It’s a new year, the traditional time to make resolutions. Using a few of these tips, you can stay motivated towards your goals – whether it be improving your health, your mind, or your emotional and mental wellbeing.

Set Realistic Goals

Goal Setting is a balance between trying to accomplish tasks that are very difficult and those that are so easily attained that they don’t provide any sense of self-worth or achievement.

Your goals should be specific. For example:

  • Walk 30 minutes three times a week
  • Take an art class
  • Volunteer at a local organization
  • Practice a musical instrument for an hour a week

You should have a clear idea as to why you have set these specific goals. If you aren’t sure why you’re doing something, you may struggle to stay motivated. You must accept and understand the importance and validity of what you want to achieve. However, don’t set too many goals, which will only lead to frustration from those not achieved.

When you begin creating your plan, identify the resources you will need to accomplish it. Where can you find an art class? What organizations should you research when you consider volunteering? Do you have the correct footwear and clothes to walk in? Is there someone who would walk with you?

Increase your Accountability 

Having a spouse, relative, or friend who is aware of what you have decided to accomplish can help you stay motivated as well. They can act as a cheerleader when you are struggling, and help you remember why you chose those goals.

Start a Daily Routine

There is power and success that stems from a routine. Planning your day helps you overcome the frustration of trying to figure out your day every morning. An example of a routine – begin with a cup of green tea and a light breakfast, then reading a book for 20 minutes, performing some light exercise, then planning a healthy lunch, and calling a friend or relative. The point is to have a routine in place that carries you along.

Your routine can be altered to fit your needs or schedule, but having some prior direction in mind is a good start. To help keep you on track, jot down some reminders about your plans.

If you follow a healthy routine long enough, you can develop the healthy habits that you desire.

Create a Vision Board 

Vision boards are a motivational device consisting of a collage of images and words that represent goals and dreams.

For example, if you want to begin exercising, your vision board could include a photo of someone riding a bike. If you’ve resolved to eat more nutritious food, a photo of a vegetable garden would help remind you of that goal. You can also add motivational sayings, or single words that remind or inspire you about your goals. The idea is to visually attach your emotions to what you have created on your vision board as a clear and powerful reminder of what you want to achieve.

Let Go of What is Weighing You Down 

As you age, it may seem that you have less and less control over your life. Diminished health, the loss of loved ones, loneliness, economic challenges, and bad news around the world seem to always be prevalent. All of these things can affect your ability to stay motivated, even though they are often beyond your control.

To counter their negativity, you must retrain your thinking. That doesn’t mean denying reality or burying your head in the sand; rather, it means looking for the positive aspects in your life. All you have to do is look for them.

Be Positive 

Having a positive attitude helps you cope with stress, which can have harmful health effects on your mind and body, and be a huge motivational drain.

Periodically evaluate your mindset throughout the day. If you find that your thoughts are predominantly negative, consciously try to put a positive spin on them.

For example: If you anticipate failure because you’ve never done something before, consider it a learning opportunity. Remember, you still have capabilities and resources you can explore. You are stronger than you may believe.

Find Humor 

Watch a funny movie. Listen to a comedy routine. Laughter is associated with a positive mood, increased life satisfaction, and an engaged life. It also provides energy that fuels your ability to stay motivated.

Find Positive People 

The people you spend your life with greatly influence your thinking and your attitudes. Positive people will motivate you to do things, make you happier, and instill a feeling of connectedness and gratitude for the life you have.

Don’t Be Afraid to Learn New Things 

Do you hesitate to try new things because you fear failing? A willingness to learn is a choice that exposes us to the challenges of dealing with something unfamiliar to us. But learning should be a lifelong pursuit. It provides joy, an increased depth of understanding, and appreciation for the world around us. It can also be pleasantly addictive.

Pursue goals and experiences that inspire and motivate you in positive directions. Life is about moving forward.

Take a look at Bethesda’s blog for more articles about meeting your health and wellness goals.