Most people have a health, fitness, or nutrition goal in mind that they would love to achieve.
It could be losing a few pounds, preparing for an athletic event, getting healthier, or just feeling more confident.
In order to achieve health and fitness goals we must change our habits. And to commit to getting started on a new goal or habit, self motivation must be high. For this reason learning how to motivate yourself is an important life skill!
But what if your motivation is lacking?
How can you increase motivation so you can get started on the goal that’s important to you? Are there ways you can motivate yourself to start working out or eating healthier?
Fortunately, there are!
This post will lay out several methods to help you increase your motivation and confidence to start a new habit or a goal, even though you might not feel ready just yet.
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What Causes Lack Of Motivation To Start A Goal?"Procrastinating on something important is choosing to delay a better future." – @JamesClear #AtomicHabits Click To Tweet
So why would anyone choose to procrastinate on a goal that’s important to them, thus delaying a happier, healthier and more confident future?
There are many reasons that a person might be hesitant to start a new habit or goal. Many people might say that the person is simply “making excuses”, but I believe there’s more to it than that.
When it’s hard to start a goal – especially if it’s a goal that’s important and meaningful to someone – they aren’t just making excuses.
In my opinion, this procrastination is evidence of an underlying problem that needs to be solved, so that the person has the confidence, motivation, and tools to get started on their goal.
Below are just a few of these problems which might lead to lack of motivation, and cause someone to procrastinate on a goal that is important to them.
Not Sure Where To Start
When starting a new goal, people may feel overwhelmed and unsure about where to start.
If this is the case for you, check out my step-by-step goal setting process which will help you form a plan of attack!
Fear of Failure
Many people have tried to adopt a habit in the past and were unsuccessful. This can cause a pretty strong fear of failure.
The best way to overcome this fear, is to start with small goals to build your confidence back up.
Adopting a growth mindset can also help you treat past failures as learning opportunities so that you can be successful the next time around.
Lack Of Knowledge Or Skills
Some people may feel that they lack the knowledge or skills needed to successfully form a new habit.
Maybe they don’t feel they know how to workout or eat properly to achieve their goal.
If this is the case for you, it might be a good idea to do some reading or even take a class! This will help you feel a little more confident in your skills so that you’re ready to tackle your goal head on.
It’s Not The Right Time
One of the most common reasons I hear for delaying getting started on a new goal is that the timing is just not right.
Generally these people already have a lot going on in their life, and they aren’t ready to take on a new habit. Instead they tell themselves that after _______ ends, I’ll have more time, or things will be easier.
Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. Things always continue to pop up unexpectedly. That’s just life.Chinese Proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." Click To Tweet
The same is true of healthy habits! Don’t delay getting started, even if it doesn’t feel like the perfect timing.
My advice to these people, is to just go ahead and start now – but only take on what you can manage. There’s nothing wrong with starting small – we’ve all got to start somewhere!
How To Motivate Yourself To Start A New Habit
The following activities are designed to help you overcome the fears and apprehensions leading to your procrastination when it comes to starting a new goal. They are meant to increase your motivation and readiness to tackle a new goal or habit.
List The Pros And Cons Of Starting Your Goal Or Habit
The purpose of this activity is to see where you’re at in terms of readiness to start a new goal.
Once you’ve got a goal or habit in mind, write down as many pros (benefits) and cons (drawbacks) as you can think of for getting started in a good old fashioned list.
Once you’ve finished, compare how many pros you wrote down versus how many cons. Is one column longer?
If you see a lot more pros to starting your goal, you will likely have more motivation to do so!
On the other hand, if you have a lot more cons than pros, your motivation is likely to be very low.
If you find that your pros column is short, I would recommend doing some research to learn more benefits.
For example, if your goal is to walk everyday, then search “benefits of walking” on Google and see what it comes up with.
If any of these benefits appeal to you, then add them to your list!
What Is Your Why?
Our “why”, is the reason(s) behind wanting to adopt a new healthy habit or setting a goal.
This “why” can tell us a lot about our motivators to make a change.
