The first week of January is always so full of gusto and motivation, but it can be really hard to keep up even just a week or so into the month. Fast forward to the end of January and how many of us really are sticking to resolutions? This year I think it’s harder than ever. I don’t know about you but I’m bored. Like so bored my eyes itch. I’m bored of the same four walls, making my own meals all the time, the same walks and the same routine of nothingness. With nothing else to do but think, I’ve been pondering how to stay motivated through January – for literally anything.
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All this time spent to ourselves does mean you get to know yourself more than ever, and I have noticed through the first two weeks of 2021 what givesme a boost or kick up the arse, just as I did through every other lockdown.
You could want to stay motivated for anything at all, I’m not focusing on something specific. It could be a healthy eating plan, exercise, a project, work, saving money – anything. It’s not one of those ‘get up and get dressed’ to make yourself feel better type of lists, instead it’s more around the mindset to keep going without giving up.
One of my friends messaged me today having a bad day, and she’s still in bed at lunchtime. I was so relieved, it’s not just me doing that! I had a week of that last week for the first time EVER in I don’t know how long. Probably since I was a student working late nights in a bar. After the initial few days of the New Year I just lost the motivation for all the plans I had.
I feel like I’ve just taken longer to get going this year. It’s tough. I’m no professional obviously, these are just my thoughts on how to stay motivated through January. So I’m writing this for myself as much as anyone.
The 21/90 Rule
I’ve seen the concept that it takes 21 days to form a habit all over the place in New Year posts. After doing a quick bit of research it appears to have come from a psychologist called Dr Maxwell Maltz who wrote a self help book in the 1960’s.
The idea is that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so if you put your mind to something consistently for 21 days then it will become second nature in the form of a habit. The first twenty one days might be hard, but it seems they get easier. If you get to 90 days then it’s a lifestyle, and you barely even notice you’re doing it. So if you’re serious about a lifestyle change, then apply this and over time it should become the norm.
I think it sounds easier said than done, as half the time my problem is getting started in the first place. And then when you do get started if things don’t go to plan it can be easy to write it off as a lost cause and give up. But while we are in lockdown 21 days is a small proportion of that.
So here’s some suggestions for how to stay motivated through January once you’ve started, and on through the rest of the year.
Set a realistic goal and plan it out in stages
Be honest with yourself and what you know you’ll be capable of. I’m not trying to curb anyone’s enthusiasm for reaching unbelievable hard to achieve goals, I’m just saying be realistic. And if you do have a crazy, scary goal then break it down into stages, which will naturally give you your realistic goals bit by bit.
Planning things out gives the structure to stick to anything, and you’re more likely to stay on course.
Write it down, or even share it
Writing down your goal somewhere like a planner, a post it note, a scrap of paper or in your phone gives you accountability. I sometimes share mine as I don’t feel I can go back on myself if I do. Never for anything big, but the best example I can think of is Blogmas. I said mid November on my instagram that I was going to do it so then I didn’t feel like I could not do it. Nobody would care except me, but it gave me the push to stick to what I’d said.
I know some people hate social sharing, and that’s fine it’s not for everyone. But I’m not one of those people who thinks you shouldn’t. It’s your social channels so it’s up to YOU what you post, and it’s up to other people what they view. I’m not going to lie I hate seeing gym progress photos from some people, so I mute them, but I don’t think they shouldn’t share them. I LOVE seeing people’s meal prep though.
In my opinion everyone should take ownership of what they have on their feeds and if you don’t like what you see the onus is on you to do something about it. If muting on unfollowing helps you stay motivated then do it, and vice versa.
Track your habits
This was one of the biggest revelations I had to myself when I did a bullet journal trial for a month. I’ve wrote more about it in this post here, but tracking habits I either wanted to start, get rid of, or keep up really worked. I hated missing days as it bothered me when I saw it in black and white in front of me and couldn’t tick it off.
You can see where you’re going wrong and what to do about it if you track them all in one place so it really does help you stay motivated and it gives you an element of control too.
Document your progress
Keeping a diary, notes or even just a habit tracker as mentioned above is great for seeing how far you’ve come. Each week or month look back on yourself for a small boost, and tell yourself if you hadn’t started you wouldn’t be where you are now. If you have setbacks, don’t shy away from documenting those too, and why.
Tell people who support you
The people closest to you will always be supportive and keep you on the right track with praise and encouragement. Sharing your experience is going to make you feel better, and like you aren’t battling things alone. Any win no matter how small will always be met with the right reaction from the right people.
Which brings me on to…
Get rid of negativity
The only people who are negative are people doing worse than you. Block, delete, goodbye.
Manifest what you want
I’ve included this as some people swear by it, but I’m just not sure if it’s too wishy washy for me, or if I don’t fully understand it. Google has given me this definition…
What is manifestation exactly? Essentially, manifestation is bringing something tangible into your life through attraction and belief, i.e. if you think it, and it will come. However, there is more to manifestation than willpower and positive thinking. … via your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and emotions.”
Personally I don’t believe that just thinking about something is going to get you very far. I’m much more about action, putting the work in, and making the effort. But there are some aspects of it that I quite like – vision boards for example, which may be my creative side coming out.
There are a lot of resources on Pinterest about Manifesting so have a look on there if it’s something you are interested in, and these are some books I’ve seen recommended too:
when motivation through january Dwindles…
This is where things can fall down. A bad day, a bad week, being caught off guard by something, watching the news….anything could totally alter your mindset in a moment especially in current times. We are all teetering on the edge and I don’t know about you but I’m one extreme to the other within the same day right now. That’s ok though.
Rest don’t quit
Pretty self explanatory but whether it’s a rest day, allowing yourself a treat, lying on the sofa or just generally blocking everything out for a bit is absolutely fine and actually quite good for us. As long as we don’t quit. I’ve mentioned this before but I once saw a Beyoncé interview where she said if things annoy or upset her she allows herself a day to be affected by it, then she moves on and won’t cry again over it.
Life is probably a lot easier for Beyoncé but the principle is a good one. Allow yourself the time then get back to it. The longer you leave it the harder it will be.
Remind yourself why you started, or where you’re going
Dig out that habit tracker or progress record and look back for a morale boost, before focusing your attention on going forwards again.
Don’t compare yourself
No good comes from comparison, so stay in your lane, focus on yourself and don’t allow yourself to be distracted or put off by what you see other people doing. Everyone is at different stages, and everyone starts somewhere.
Change the plan not the goal
This is my favourite, as I think if something isn’t working for you it’s so easy to just give up. If giving yourself a break or rest from it as mentioned above doesn’t work then don’t allow yourself to throw in the towel completely. Not everything works, and what works for one might not for another. The important thing is to change the plan you made not the goal itself. Back to the drawing board, except this time you’ve gained experience. Change the plan not the goal.
Amen to that.
Thanks for coming to my Ted talk 😂 but in all seriousness I hope if you are struggling to stay motivated through January that this helps in some way.
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