When trying something new, for instance, a new exercise program, a new daily habit of waking up earlier, or a new diet, you often feel that intense spark of motivation. This gets you going, makes you excited about what it is that you’re starting and hypes you up to put all your effort in. Yet, somehow, after the new thing becomes not so new anymore, your motivation drops off and you find yourself making excuses not to get up early, not to go to the gym that day, or telling yourself that the extra serving of ice cream isn’t really that bad. How can we stop this from happening though?
If motivation is what gets us started, discipline and commitment are what allow us to continue. So many people rely solely on their motivation to keep them going on new endeavours that they start, but the problem with this is that motivation is fickle. It comes and goes as it pleases, and is not reliable in the least. In order to see results with what you are starting, you must commit to making it a habit. Habits we do automatically, we no longer think about them consciously as a decision to make. If we manage to turn our motivation for a task into discipline for always completing that task, then we are on the right track to make progress with our goals.
For many people, this occurs over and over again with exercise programs. They start off so motivated to be in the gym 5 days a week, and then after one to two weeks, that motivation drops off, until they find themselves paying for a gym membership 6 months later that they hardly used. I’ve been a slave to this situation before. I have tried to start new things often, especially in the gym, only to find myself no longer excited to do them, so I stopped. This year, however, I managed to turn my gym motivation into commitment, so that now I don’t even think twice about going each day. One way that I did this was by starting small.
If you take on a giant task to begin with, it is easy to say that it is too hard, make excuses, and then abandon it. If you make that task smaller, it immediately becomes much more manageable. I started with three days in the gym a week, and as I got accustomed to this, it increased to four, and now to six, which I find completely manageable due to slowly building it up. So, whatever goal you have, start small and then slowly increase it when you feel like the first steps have become a habit. This is a surefire way to keep you going if you have something new you want to achieve.
After you’ve mastered this, seeing results can also be a great thing to focus on to keep you disciplined. This doesn’t just include physical results – maybe you’ve changed your eating patterns and feel much better with more energy, or maybe you’ve been more productive as a result of getting up earlier. By focusing on these positives, you can see why what you originally decided is worth it, and this can help you to want to continue with it. If you find you aren’t seeing results, maybe you need to tweak your processes. Changing something up can also renew your motivation, and start the whole process over again!
So, if you find your lack of motivation leaves you hanging on every new endeavour, then try to remember to start small, and focus on the results! Create that constant commitment and it will no longer be a burden to you!