My oldest daughter and I tested positive for Influenza A just a few days ago, so it’s the height of irony that I planned to talk about staying motivated to keep your New Years Resolutions this week. Personally, motivation is not where it’s at for me, but I think the times when we’re really “not feeling it” and do it anyway are the times when there is something of value to be offered up.
When you make goals from a place of negativity – for example, wanting to lose weight rather than to improve your health – you’re already setting yourself up for failure by engaging in deficit thinking. Undermining your own ability to change yourself from the get-go means that you’re setting yourself up to fail. While something unexpected might happen, like getting Influenza A, you still trust in your ability to improve your health over the long term.
The other thing that, I think, undermines our ability to make and keep goals at any time is the instant gratification society we live in. Our culture delivers so many things on demand, and while that’s helpful for our sanity as parents (your child’s favorite thing is never far away!), it can also make setting a goal to keep for an entire year almost impossible. After just a couple weeks and you’ve lost a single pound it’s easy to feel discouraged. Breaking down your goal into “bite-size” pieces can go a lot way toward keeping you motivated.
Finally, what can go a long way in keeping motivation is just understanding that we might fail. Cut yourself a little slack and understand that “to err is human” and your ability to forgive yourself, and others, reminds us that we also have divinity within us.