As you probably already know, motivation isn’t always easy to come by.
No matter how many inspiring blog posts you read or motivational Instagram accounts you follow, motivation will still come and go. No matter how excited you were at the beginning of the year or how many times you’ve assured yourself that this time you’ll finally stick to your habit, motivation will still come and go.
The good news is that, although feeling motivated all the time would be amazing (and if you do, PLEASE let me know how you do it!) it’s not a requirement for success.
If you train yourself to do the things you plan to, even when you don’t feel like doing them, you can stick to your habits and achieve your goals.
I’m not going to pretend that I’ve got this completely figured out. I actually seriously struggled to find the motivation to write this very blog post (oh the irony).
But, having said that, I have figured out 6 tricks to stick to a habit (even when I’m on struggle street):
1. Do Not Give Up On Your Habit
I know this is super obvious but it’s SO important!
Giving up on a habit is a choice and when we choose to give up it’s always when we’re seriously lacking motivation. Feeling unmotivated can be a real struggle, I know, and it makes us question why we even started in the first place. But there was a reason you started and I’m guessing at some point in time you were pretty damn excited about it too.
Choose not to give up. Decide you’re going to push through it. As Iggy Azalea would say, ‘pledge allegiance to the struggle’.
And I know if you’re a perfectionist it can be extremely hard to keep going once you haven’t got that picture perfect track record, but decide to keep going anyway.
2. Read The Slight Edge
Stop reading this post, go to Book Depository or Amazon or wherever you get your books and buy The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson right now.
I’m just going to let you know now that I find it really hard to articulate exactly why a book is SO good and SO worth reading, but this is definitely one of those books.
Whenever I want to skip something ‘just this once’ I just think of this book and I decide I won’t skip it. This book taught me that what I do today does actually make a difference.
It taught me that the power of small, good decisions repeatedly made should not be underestimated.
And it is the only book I’ve ever read that has hit this message home (and I’ve read quite a few).
3. Schedule Your Habit
Besides reading The Slight Edge, scheduling the important stuff into your day is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself going when you have zero motivation.
We often struggle to stick to a habit because we rely on how we feel.
So when I want to actually keep doing something (instead of just doing it for a few weeks when I’m all excited and then giving up) I schedule it in. I make a set time for it and I stick to it as much as humanly possible.
In this post I shared my morning routine. I do it as soon as I wake up and if I know I need to wake up early in the morning, I wake up earlier to do it.
I’m not always perfect but, by making it the very first thing I do everyday, I do it 9 times out of 10. I know (from experience) that if I just try to do it at some point in the morning, it doesn’t get done. I push it back and push it back again until it’s too late and then I lose momentum and find it even harder to do it the next day.
But if I do it first thing in the morning, it gets done.
I do the same thing for the gym. I know I’m not always going to feel like going so I’ve scheduled it in – I go on my way home from work (at 8pm). I’m not always perfect with this but going at the same time everyday, instead of going whenever I can ‘fit it in’, makes it so much easier to stay on track!
I’ll admit, it can be hard not to just pull out some excuse to change your plan and do it at a different time, and that’s why where the next 3 things in the list come in!
4. Small Wins
I’m sure you know how hard it feels to get back into doing something after you’ve had even a couple of days off – it seems almost impossible. And that’s why small wins are so important.
Doing something, anything, towards achieving your goal (even if it is the teeniest tiniest thing) will give you momentum.
I had a month off my morning routine and it felt crazy hard to get back into it (especially since I’ve made my routine so long). So I just started by doing a tiny bit. For the first few days I just did the 5 Minute Journal. After that I added in reading 10 pages of a book. Once I’d been doing that for a few days I felt like I had my momentum back and I was able to get back into my routine.
So choose the quickest, easiest thing that will get you towards your goal and get it done.
5. Surround Yourself With The Right People
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’ and I believe it’s 100% true.
If you’re spending time around people who don’t believe in you you’re only giving yourself as extra obstacle to overcome (and it’s already hard enough as it is!) We already have enough self-doubt, there’s no reason to have other people feeding it to us too.
I think it’s really important to take responsibility for who you spend your time with.
I know that you might not be in a position where you can choose who you live with or who you work with or any of that, but there are ways to surround yourself with the right people.
Follow people on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook who are working towards the same things as you.
Listen to podcasts and audiobooks.
