Do you have a hard time setting goals and then sticking to them? Or what about making healthy habits? Do you struggle to stick to a plan that you’ve set out for yourself? Well, you’re certainly not alone. I would dare to say that most people simply struggle to have the drive to do it. But why do you think that is? For me, I’ve lacked the desire to workout, for example, mostly because I’m tired at the end of a long day. The solution? I try to work out in the morning. Now, that doesn’t always work with my gym’s class schedule but there are things that I can do to make it easier on myself, and choosing a morning exercise is one of them.
What about some kind of reward system? This is certainly an option, but if your goal is to exercise more, don’t reward yourself with a night out that includes pizza, beer, and chicken wings. Another reward might be that you’re only allowed to watch your favorite show or listen to your favorite podcast/audiobook when you’re on the treadmill, for example. This technique is known as pairing. And if you couldn’t tell from its name, pairing is when you take two things and put them together to help you achieve your goal.
Pairing takes the notion that your love for Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black will outweigh your disdain for working out.
What if exercise isn’t your goal? What other techniques exist to help you stick to new habits or meet a goal? If you’re trying to finish writing a novel, or even just something as simple as cleaning out your closets, you might want to try a “fresh start” as your motivation. Fresh start motivation typically occurs when you move to a new house, which makes sense because anything is possible within that space. If you’ve just started a new job, you could use that opportunity to bring your lunch to work more often. This is a great idea, especially if your goal is to spend less money. Or, maybe you could take transit to work or carpool in order to minimize the amount of driving that you will be doing.
That said, you don’t need a new home or job to have a fresh start. Simply look at Monday as a fresh start. Maybe Monday is the day that you stop smoking, or start putting together the business plan for your side hustle. Whatever it is, looking at Monday as a fresh start will help you jump over those mental hurdles.
Another thing to consider when you are working on your goals is to accept that failure is part of the process. You don’t need to get it right the first time, so long as you’re trying. If your goal is to not buy coffee for a month, and you have a day or two when you stop at Starbucks because you’re running late – that’s ok! Don’t let that day or two derail your entire progress. Take some time to recognize what happened. Re-group, and get back out there. Goals are meant to be achieved, but the path to get there isn’t necessarily linear.