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How to Stay Motivated: My 5 Top Tips

- Introduction

- 1. Understand "Motivation"

- 2. Be Honest With Yourself And Others

- 3. Keep an Eye on the Long-Term Goal

- 4. Negotiate With Yourself

- 5. Create a Path of Least Resistance

It's that time of year again!! The good intentions of January and our New Years resolutions are but a distant memory. It is cold outside, work is weighing you down and you haven't been seeing the results you wanted from your workout routine. The simple solution would be to give up and revert back to your old ways.

Look, we all struggle with motivation at times. Our capacity to push through the times we feel tired or drained fluctuates depending on many factors - physical, psychological, environmental and hormonal - so it can be tough to remain in control of it all. There are times, however, when we simply just have to get on with it, so being able to self-motivate becomes an important skill to master.

Here are my 5 top tips to stay motivated:

1. Understand "Motivation"

"A problem well stated is a problem half solved" - Charles Kettering

When we experience a lack of motivation or "drive", it is important to try to understand what the cause is. Common factors such as fatigue, low mood, depression and high-stress levels can all negatively impact your motivation levels. Some of these are easy to address, others not so much. If you are tired then a power nap can do wonders - easy. If you think you could be depressed then seeking professional help could change your life.

One interesting theory on the topic of motivation is that of "ego depletion" - with the term "ego" used in the psychoanalytic sense - proposed by American social psychologist Roy Baumeister. The theory likens the idea of willpower to that of a muscle that can be trained, can fatigue and has a limit to how much it can be used. This could explain why dieting or following a gruelling exercise regime is harder when you are mentally drained and/or have spent the day self-motivating at work or at home.

Understanding where your lack of motivation comes from is the key to regaining control of your mind and body.


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2. Be Honest With Yourself and Others

"A problem shared is a problem halved" - Unknown

Once you have identified that you are lacking in motivation, the next step is to avoid shouldering the problem alone. Honesty is the best policy. Being open and honest about your situation places you in a position where you begin to accept that something needs to change. Blindly continuing down the same path you have been taking will only lead to more of the same problems. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, and when you feel like you're up to your neck in deep water maybe it's time to change something.

Confiding in friends, loved ones, colleagues or a professional not only presents opportunities for support and external motivation but also means you will be held accountable for your actions. Besides, a friendly kick up the backside never did anyone any harm!

3. Keep An Eye on the Long-Term Goal

"Preparation for tomorrow is hard work today" - Bruce Lee

When motivation wanes, willpower can step in. Motivation is the desire to take an action. Willpower is forcing oneself to take said action and, at its essence, willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.

Eating a slice of cake won't