How To Get Motivated for Change

New Year’s resolutions actually tap into a very strong human impulse to create start-over points in our lives and to use them to motivate improvements that we wish to incorporate into our regular lives.  Internet searches for items like “diet” and “gym” that may be prompted by a desire to do something healthy show increased activity around the first day of the year and of the month, as well as other holidays, and even on Mondays.  The motivation for change is there, and it’s urging us to move forward.

However, we all have the experience of resolving to do something and then being unmotivated to follow through.  Month after month, year after year, the same resolutions, the same high hopes and then the same drop in motivation after a while.

How can we build up the motivation needed to make a resolution into a new healthy habit for life?  Here are some tips:

  1. You are already perfect. Start from a point of self-love, not self-despising. The reason you want to make a change is to be in a better place to enjoy being you. Don’t put yourself down, and don’t scold. This new resolution is going to be carried out this time, because you’re good to go..
  2. Put the new resolution in context. How will the change you want to make fit into your larger goals and purpose of life? If there is something pulling you forward into a clear, desirable future you have more reason to pursue it. If it’s just something “everybody is doing” or “my Mom wanted me to…” then it may be hard to work up your own inner motivation for that new habit or change.
  3. Make it play. Take some time to look inward and consider the question “what does motivation feel like?” Many people find that motivation comes from an inner childlike impulse to play, to explore, to be enthusiastic about life. Don’t hush the inner child; let them out to play! Finding ways to make the change we want into a game or treasure hunt can be a good way to increase motivation.
  4. Give it time. Establishing a new habit takes several weeks of regular effort. At first, you will not always follow through, but give yourself permission to have a few false starts. Just get back up and start again whenever you need to. It will be months, maybe, before you suddenly notice that you have established a healthy habit. That’s when you can celebrate!

Change is hard, there’s no denying it.  But change is also a part of being human.  We have it in us to go where we want to go, it just takes some planning and stick-to-it-iveness.