We’ve all been there before. It’s the start of a new year, so you set some lofty goals for the year. You tell yourself it’s finally your time, you can be a whole new you. Then you start out full force, overhauling every aspect of your life.
But then comes the end of January. And that initial enthusiasm is starting to fizzle. Sound familiar?
I see this cycle in my clinic day in and day out. One of the most difficult aspects of my work as a physical therapist is helping my clients maintain motivation to meet their health goals.
The cycle almost always looks the same. When someone first adopts any new health practice, there is initial positive progress. And then a plateau. Which is normal.
And this is when it gets tough. Plateaus happen on our way toward reaching any goal. And they make us want to stop because the effort to change doesn’t seem to amount to anything. But the only way to get past the plateau is to keep moving forward.
It doesn’t end there though. Once we get past the plateau and make progress, we have to move the goalposts by establishing a new set of goals. That’s how we keep growing.
The whole process can be discouraging. But it doesn’t have to be. We all struggle with our motivation once in a while. It’s perfectly normal. But getting ourselves out of a rut always depends on changing our perspective.
Here are a few suggestions to help you maintain motivation to meet your goals when you feel like it’s slipping away.
Setting realistic health goals starts with having a why in mind. Make sure you never lose sight of the why. Your reason for getting healthy is what will get you out of bed in the morning and out for a walk when you just don’t feel like it.
If we set goals without a purpose, we have no hope of reaching them. The big picture is what will drive us at the end of the day.
So start to regain momentum by reminding yourself of why you are making changes and working toward goals in the first place.
Adding variety to your routines can make reaching your health goals more fun. If you have a normal walking route, try a different one. Add some play into your routines. Laugh a little, this should be fun.
The process of establishing healthy habits is dependent on routines. But at some point, we need to add variety to keep ourselves motivated to keep going.
And adding variety can also help you step outside your comfort zone, further helping you grow and making it more likely that you’ll reach your goals.
Accountability partners will help you not only continue to show up but encourage you when you need it the most. Find others who are on the same journey as you and hold on to them closely.
An accountability partner could be a friend or family member with similar goals, a group within your community, or even a coach. The more you share your goals with others and find more like-minded individuals, the more likely you set yourself up to reach your goals.
So get yourself through a plateau by building an accountability team. It is true that you are the five people you surround yourself with, so start to set yourself up for a healthier life by spending time with motivating individuals.
If you’ve ever struggled to maintain motivation to reach your goals just know you aren’t alone. Everyone goes through this at one point or another. But in order to accomplish anything great, we need to keep going. Never lose sight of your why, have fun along the way, and make sure to surround yourself with others who will motivate you.
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