Four Powerful Ways to Stay Motivated This Year

The first month of the New Year is coming to an end, and the motivation to stay on track with your New Year’s resolutions may be starting to wane.

You started the year with big plans and plenty of enthusiasm, but now the days have become busier, there are more distractions and the cold weather may be putting a damper on your mood. How can you be expected to stick to your resolutions when you just want to curl up and keep warm!

Keep reading to learn some tips to boost your motivation and productivity this year.

Create a Checklist

It’s been said that "inch by inch, anything's a cinch”.

Writing down our goals and breaking them up into smaller, more easily achievable tasks along the way helps keep us on track. It encourages us to continue on, and reduces the overwhelming feelings associated with daunting goals. For example, losing 15kg can seem insurmountable, but breaking that down to just 1 or 2 kg at a time is much more achievable and motivating.

A daily checklist can actually be a game-changer for sticking to and achieving our resolutions. It encourages us to do something each day toward the goal. The successful comedian Jerry Seinfeld has used this method to improve his comedy writing. He places a calendar on his wall, with each day of the year visible. Then, after he has completed his goal of writing for the day, he draws a red X over that date. This continues until a chain of X’s forms on the calendar. At this point, he doesn’t want to break the visible chain, and this motivates him to continue writing each day, thereby creating a daily habit.

Checking off daily tasks works for Seinfeld and it can work for you too, no matter what your goals are.  

The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique

Most of us have goals that we really want to achieve, but it can be difficult to take steps toward them. This could be because our primal brain tries to protect us by preventing us from doing things that feel difficult and out of our comfort zone. However, we need to push past this if we want to be the best version of ourselves. 

This is where the 5-second technique can help! This was invented by the author Mel Robbins, who wrote a book detailing how it changed her life and allowed her to achieve both small and large goals. 

Inspired by the countdown used when launching space rockets, it involves counting down when you have the instinct to do something but lack the motivation. Count backwards from 5-4-3-2-1, and then act! This doesn’t give the brain a chance to object and encourages immediate action. It’s a way to push yourself and take control of the moment and ultimately your life, in only 5 seconds.

The technique is simple, but effective. It can be used for a variety of things, like getting up in the morning, working-out, completing an assignment or even phoning someone. 

The next time you feel yourself procrastinating or resisting doing something, stop thinking and count down with 5-4-3-2-1 and DO IT!

Change Your Body Language

The way we hold our body has a big impact on how we feel and vice versa. Think about how we sit and stand when feeling tired, nervous or weak – we typically slouch and make ourselves look smaller. On the other hand, an open posture with the chest forward, head tall and arms and legs taking up space, is associated with confidence and power. 

Amazingly, research has found that adopting a “power pose” for only two minutes can actually influence our physiology. It may increase levels of confidence-boosting testosterone by up to 25%, and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol (1).

Notice how you hold yourself. Chances are that if you’re lacking motivation, your body reflects this by hunching over.

Practice changing your body language to boost your confidence and increase your motivation to meet your goals. Adopting a power pose when you get up in the morning can make a big difference to your attitude for the rest of the day. Trust us; you’ll feel like you can conquer the world after standing in a high power pose for a minute or two.

Increase Your Vitamin D

The winter season, with its cold short days, can affect us physically and mentally. The effects are especially noticeable after the busyness of the festive season has died down and we have to face our everyday lives and responsibilities.

It doesn’t help that the lack of sunlight and sun exposure during this time of year lowers our production of vitamin D. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency may cause fatigue, depression and lack of concentration and motivation – known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (2).  

One study explored the relationship between productivity and vitamin D levels in health care workers. Those with low vitamin D levels were found to be less productive at work than those with levels normal and above (3).

To boost your mood, energy and motivation try to focus on spending some time outside each day for natural light exposure. However, during the winter months this is unlikely to be enough, so increase your intake of fish, eggs, grass-fed butter and fortified dairy products. You can also talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.

So there you have it, four simple but effective ways that you can boost your motivation and productivity. Use these techniques to make this year the best yet!

Tyson Hornby