9 Tips to Avoid a Midwinter Motivational Slump

9 Tips to Avoid a Midwinter Motivational Slump

As the fresh-start feeling of the New Year wears off, here’s how to stay on track.

By Lorraine Allen

Most people get excited for any chance at a fresh start in life. For me, like many others, I use the beginning of a new calendar year as the perfect opportunity to at least try to make some positive changes in my life, which hopefully will lead to a greater sense of fulfillment. The issue for me, and for many others I know, too, is sticking to them. But guess what – reaching new goals is not half as hard as many of us think or feel. Here are nine ways to make sure your motivation stays strong.

1. Use the buddy system : This means finding a friend, coworker, neighbor, or relative with the same goal, and committing together to stick to it. Studies have shown the buddy system can increase people’s success at maintaining new exercise and weight loss routines significantly, and it’s so much more fun than sweating it out alone.

2. Schedule time for your new activity or new goal: Put time on your weekly schedule to work toward your new goal, and do not override it for anything else. This seems like a no-brainer, but many of us come up with lots of resolutions, when in fact we don’t have time to even start them! If there’s something you really do want to include in your life from now on, be sure to schedule it into your days the way you would doctor’s appointments, your kids’ friends’ birthdays parties, or work deadlines. If it will bring you fulfillment, it’s just as important as all of those responsibilities, and once you have the time carved out, you’re much more likely to succeed.

3. Build a fan club: Enlisting family or friends to cheer you on and help you stick to your goal is another great way to make sure you don’t forget, forego, or give up on your dream too soon. You can repay the favor by cheering them on toward a new goal as well.

4. Reward your efforts, and your progress: Making positive changes isn’t always easy and fun. If you’re aiming for something challenging, be sure to remember to reward yourself for even the smallest steps in the right direction.

5. Get it done! If your resolution is to accomplish something once and for all, like moving to a new home, or taking a class, or traveling somewhere, make the time as immediately as possible, and just do it. Now. This may require shifting many things – or everything – around temporarily, and putting very important things on hold for a bit, but that’s OK. If this is a dream or major goal of yours, remember that it will not and cannot be accomplished until you make the time for it.

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6. Build in checkpoints: If your goal is a long-term one, like increased fitness or a healthier diet, for example, mark your calendar ahead of time to make sure you stop and reassess your goal every so often. You might find that you’ve aimed too high too fast, and that’s holding you back from sticking to your resolution. You may find that what you thought would be a great challenge is in fact really easy, and you can shift your goal to make it more exciting a few months in. Checking in throughout the year will help you keep on track and remind you how far you have already come, too.


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7. Make note of progress and efforts: This can help you stay motivated and focused, and not lose steam or get discouraged. Keep a journal or notebook on changes you notice, and thoughts you have about the experience, both good and bad. Any step toward your goal is a step in the right direction!

8. Break down goals : If you’re struggling with a resolution, don’t worry! Break down your goal into more manageable baby steps, and make a realistic timetable to reach each stepping stone. It might feel like it takes longer, but it’s more likely that you’ll actually get it done.

9. Take something off your plate: Many of us have such packed schedules, it’s really impossible to squeeze in one. More. Thing! But that’s OK, because we can always take things off our plates. Even something small like one dinner a week you won't be cooking, for instance, to allow yourself the time you need to stick to your resolution, can make a world of difference. Try it!

Do you have any tips for sticking to the goals you make for yourself?

Lorraine Allen is a writer and mom to one spunky first-grader and one squirrel-obsessed dog. You can follow their delicious, allergy-friendly cooking adventures at @FeedingLina.

Image ©iStock.com/OcusFocus

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