Losing motivation? It happens to all of us at times. But there are ways to keep moving forward, which means taking a hard look at your priorities this year. With the 3 P’s–prayer, preparation and planning–you can stay motivated all the way through whatever goal you’ve started, whether it’s getting fit and healthy, becoming debt-free, or traveling to a new country.
1. Start with the big picture. Pray and ask God’s vision and purpose for your life. What is it that He and you want to accomplish? Knowing the eventual goal will help you to stay on track. The clearer your vision is, the more likely you are to keep going, even when there are extremely difficult obstacles. (For me, that would be cutting down on sugar and chips & salsa, and the border still being closed of a new country I want to visit!)
Proverbs 29:18, KJV, says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
Ask yourself what it is you’re trying to achieve – and then picture yourself doing it. It starts with that vision first. Be as specific as possible. For example, since last year God has stirred my heart to travel to Guatemala. Where, exactly? Antigua, where my new friend Kim Rogers lives. So I’ve written down this vision. Right now, the border is still closed due to the Coronavirus, but I will go in God’s perfect timing.
Another example is you wanting to lose weight. Can you see yourself in your mind’s eye 25 pounds lighter? Or even 5? What about one pound?
We’ve all heard that famous Chinese proverb, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It is so true!
Several years ago, I lost 20 pounds by cutting out sodas, drinking more water, eating healthier, and walking at the track 3 to 5 times a week. It was hard, but I kept at it. Physically, I felt and looked so much better!
Then Missouri’s winter came with its usual snow and ice. So I stopped walking at the track in town and slipped into bad habits again, like drinking sodas and eating too many greasy cheeseburgers, instead of salads! But if I lost weight then, I can do it again! So can you! My friend Liz has lost 20 pounds this year by the program Octavia, which Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro attributes his recent amazing weight loss to on Instagram.
Keep the vision in front of you daily. Perhaps write it down and pin it on a cork board on your office wall.
We perform in the way that we expect to. So if we expect to fail, we do. By expecting and then seeing small successes, you’re more likely to keep succeeding.
2. Now that you’ve gotten the big picture, make sure this is YOUR goal. At first glance, that statement seems ridiculous – why would you make a goal that isn’t your own? This answer can be found most easily in asking WHY you want to accomplish this. Are you envious of constantly seeing that beautiful, brilliant woman all over Facebook, laughing in glamorous selfies, who is very successful in her online business? Just because she creates programs or membership sites doesn’t mean that’s what you need to do. Be unique you! Follow God and your calling!
If the word “should” comes up, then chances are you might want to re-evaluate what you’re doing. We often set goals because we feel like they’re something we’re supposed to do, and not because they’re something we really want to do–and more importantly, what GOD wants you or me to do!
There’s an expression that is good to remember: Stay in your own lane. You’re less likely to stay motivated when you’re on someone else’s path.
“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” – Mae Jemison
3. Next, break down the needed tasks for your bodacious goal into something manageable. We’ve all heard that expression, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” You may think, “Now that’s ridiculous! Who would want to eat an elephant?” You’d be surprised. Some Africans say they are a delicacy, along with monkey, chimpanzee, and antelope.
In fact, my husband Ray tried elephant when we traveled to Kenya, Africa, several years ago for me to speak at a women’s conference–along with crocodile and ostrich. (No thanks!). A typical forest elephant in Bangui, Africa can earn a poacher $6,000.
The point here about the elephant is to set smaller goals that you can more easily achieve, to then obtain your bigger goal. Write a to-do list with these smaller goals and include a deadline date to motivate you, such as daily to-do’s, weekly, and monthly. Then review these to-do’s each day or week. I love the feeling of checking them off! It makes me feel so accomplished!
You might feel a little overwhelmed about how you’re going to accomplish a large goal, like becoming totally debt-free. By breaking it up into smaller pieces, you build confidence and you’ll want to keep the momentum going.
Like a pro tip? Celebrate the small successes as you go. That will help you keep your motivation high. I have encouraged the writers who I’ve coached to reward themselves after they have finished a chapter, or the entire book.
4. If you’re still a little overwhelmed, get organized. Maybe you don’t feel prepared to work on this project because you lack the knowledge or resources. You’ll get discouraged and frustrated, and want to give up. Figure out what you need, and then get the job done. Hire a coach, take a college class or online course, watch YouTube videos, read a book, or ask others for help who are where you want to be. It’s easier to stay motivated when you have what you need to succeed.
5. If all else fails, remember why you set the goal in the first place. It could be that you only need a little reminder to find the fresh motivation to keep going. For example, I want to start walking and eating better, not only to lose the weight that I need to, but also to be more fit and healthy. I have this one body for this one life, and need to be healthy to achieve the purpose God has for me–speaking, writing books and blogs, and traveling all over the world for short-term missions work and pleasure. What is your “why?” Then let God take care of the “how,” the “when,” and the “where.”
Maybe you want to start a new endeavor, such as a single mom’s ministry. You’ve been a single mom, and you know it’s the hardest job in the world. (I speak from experience of being one almost 10 years!) You have a compassionate heart for women with children, who are struggling emotionally and financially. Keep that in mind as you take the steps necessary to establish that ministry in its beginning stages.
Motivation isn’t something you have to lose as you work on a project. You can keep your motivation levels high with forethought and planning. By keeping on track with your goals each day, you’ll find that motivation to guide you all the way through the job at hand until it is completed. God will help you to get there as you trust in Him!
Do you have big dreams? Do you wonder if you’ll ever get there? Check out my book, The Cinderella Story: The Power of Dreams, for sale here at Amazon.