Cultivating long term motivation and engagement is an ongoing challenge. As we grow and change, so do our goals. Here’s our top 5 tips to keep up momentum.
Often we wait until we’re told our lifestyle is causing health problems before changing. Being reactive like this, rather than proactive, is a default setting for many of us. Sometimes the future and our future selves seem abstract and we tend to favour living in the now.
When it comes to staying motivated for the long term, we need to embrace the concept of our future-self and long term thinking. Naturally, we all change over time, but have you considered the direction you want to head in? What do you want your life to be like in 5 or 10 years’ time, and what are you doing today to make it happen?
1. Progress report
If you’re at the end of your journey with Healthier You, you’ve done it, racking up many weeks of attainable, sustainable lifestyle changes. Go you! First up, let’s reflect a little. Ask yourself how far you’ve come in terms of knowledge, understanding and actions. What have you learnt? What worked and didn’t work for you? Have you made social connections? How do you feel? By doing this you can observe the change that your consistent efforts have brought about. Practice self-gratitude. Be proud of yourself. And now what?
2. Reassess your WHY
At the start of your journey we asked you to think about the reasons you have for wanting to change your lifestyle — your WHY. Reflect on your WHY now. Has it evolved and changed? Embrace the changes you’ve made and consider if it’s time to write down a new WHY that will take you towards new goals with a renewed focus.
3. Setting ambitions
Setting ourselves short-term and long-term goals is a powerful way to be in control of our lives and set ourselves in the right direction on the path we want. They can help us align our actions with our visualisations for the future, making it more likely to come to fruition. Realistic goals and ambitions can motivate us to reach our fullest potential and give us the capability to assess our progress on the journey. Remember to set yourself 1% progress experiments. Write them down and pin them somewhere you’ll see them daily.
4. Develop long term thinking
The more we engage in long term thinking, the better we get at it and the more natural it becomes. Our dreams, wants and desires – our WHY – change over time, and so our life ambitions will too. Reflect on the different areas of your life, where you are now and how you want to be in a year’s time. Think about your goals and what you value. You can then work backwards from here to make changes and instill habits that will get you there.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How do I define success? Are there other areas I have developed or accomplished in?
- Do I feel healthy and full of vitality? Am I overweight? Am I fit?
- Have I learned new skills or developed new ideas?
- Do I have a sense of purpose in my life?
- Are my relationships strong and benefiting me? Have I made new connections?
- Am I satisfied with my career path? Do I want to change paths?
5. Plant some seeds of change today
What can you do now that your future-self will thank you for? Try to do something daily, weekly and monthly that will help you 6 months, 1 year and 5 years down the line. Just as a constant drip of water can fill a bath over time, small changes can make a big difference towards your goals and future self. Try planting these little seeds. As with everything that needs to grow, they’ll require a little time and energy before they bloom and bear fruit.
- Get up earlier to make time for meditation or journaling.
- Try a new way of moving every week.
- Do some admin you’ve been putting off.
- Enrol in volunteer work.
- Seek constructive and kind feedback at work and home.
- Move a little more each day.
- Eat well and explore new, nutritious foods regularly.
- Make a drink and take it out in a flask, saving pennies instead for a future adventure.
If we try to make sure the majority of what we do day to day lines up with the big things we want in life, we’ll make constant progress. This can lead to a sense of contentment and happiness as we can enjoy being in the now, and also have the sense of security that we’re progressing towards a positive long term future too.
By taking the time to evaluate our progress, our WHY and our ambitions, we can start to look at our lives with a long term perspective and continue making small changes to keep us heading in the direction we want to go in. You’ve come so far. You’ve got all the tools, knowledge and understanding you need. You’ve got this. Onwards and upwards!