the steps leading you towards your goal. 

Example: On a calendar, write down a schedule, which days you are going to go on a run and for how long. 

Focus on Timed or Smaller Tasks

When I feel overwhelmed, my tendency is to shut down. My goal seems so far away, so why even bother? When this happens, a quick fix to get the ball rolling is to change your perspective. Lay out just 10 minutes to work towards your goal. Conversely, you can just do part of a task. Don’t set your expectations too high when you’re not feeling particularly motivated and find the small ways to keep moving forward. 

Example: I’m tired, but I have two miles scheduled for today. I’ll just run for 15 minutes, still putting time towards my goal but not pushing myself to do more than I can. 

Celebrate the Micro Goals

You might have not reached your goal yet, but progress is still progress and deserves to be recognized. Every effort, every task crossed off the list, every new milestone should be noted. 

Example: I ran one mile! I ran 1.5 miles! I ran two miles! Each and every one of these, deserves recognition. 

Pull Back when Necessary

It’s completely normal to lose motivation every so often. When progress is slow, when deadlines are not met, when life throws a curveball and your plan derails. Take the time to step back, look at your progress. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Adapt and shift with this insight.

Example: Today’s run was not possible because my kid needed extra care, or I pulled a muscle, or my energy level is slow. No problem! Use the time to rest and rearrange the schedule. I’ll run for two days straight, add a little extra time to my next two runs or just scratch this run and carry on to my next one. 

Remember Your Why

There’s a reason you want to reach that goal. It goes deeper than just crossing something off your to do list. When motivation is lagging, think about why you set up that goal for yourself in the first place.

Example: I want to run that 5k because it means that I’ve worked hard for myself, my endurance will be greater and I’ll be able to go on that hike that’s been on my list for so long. 

Enjoy the End

Once you reach your goal, you might feel a small void. You’ve been working so hard, for so long and now it’s over. You’ve put so much energy into your project, that when it’s done, your tank might be empty. Acknowledge these changes. After celebrating, let yourself recover, reenergize and realign. Spend some time working on things that fill your cup, before moving on to another goal. 

Example: I finished the big race and I put so much work into it, so proud! I might not have another goal right now, but I can use this time to do yoga or bike or do another activity that I wasn’t able to before. As I ponder on my achievement, I might decide to go for that 10k and keep progressing, or set up a completely different goal. 

Remember to set up goals that work for you, it’s your journey. Tell your family or friends if you need a little accountability or support.

You can stay motivated and reach your goals by keeping an open mind and doing what works for you!

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Paola, originally from Puerto Rico, came to Iowa to study at Iowa state University where Ryan, an Iowa native, won her heart and they’ve been married for five years. They now call Cedar Rapids home and work as landscape designers in North Liberty. They love watching their toddler, Olivia, grow and are excited to see her as a big sister in the Fall of 2019. Paola's hobbies include crafting, running, yoga, baking and anything handmade. She recently opened Pikosa Creations to share her creativity with the world. Her passions include family, kindness, desserts and vacations to the beach.