6 ways to stay motivated so you can achieve your goals

The bad news is that motivation doesn't grow on trees. The good news, though, is that it is a renewable resource. There's no limit to the motivation we can access, we just have to learn the ways to dig through exhaustion and boredom to get to it. Here are six simple ways to keep yourself motivated so you can achieve your goals:

Be specific.

Pull out a piece of paper and write your goal at the very top in big, glittery letters. Instead of writing "Exercise more" as your goal, be specific as possible. Do you want to make it to the gym four times a week? Run a 10k come summer? Make your goal as quantifiable as possible so that you'll know as soon as you've achieved it.

Remember why you're doing this in the first place.
When the going gets tough, the tough remember why they wanted to achieve something in the first place. Underneath the goal you've written on that piece of paper, list all the reasons you want to accomplish this goal. List everything: you want to look good in skinny jeans, you want your BMI to reside in the healthy range, you want to decrease your chances of cancer, you want to be in a better mood more often. The idea is to make your list as encompassing as possible, so on the days when you don't feel like making it to the gym, for example, one of these reasons will kick-start you to get there.

Assemble a personal cheer squad.
As kids, we were always looking up to somebody. There was a sports star who was untouchable, an older sibling who was impossibly cool, or a writer we someday wanted to grow up to be. For some reason, as we grow up we stop envisioning these people to look up to. But why? We grown-ups need someone to aspire to just as much --- if not more --- as those whippersnappers. Assemble a team of role models for yourself. These can be real people who inspire you, famous people at the top of their game, deceased artists, or even fictional characters (personally, I like to sometimes imagine what Anne of Green Gables would do). When you're running low on motivation, picture your supporters gathered around you, cheering you on, and pushing you to greater heights than you could achieve on your own.

Make it fun.
Another thing we adults have a tendency to leave by the wayside is fun. If accomplishing your goal is going to be yet another chore or obligation in an already stressful, responsibility-packed grown-up life, there's not going to be much incentive to keep going. How can you make your goal more fun? In the example of exercising 4 times a week, maybe you need to think beyond the gym (those treadmills can get stale pretty fast). Can you join a soccer league, attend a step aerobics class, or hook up with a running group? Whatever your goals, it's important to make it fun for yourself to keep motivation running high.

Create smaller goals.
If you're training for that 10k, you'll need a plan to get there a little more specific than "run more." Whether your goal is writing a novel or keeping the house clean, small actionable items along the way help you grab the brass ring in the end. Break down your big goal into smaller goals. What's something you can do every day or several times a week? Make these small and doable so that you'll have a sense of accomplishment when you check them off.

Celebrate milestones along the way.

Don't just reward yourself when you achieve the big goal --- celebrate all the small steps you achieve on the way there. Make the celebrations things that forward your efforts rather than setting you back. After you've had a successful week of hitting the gym, reward yourself with fancy moisture-wicking socks or a new exercise podcast to listen to rather than a meal out. Small rewards along the way will help keep you motivated to make it to the big goal at the end.

Read more life-improving ideas on Real-Life Makeover:
5 weight-loss myths debunked
How to stop dwelling and start doing
10 really great tricks to get your portion sizes under control

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