How to STAY Motivated for Change
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We all face challenges in our lives. Maybe you are having problems in your finances, career, or in your marriage or with your mental health, and you have decided that it's important for you to make changes in your life. You found motivation to make the changes. You followed the steps:
· Identified what you wanted to change.
· Made a detailed, prioritized list of everything.
· Made a plan for each item.
· Kept track of successes
· Rewarded yourself for small steps of success.
· Used your support systems.
However, changes take time. You may be working on a long term project such as losing 20 pounds, or completing a college degree. The first step is to get motivated, then make a plan, and finally staying motivated.
Find Your Motivation!
Many times a goal starts with great motivation but then the motivation declines. Think about a new year’s resolution. Before the new year, many people begin to think what they want to improve for the next year. Many people decide they want to get healthy and join a health club. They identify the goal, develop a plan, and even make the membership purchase. Health clubs get tons of new memberships in December and January, but after a few weeks, many subscribers lose the motivation to stay with their goals. This can be due to lack of feeling successful, lack of the right resources or lack of motivation. The person can become stuck, which leads to lack of motivation and onset of procrastination. The original goal seems to fade away.
Maintain Your Motivation!
1. “Barrier management”. Identify the obstacles that are getting in the way. For example, if you are trying to pay off a $10,000 debt and find that your monthly plan is not working, look at what financial complications are occurring. Are you spending $5 a day at a coffee shop? Are you having to travel more for work? Is there an increase in the utilities expense for your home? Know what barriers keep you from achieving your goals - Are they short term or long term barriers? Are there ways you can change the barriers? If you are spending $5 a day at a coffee shop, can you stop or decrease this action? If your utilities have gone up, is there a budget plan offered by the utility company that could be beneficial? Knowing the barriers of what is in your control and what is not is helpful in “barrier management”.
2. Re-evaluate your goals. Are your goals realistic? Let’s use the example above. Lets say your goal is to get out of a $10,000 debt and your plan is $1000 payment a month. After 2 months you find that you are only paying $500 a month because of additional expenses. A more realistic goal would be $500 a month. When you have a more realistic plan, you will be better able to have success in maintaining motivation to achieve your goals.
3. Identify additional steps. Each successful goal has a series of small steps that lead to overall success. Completing a 4 year degree requires the small steps of completing classes, then completing the first year of school, and so on. These small steps result in the end goal of the degree. Take a look at all the steps to your plan. Are there additional steps that need to be added? Should you add more study time to bring up your grades? Should you consider taking an additional class in the summer to complete the degree earlier? If your goal is to pay off debt, should you consider taking on an additional job? These are all examples of identifying if additional steps may be necessary to complete your goal.
4. Identify additional resources. Do you need additional resources to complete your goal? If you are paying off the $10,000 debt, do you need to see if your credit card company will give you a lowered percentage rate? Or is there a loan you can take that has a lower percentage rate than on what you are currently paying? Does your church offer a free financial class?
Re-evaluating your goals and your plans can help you to acknowledge your successes and identify where your plan needs to be changed. Small steps of success help to keep motivation. When you feel you are not being successful, it decreases motivation and thus keeps you from being ultimately successful in your goal. Success is the reward system for motivation.
- Kim B.