Did you set a resolution at the beginning of the year? Perhaps you made an intention to practice yoga every day, start running, reignite your self-care routine, or improve your sleep. Maybe you promised yourself you’d eat healthy and nourishing food, or that you’d stick to low or no alcohol options throughout January and possibly even beyond… Research shows that over half of us make New Year’s Resolutions each year, but that only 9% of those resolutions are kept, and 43% of us even expect to give up on our goals by February!
We get it; those cold, dark drizzly first couple of months of the year aren’t the most motivating, and making new year’s resolutions isn’t often the best way to set healthy goals for ourselves. What is important as we edge a little deeper into 2023 however, is that you’re living in a way that truly makes your body and mind feel good, and that you’re maintaining habits and routines that feed your soul. If your motivation to reach your highest potential this year is gradually diminishing, the good news is that we’ve got 5 science-backed tips to help you feel more motivated. From tracking your progress to making sure you’re acting from a place of love instead of fear, read on for five effective ways to feel more motivated right now.
What is motivation?
Before we dive into the five ways to feel more motivated, let’s look at what motivation actually is. Motivation is the driving force behind our actions, and our actions make up our habits. If you’re motivated to feel energised and upbeat in the mornings for example, you’re more likely to choose actions like drinking a large glass of water, a morning walk and a positive playlist. When you repeat those actions, they become your healthy habits – but it all originates from your motivation. The way you feel right now is made up of all the habits, actions and states of motivation you’ve felt recently. So, how does that feel?
To help you feel more motivated to act in a way that’ll help you keep up those healthy habits this year, take inspiration from these tips on how to feel more motivated:
- Track Your Progress
Our feeling of motivation increases when we can see how close we are to our goals. Having a sense of clarity about the path we’re on and the proximity to where we want to be can help keep up the momentum that encourages us to make positive decisions. Use the Do It For Yourself journal to write down your goals and plans for this year, then continue to keep track of how often you’re engaging in actions that contribute to your goals, and how that makes you feel. Want to eat healthy this year? Make a note of each time you choose a healthy recipe (you’ll find plenty in The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl and Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt) and how you felt after preparing and eating it. Want to spend more time practicing restorative yoga? Keep track of the number of practices you fit in each week. When we can see our progress in front of us, we’re much more likely to feel motivated to repeat these beneficial actions.
- Choose To Feel Good On The Inside
There are many different types of motivation, but the main two are intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to actions driven by an internal reward, such as joy, relaxation, feeling healthier, sleeping well or the simple satisfaction of it. Extrinsic motivation is driven by external rewards, such as what others think of us, money, social status or physical appearance. An abundance of research shows that intrinsic motivation is the type that leads to true long-lasting happiness, and is also the type that we’re more likely to feel motivated to stick with over a greater period of time. Take a moment to reflect upon whether your goals are driven by helping yourself feel good on the inside, or whether they’re secretly based one something external. You can use the School of Life: What Do I Really Want To Achieve? card deck to expand your ideas about which goals to follow this year; use it as a tool to help you focus on what you really need to be fulfilled so you can direct your thoughts and energy most effectively.
- Boost Your Dopamine
Often mistakenly labelled the hormone of desire and reward, dopamine is actually an important neurotransmitter primarily involved in drive, motivation, learning and curiosity. Healthy levels of dopamine encourage us to keep striving and stay focused, whilst low levels are often associated with lethargy and depression. Boosting your dopamine levels is a great way to increase your motivation, and you can do this by getting plenty of bright natural morning light (grab your running shorts and get out there first thing!), exercising (a quick 5 minute skipping rope routine is an amazing way to boost mood and dopamine levels), practicing self-massage, listening to music you enjoy, and meditating.
- Surround Yourself With Likeminded People
When we’re around people who make us feel good, this helps put us in a positive state of mind, and we’re more likely to make good decisions for ourselves. Surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good and who are on the same wavelength as you can take your habits and actions to another level. Regularly interacting with others who share similar values and goals helps keep us focused, accountable and decreases the likelihood of falling off the wagon half way through a seriously healthy and happy month. Use the School of Life: Meeting Friends card deck to make conversations with friends deeper and more meaningful. The questions in this pack guarantee our encounters will be joyful, interesting and motivating.
- Focus On Towards Not Away From Goals
There are two places we act from in life: love and fear. When we act from a place of love, this is an expansive, positive, strong and sustainable energy. When we act from a place of fear, this is a contracting, negative, weak and unsustainable energy. Living from love helps us make decisions that are honest and truly benefit us, and we can make sure we’re acting from this place by ensuring the type of goals we’ve set ourselves are the right ones. When setting goals, we can choose to work towardssomething, or to run away from or avoid something. At first, a goal such as trying to avoid chronic illness or anxiety may seem like a good idea, and it’s a good enough platform to spring from. Over time however, we spend more time than is necessary worrying about what we’re trying to get away from, and not enough time focusing on what we want to move towards. Choosing a ‘towards’ mindset however, means we have a clear trajectory, something to aim for, and we spend more time thinking about where we do want to go, rather than where we don’t. Studies show that ‘towards’ goals are more sustainable and help keep us more motivated. If you want to boost your motivation around exercise, set a goal of a certain amount of classes to practice, miles to run or a state of mind you want to experience, rather than the number on the scales or the way your clothes fit. If your goals are based around your mood, focus on actions like meditation, sacred self-care rituals, and mood-boosting activities that will bring youtowards happiness and empowerment, instead of away from anxiety. Keep your mind focused on where you’re heading to help keep you motivated.
Whether you’ve made New Year’s Resolutions in 2023, or you simply want to know how to boost your motivation, use these tips to help keep you going through the first few months of the year!