There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get at the start of a new year. But what do you do when all the new year hype begins to fade (as it always inevitably does). How do you stay motivated to achieve your goals? Well, that’s what I’m going to be talking about in this blog post! If you struggle to stick to your goals, keep reading for some wisdom on how to keep yourself accountable. I hope you find it helpful!
1. Do your planning
Do you know what’s basically impossible to do? Keep yourself accountable to a vague dream. Yet that’s what so many of us aim for. To achieve your goal, you need to have plans. But planning to the level of detail that’s required is uncomfortable AF – which is why we don’t want to do it.
To get to the point where you have your to-do list scheduled in your calendar, you need to have prioritized your to-do list. So not only are you faced with all of the fears and doubts you have around your goal, but you’re forced to make some really tough decisions – you need to face the reality that you can’t do a bazillion things at once (and so many of us would rather dream about doing everything than actually do something).
To keep yourself accountable, you need to have something to stay accountable to – plans! Once you’ve got your goal, break it down into all of the steps you will need to take to achieve that goal, determine how much time is needed for each of those steps, put them in the order you need to do them and then put them in your calendar! It’s a tedious process and you will constantly try to convince yourself that you don’t need detailed plans. But I promise you, it will make everything else so much easier.
2. Don’t expect to feel motivated
The secret to keeping yourself accountable is to ditch the belief that you need to feel motivated in order to achieve your goal. Obviously, if you feel motivated, that’s amazing! Do your best to keep it. But also know that motivation is fleeting and your time is better spent learning how to follow through with your plans, regardless of whether you ‘feel like it’.
I like to make my plans expecting that I’m not going to feel motivated when the time comes to follow through. This way, not only do I make better plans (that are much more realistic) but when the inevitable happens, I don’t freak out or get disheartened. Which means I can get shit done (read about how to stay consistent when you’re unmotivated here).
3. Don’t get disheartened!
One of the biggest reasons that so many of us fail to keep ourselves accountable to our goals is because we allow ourselves to get disheartened so quickly. We start eating healthy or exercising and if we haven’t seen any kind of change (and it hasn’t magically become easy) within a couple of weeks, we just give up completely!
The only problem is that while giving up gives us some temporary relief from the discomfort of persisting with something that might not succeed (and risking looking like an idiot), it’s not comfortable at all. We spend so much time struggling (because we never make it past that uncomfortable beginner’s stage) and don’t get any results because we’re so inconsistent and don’t give anything enough time.
If you’re working towards something new, expect it will take at least three months before you’ll see any kind of change. Yes, three whole months! And if that seems impossible to you, you might find it helpful to approach it like an experiment or trial (especially if you have an all-or-nothing mindset).
What goal are you working towards this year and how do you plan to keep yourself accountable? Let me know in the comments below!
And just so you know, I write more blog posts like this on my blog Smart Twenties.