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Don't give up on your goals for the new year yet! Here are 20 tips to keep you going. (PHOTO: Milwaukee Marathon Facebook)

20 tips to stay motivated

At this point, most people have already failed at keeping their New Year's resolutions. That's because motivation significantly drops after the first few weeks of a setting a new goal.

To keep you on track, even if you're not seeing results yet, I'm sharing my top 20 tips for staying motivated.

1. Make the goal reasonable

Working out every single day for at least an hour is not reasonable. Walking 20 minutes per day is reasonable. The more realistic your goal, the more motivated you'll be to show up.

2. Find a friend

When we have someone to hold us accountable, we're more likely to reach our goals. Find a friend, family member or coworker with similar goals and cheer each other on.

3. Track your progress

Tracking is a powerful tool to keep us motivated. Checking our goal off the calendar or a list is immediately satisfying, so we're more likely to show up the next day.

4. Affirm your identity

I set a goal to not snooze my alarm so I say to myself every morning, "I am not a snoozer, which means I get up immediately after my alarm goes off." Works like a charm! Fill in this sentence for yourself: "I am the type of person who ___________ so that means I _________________."

5. Reframe your mindset

Your goal shouldn't feel like a chore – it should feel like a luxury. Shift your mindset from "I have to" and "I need to" to "I get to."

6. Five-minute rule

On a day when you're unmotivated, simply showing up can be more important than how well you do something or how long you do it for. When you show up for five minutes at the gym, you're casting a vote for your identity as someone who exercises. It's not always about your performance.

7. Know your why

When you get specific about why you've set a certain goal, you're more likely to stick with it.

8. Try something new

Humans love novelty. So if your goal is to exercise three times per week, try a new studio or gym class. If your goal is to eat healthy, try a new quick and easy recipe.

9. Reflect

Reflect on your progress and celebrate your wins. Tiny victories lead to big results over time, so celebrate your efforts and reflect if your goals need adjusting.

10. Schedule it

Put it on the calendar. Schedule an appointment with yourself. When it's on the calendar, you're more likely to hold yourself accountable.

11. Specify your two choices

Instead of your choices being "I'll eat healthy" or "I won't eat healthy," make your choices two positive options. "I'll either have oatmeal for breakfast or a smoothie" is specific – and you can't lose.

12. Visualize

Visualization is key to self-motivation. If you show up each day, what will the future you look like? How will you feel?

13. Start small

The more daunting a goal, the more likely we'll put it off. We're more motivated by starting small with simple changes, because we can say, "Yes! I succeeded today!"

14. Be consistent

Consistency is the key to success. The more consistent you are, the more likely you are to reach your goals.

15. Create a routine

Place your goal of working out or eating healthy in your current routine. For example: "Wake up, shower, brush teeth, grab a doughnut and coffee on the way to work" can become "Wake up, shower, brush teeth, grab my overnight oats on the way to work."

16. Enlist the Goldilocks Rule

Your goal shouldn't be too easy or too difficult. It should be just right. Hence the Goldilocks Rule: Set a goal which is difficult enough that you make progress but easy enough that you show up each day.

17. Make it specific

"Exercise more," "lose weight" or "eat healthier" won't cut it. Make your goal clear cut so you know exactly if you're making small wins. "I will bring a piece of fruit and packet of almonds with me to work each day this week" is specific and moves the needle forward with eating healthier.

18. Make the reward immediate

Exercised for 20 minutes today? Afterward, grab a coffee from your favorite café or cross your workout off the calendar. Find an incentive that is immediate so that you want to show up tomorrow.

19. Make it public

Tell people about your goals – whether that's on social media or with your with office or family. The more people that know your goals, the more you'll feel motivated and accountable.

20. Put systems in place

Reaching your goals is never about willpower or self-control. Your success depends on your environment, routines, and habits you design and put into place each day.


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