A quick guide on how to stay motivated

Staying motivated is something that many of us really seem to struggle with. Whether it’s weight loss, learning something new, or even completing assignments, we’ve all found ourselves at a stop in some point of our lives. For many of us, school is starting or you’re beginning a new job or internship, and the last thing you need is to hamper yourself from great opportunities just because you lack the proper motivation to succeed.

One of the easiest ways to stay motivated is to set goals. While you are allowed to make long-term goals, such as losing 50 pounds or being the lead in the Moscow Ballet, it is most preferred to define a path of smaller, more realistic goals to create a trail over a period of time. Grab a journal or open up your laptop and start making a timeline of these plans so that you can analyze how everything will play out. And remember: stay positive.

Plan. This cannot be stressed enough. I remember when I was in high school, I thought it would be so easy to learn how to conduct and audition for drum major (I was a band nerd). I didn’t put much thought into it, looked up a how-to video on the computer, and a week or two before the audition, I decided it’d be best to try out for a different spot because I was not prepared. In order to actually go somewhere with your desires, you need to think them out. A journal would also be useful for this because then you’re able to see if you’ll be in need of any extra materials, how much time it could take, and establishing a budget if that’s necessary.

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Now that you have these goals written out, it’ll be much easier for you to visualize them, but sometimes you a little boost. Set reminders in places you encounter on a regular basis so that you keep your goals fresh on your mind. This can be as simple as sticking post-it notes on your bathroom mirror or the fridge. But if you’re wanting to be a little more crafty, make an inspiration board with photos, quotes, and maybe even an accomplishment chart, so you’re able to keep track of how far you’ve come.

When all of this isn’t enough and things are coming to a halt, take some time to close your eyes and visualize what you’re working toward. I grew up always struggling with my asthma, so when I was in an activity that involved running a mile three or four times a week, I was easily discouraged. As we were running, if my chest started to demand more than I was capable of giving, I would close my eyes, take deep breaths, and imagine how great it would feel to finish and be able to get some water. You can do this with anything. Think about the pair of jeans that are too small for you, now fitting like a glove, or the research project you’re working on turning out flawlessly, and how good it’ll feel when you’re finally finished with it.

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Last but not least, if you feel comfortable with this and want the extra push, have someone close to you hold you accountable for the completion of whatever you decide to pursue. It’ll keep you on track, and it’ll be a reminder that can’t be turned off on your phone or ignored when posted on your fridge. You’re more likely to keep going if someone keeps pushing you toward what you wanted in the first place.

Overall, your short-term goals should be reasonable and achievable. Finding motivation and staying motivated are sometimes the hardest part of the process. Make sure this is what you want for yourself; get determined and have fun with it!