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Motivation is what turns our ideas into action and keeps us moving toward our goals. However, achieving and maintaining a motivated state of mind isn’t always easy. So, what can you do about it?

Picture What’s Important to You

In this busy world, it’s easy to get distracted and lose track of what’s important. Take a moment to sit down and imagine what it is you want to achieve – then write it down. Research shows that when we actually put our thoughts to paper, we make a stronger mental connection to it. Make a list of reasons for why this picture is important to you, something you can go back to when you feel your motivation slipping. There are no wrong answers here.

Set One Goal at a Time

Once you know what it is you want to accomplish, figure out what steps are needed to accomplish it and pick one to start. Focusing on too many things at once dilutes efforts and can be a major motivation killer. Instead, focus on just one achievable goal at a time. Set up a reward for yourself. Whether it’s a jelly bean after completing a page in a difficult school textbook or treating yourself to a new article of clothing when you hit a certain fitness marker, rewarding yourself for hitting goals releases dopamine and can actually make completing tasks addicting!

Break Down Your Goals into Smaller Pieces

Goals can be complex and make you feel overwhelmed – another enemy to staying motivated. To avoid this, break your goals down even further. Turning a large task into a series of small steps can make it seem more achievable. Using a checklist can not only simplify complicated endeavors but checking off completed items (even the simplest ones) can give you regular boosts of positivity that help keep you going.

Stay Organized

When our environment gets messy so can our motivation. Keeping things neat not only feels nice, but it can actually free up mental distractions we don’t realize we have. According to a Princeton University study, clutter creates mental stimulation that competes for our attention even when we’re completely unaware of it. Staying organized can release yourself from these hidden obstacles and allow you to focus more on your goals.

Stay Positive

It’s true, life does come with a lot of downers that can interfere with your motivation. So, it’s important to monitor your thoughts. Squash the negativity and replace it with more positive ideas. Things will inevitably get difficult, but don’t let your inner voice complain. Steer yourself to what you’re getting out of it. Imagine what it is you’re working for and how happy it will make you. We’re creatures of habit and continuously redirecting mental complaints to a more positive state can build new tendencies to do this automatically overtime.

Find Support

We all have our strengths. Utilizing someone else’s talents can lighten your burden and help you de-stress. Finding someone with whom to share these ideas or plans can lead to more encouragement and be a big motivational booster as well. The act of letting someone into your goals can be uplifting and give you another reason to see your goal completed. Bouncing ideas off of others can having growing effects and lead to better solutions and progress.

Keep Your Eyes on The Prize

Keeping yourself motivated is not a constant track, it’s full of ebbs and flows that at times may seem lost entirely. Sometimes it’s important to go back to the first step and look over all the reasons for why you want to achieve your goal. Life gets crazy, messy and overwhelming – fighting for what we want can be an uphill battle. Knowing why you want what you do can be the force that brings you to the top. As Pablo Picasso once said “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”