“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
When was the last time that you were working on a goal, project, or habit that got stopped due to a reason such as lack of motivation, illness, or increased workload?
Starting habits, goals, and projects can be difficult, but keeping them going can be even harder. Often times, our motivation tends to fade, as unexpected challenges tend to creep in and we aren’t seeing the results as soon as we’d hoped. We make excuses, put our goal off, and before we know it we are back to where we started. So how do we keep the momentum and stay on track?
We keep going. There are times when there is an emergency or a health condition that stops your progress and is beyond your control, but we’d like to keep the momentum going to the best of our abilities. After all, you put in the time and energy to begin, why quit now? Did you miss a day? If we are lucky, life goes on and we get another day. The next day, get back to it and keep going. Over the course of a year, missing one or two days doesn’t change much. It’s what you do consistently that counts. So if you want to get results, if you want to get the progress you deserve, keep it up and the reward will follow.
If it helps, try keeping a chart of the days that you do the task. After you do the task or habit for a few consecutive days, you will build up a streak. Think of the streak like a new high score, like you are on your own personal leaderboard. Don’t settle for your first high score. Build it up for as many days as you possibly can. Make your high score as high as you possibly can by doing your habit every day. Depending on your habit, you might also want to incorporate rest days, like if you have an exercise habit. If your habit includes rest days, make sure to note that ahead of time and write down how many rest days per week you plan on taking so you don’t let excuses take over. This method not only becomes a fun way of keeping up the habit, but the bigger the streak gets, the more motivation you get to keep going. After all, you wouldn’t want to ruin your biggest streak ever just because you are tired.
Like with any task, excuses are bound to come up, so be ready to knock them down. Determine why you are doing this task, goal, or habit. What do you want to get out of it? What’s your ultimate intention? Clearly write out your intention on a piece of paper that way you have a reminder when times get tough. The more reasons you have, the more motivation it will provide you with to help later on, so write down as many as you can think of. Instead of completely ignoring your excuses, be mindful of them. Acknowledge they are there, and make them move out of the way. Make a plan for when excuses come up. Write down your popular excuses, and come up with effective comebacks. If your excuse is that you are tired, drink some water or take a walk to gain some energy then get to the task. Use the same pattern to address your other excuses.
Better yet, see if you can turn your habit into something fun. Sometimes a change in mindset is all it takes to make the task more meaningful and rewarding. For example, instead of thinking about the fatigue and discomfort during a workout, think about how amazing your body is to be able to perform this task for you.
When we come up with a fun and motivating way to keep with our habit, it is a lot easier to complete each day. Keeping a habit going can present challenges, but if we have strategies to deal with these challenges and plan ahead it can make it a lot easier. When all else fails, just keep going. Success might be just around the corner.
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