Use These Six Steps to Motivate Yourself to Change
As the New Year approaches, are you looking to make a change?
Are you ready to retire an old habit and replace it with a new,
healthier way of living? Here are six tips for motivating
yourself to make new, life-enhancing choices in the coming year.
1. Engage Your Imagination. Since motivation always follows
imagination, take time to visualize yourself joyfully engaging
in your new, chosen behavior. For example, if you want to begin
exercising more regularly after work, start envisioning yourself
exercising and feeling fabulous. Picture how good it feels to
move your body after a mostly sedentary day at the office.
Imagine yourself feeling fit and vigorous, brimming with
vitality and enjoying the whole experience. The more you
practice your new behavior in your mind's eye, the more inspired
you will feel to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
2. Take Baby Steps. Begin with little changes that are
reasonable. For example, if you are currently a couch potato,
don't expect yourself to suddenly begin exercising for an hour a
day. That's just a set-up to fail. It's much better to start
small, and gradually build up to an hour a day. A reasonable
goal might be to begin exercising three days a week for twenty
minutes at a time. As this gets easier, you can include more
days, and make your exercise sessions a bit longer.
3. Use Positive Self-Talk. Remind yourself that a journey of a
thousand miles begins with a single step. Focus on where you are
going--not where you have been. Self-criticism is not
motivating--rather, it is paralyzing. Speak to yourself in
encouraging ways. Pat yourself on the back for being willing to
try to establish new, healthier habits. Focusing on how you
could have or should have changed sooner is simply a waste of
energy. Celebrate the fact that you are making a positive change
4. Find a Buddy. You don't have to do this alone. It can be very
helpful to team up with someone else who is trying to make the
same changes that you are. Join a support group, or find a
friend with similar goals. Make a commitment to check in with
each other daily by phone or email to hold each other
accountable and to offer encouragement.
5. Be Gentle with Yourself. You will, at times, slide backwards,
disappoint yourself, and fail to meet your own expectations.
Don't let a little backsliding dishearten you. Remind yourself
to take it one day at a time. Tomorrow is another opportunity to
practice your new, healthier lifestyle.
6. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others. You will always find
someone who is farther along the path than you are. Keep your
focus on your own progress, rather than on how you measure up to
others. Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time and
energy, and only leads to discouragement. It really doesn't
matter what anyone else is doing. What matters are the choices
you make today to live a better life!