- Why do I want to achieve this goal?
- Why is this goal or habit important to me?
Grab a pen and paper and answer these questions in as much detail and with as much honesty as you can.
Check out the following post if you’d like to learn more about the different types of motivation and which are best for sticking to goals long-term!
Answer The Following Thought Questions To Increase Motivation
The next part of this post provides a series of thought questions to help you reflect on your current situation.
These questions are designed to help you overcome fear, take action, and imagine how your life would be different, for better or worse, based on your decision to either start working towards your goals, or to continue as you are.
Make sure you take the proper time to reflect on these questions. If you’re feeling stuck, it can be better to set them down and come back to them after you’ve had some time to think.
Imagine How Your Life Would Be Different If You Achieved Your Goal
Ask yourself, “How would my life be different if I achieved the goal or habit I have in mind?”
When answering this question, think about what you would be able to do if you achieved your goal that you can’t do now.
Think about, how you might feel, both physically and emotionally, if you achieved your goal.
Take about 5 minutes and answer this at length. Use your imagination and really try to FEEL how things would be different for you. Write it all down.
Imagine What Your Life Would Be Like In A Few Years If You Don’t Start Your Goal
The next question to ask is, “What is the cost of inaction?”
With this question I want you to consider what the consequences of NOT pursuing your goal (making no change) might be in the long run.
Would not pursuing your goal effect your health, relationships, emotional well-being, career, financial situation, or other aspects of your life in any way? If so, how?
Again, take at least 5 minutes and write down everything that comes to mind.
Once you’ve completed the list, look back and decide if these are consequences you’re okay with, or whether the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action.
Use Fear-Setting To Overcome Self-Paralysis And Take Action
Fear-setting is an awesome technique that I learned about from a Ted Talk with Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week.
This exercise can be especially useful if the fear of failure is what holds you back from starting on your goal or habit. Give it a try!
How Fear-Setting Works
First, ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could possibly happen if I start working on my goal?”
This is where you finally get to let all those fears out! Write down all your concerns and worries, and when you’re done, ask yourself, “How bad would that be if it actually happened?”
Use a scale of 1 to 10, where one is a minor inconvenience, and ten is global destruction. Take some time and try and put things into perspective when assigning a number to your fears.
Finally, for each of the fears that you came up with, ask yourself, “What steps can I take to either prevent that fear from happening, or make it less bad if it does happen?”
Check out Tim Ferriss’ Ted Talk for examples of how to use the Fear-Setting method to take action.
What Would Make You Feel Ready To Start Your Goal Or Habit?
Finally, our last question is, “What would make you feel ready to tackle this goal?”
It’s important to be really honest here. Think about what would give you the confidence you need to get started. It can be one thing, or a few.
Is it taking a class on healthy cooking? Having your mom babysit for an hour a twice a week so you can go for a run? Having your best friend work on the goal with you? Whatever it is, write it down.
Is what you wrote down something you can make happen? If so, do it!
You’re not alone if you’re feeling a little intimidated about committing to a new goal or habit – change can be scary!
If you do need a motivation boost, a little reflection on where you’re at now and where you want to go can be just what the doctor ordered!
If you want to get started on a new goal, take some time on reflect on the following:
- What are your pros and cons for starting the goal or habit you have in mind?
- How would your life be different if you were to achieve that goal?
- What would be the consequences of not pursuing your goal?
- If you were to start your goal, what is the worst that could happen, and what could you do to prevent it?
- What would it take to make you feel ready to tackle your goal?
Are you feeling the motivation yet?! If so, the next step is to set yourself up for success by setting a clear goal and making an action plan.
Share your experiences with us by commenting on the following:
- Have you ever used any of these self-motivation techniques before?
- If so, were you able to motivate yourself to get started on your goal?
- Are there any of these techniques that you would like to try, if you haven’t yet?
- Finally, are there any other methods you have used in the past to motivate yourself?
I can’t wait to hear what has worked well for you! Thank you for sharing your experiences, you never know who might benefit!