And be selective with what you tell the people that aren’t supportive (I know it’s great to get advice but often the people that tell us we can’t do things only say that because of their limitations, not ours)
If there are people who laugh at you for trying something new or tell you that you’re just not ‘the kind of person’ who can do it or that you’re ‘too lazy’ – don’t share your goals with them. Don’t share what habit you’re thinking of starting.
If there are people that put you down because they ‘don’t want you to get hurt’- don’t share it with them. Just talk about other stuff.
And if there are negative people that you’re choosing to spend time with – stop. You don’t have to cut them completely from your life but for every hour you spend with them you’re choosing not to spend an hour with someone else, and that someone else could supporting and encouraging you and helping you become the type of person you want to become.
6. Find An Accountability Buddy
This flows on from the last one and is one of the best ways to stick to a habit when you’re really lacking motivation.
For whatever reason, keeping a promise we’ve made to someone else is usually a whole lot more motivating than keeping a promise we’ve made to ourselves.
So finding an accountability buddy – someone that will hold you accountable to your habit – can be so, so powerful.
If you can, try to find someone who will be encouraging and supportive – someone who will make sure you do what you say you’re going to do – that you won’t end up coming to resent because they’re nagging you all the time (depending how good you are at staying on track).
Ideally, it’ll be someone who wants to create the same habit as you and if they can do the actual thing with you (like going to the gym) then even better! But if you don’t know anyone who’s trying to do the same thing as you – just find a supportive friend who can check in with you. And if you can’t find one in the flesh, look online! There are seriously so many people out there who want to support you!
What do you do when you’re lacking motivation?
So there you have it – the 6 tricks to stick to a habit.
What are your little tricks that keep going when you have no motivation?
Don’t forget that comments are always welcome and appreciated – I’d LOVE to hear what you have to say!
Your blog is seriously my favorite! I’ve found that rewards always motivate me to keep going, like I told myself if I blogged 2x per week for a month, I’ll buy myself this jacket I’ve been eyeing up. It definitely makes me stick to my goals haha. And I just ordered The Slight Edge from the library!
Aww thanks so much (you are far too nice)!
Yes I love rewards too (should have written that haha) I’m thinking maybe I should do exactly the same thing with my blogging goal too, that’s such a good idea and I’ve got a loooong wishlist of things I want to buy! Thanks for the suggestion 🙂
And let me know what you think of The Slight Edge!
I needed this! Love your blog! New Follower!
Thanks so much for the love!
Great post as always, lovely! I’m a big fan of making myself accountable to others (I hate letting people down so it’s pretty effective for me) as well as doing little things every day to work towards my goals. If I find that I’m not doing something I think I need to be doing, I look at what I want to get from it. I think often times we get upset with ourselves for not being motivated, only to find that the reason we aren’t motivated is because the goal needs tweaking (e.g. if you hate running you’re probably not going to be motivated to do it, so maybe a cardio class is a better option) or that we aren’t emotionally invested in it. If there’s something I really want, I make a checklist of small, actionable goals that I can take to get there. Nothing is more satisfying than checking it off!
Hey Alex 🙂
I totally agree with you!! I’ve definitely found that when I’m really struggling it’s because I either haven’t got a really strong personal reason to keep going or I have some limiting beliefs that make my self-sabotage so I have to figure out what they are before I can keep going (and motivation isn’t really the problem). Such a good comment and I’m a huge believer in playing to your strengths instead of trying to fix your weaknesses. Love it 🙂
What a great post! Motivation is especially hard to come by after the holiday season, whether it’s back to school or work or whatever – exactly what oyu said, it’s hard to get BACK into routines.
I try to decide on specific alternatives to things that I default to, but that make me feel like a slug. For example, instead of settling in front of a TV when I’m tired but want to be entertained – I read a book, which feels way better than watching TV sometimes! It makes it easier to remind myself when I already have a set alternative to go to!
Thanks so much for sharing! I LOVE your idea of having a fixed alternative for something because it is so easy to just fall back into what’s comfortable! I definitely need to add a little more of that into my life 🙂
Hy Sam! This article was exactly what I needed; I’ve gone over it twice! I recently started my own beauty-related blog, I’d love for you to come check it out! X
Josune, Your Beauty Script
Thanks so much for your lovely comment, I’m so glad you found it helpful! Your blog is gorgeous 🙂
I just discovered your blog, and I am so excited about it! I am preparing to take my LSAT to get into Law School in two months, and I have had no motivation to study whatsoever. I just ordered the Slight Edge and I cannot wait to start reading! I am looking forward to putting your tips to good use!
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