8 Powerful Strategies for Showing Up Every Single Day
You know the drill: At the beginning of the year, you are super motivated and inspired to achieve the ambitious goals you set for yourself.
And then, a few weeks in, your willpower starts to crumble.
You lose motivation to stick to things like working out, eating healthy and writing every day.
Life gets busy, your routines get boring and other things start to seem more important.
Except they are not.
Your goals are what really matters.
After all, there was a reason you set them at the beginning of the year:
- “This year will be different”, you told yourself.
- “This is the year I will finally stick to my goals.”
So, buckle up and use these 8 powerful strategies to stay motivated throughout the year and stick to your goals — you deserve it.
1. Connect with your Deepest “Why”
The only way to stick to the daily actions required to achieve your goals is to tap into your intrinsic motivation. External motivators like approval from friends, awards, money and praise from your parents will only get you so far because the effect wears off quickly. But having a strong purpose is vital for your motivation. Thus, finding your own reasons for WHY your goal is so important to you is crucial for staying motivated in the long-run.
Here are some examples of a great “WHY”:
- Working out because you enjoy how it makes you feel.
- Putting in extra-hours after work to start your own business because you want to make a bigger impact in the world and have a flexible schedule.
- Meditating daily because it helps you to release stress and feel better.
- Learning about something because you are interested in the topic.
Whenever you feel uninspired and would rather do something else, remind yourself why it is important to you to work on your goal. For example, if your goal is to wake up early to work on your side business before going to the office, you can use your “why” in the evening to motivate yourself to go to bed early — and you can use it in the morning to avoid pushing the snooze button.
Include your “why’” in your morning routine by reviewing your goals and visualizing how it will feel to achieve them. Connecting to these images and emotions in your head will help you prime your brain for success and increase your motivation to work on your goals. Think of it as your pre-game ritual to get you all fired up for the day.
2. Make a Plan & Break it Down
A lack of clarity about WHAT to do and HOW to do it is a sure-fire recipe for getting totally overwhelmed by your goals and as a result, get demoralized and procrastinate.
When you look at your ambitious goal as one big task, it’s easy to think things like:
- “This is so hard. It will take so long. I don’t want to do this.”
- “I will never get there anyway, what’s the point!”
On the other hand, when you break down your goals into actionable steps and create a timeline for them, you’ll be able to focus on one step at a time without getting too overwhelmed by your big hairy goal.
Just remember: No matter how long the journey, it always starts with the first step. Big goals are achieved one tiny action at a time.
When you solely focus on completing the next step, psychologically your belief that you can do it increases and your overwhelm decreases.
Here is an example:
Let’s say your goal is to write a book. Here is how to chunk down that goal into manageable pieces:
- Create an outline for the book
- Brainstorm chapter 1
- Research chapter 1
- Write draft for chapter 1
- Edit chapter 1
- Brainstorm chapter 2
- and so on and so forth…
Now that the big goal is split up into milestones, you can plan your week according to your project plan.
3. Be your own Cheerleader
One of the most impactful online courses I took this year was “Uncompromised Life” by Marisa Peer who is one of the world’s leading psychologists. In the course, I learned that our mind only responds to two things: our words and the images we create in our head. Furthermore, our brain is designed to keep us safe, away from danger and pain — and most importantly, our mind does what it thinks we want it to do.
Thus, if you talk to yourself like this:
- “This is so boring. I don’t want to do this right now.”
- “I hate working out. It’s so hard.”
…what happens is that your mind picks up these messages and helps you out by starting to procrastinate, making you sick and creating internal resistance. This is because your mind does what it thinks you want it to do. And if you tell it that you hate doing something, it will keep you away from it!
However, if you talk to your mind like this:
- “I am going to do this right now because it is important to me and it will help me achieve my goals. Even if it’s boring, I will stick through this.”
- “I love working out. This makes me feel so strong and I love how it boosts my mood.”
…your mind will help you by giving you a boost of energy and motivation. Just try talking to yourself as if you were your own cheerleader and watch how you start to feel different. Getting a quick boost can be that easy!
Of course, I can’t explain it as well as Marisa Peer does but learning this simple thing was completely life-changing for me. I started to notice that how I feel about something was depending on my self-talk. Eventually, I realized that when I act as my own cheerleader and use only empowering language when speaking to myself, it is so much easier to stick to my goals and do what I need to do — even if I initially don’t feel like it.
Talking to ourselves in an empowering way can be especially challenging when we’ve failed to stick to our goals. But that’s when positive self-talk is needed the most.
Here is an example: Let’s say you fell off the wagon with your diet and binged on ice cream while watching Netflix all weekend. After the damage is done, you can either speak to yourself like this:
“You are such a failure. You can’t even stick to a diet. You are useless. You will never achieve your goals.” — and as a result, feel completely hopeless and demotivated to get back on track and just give up.
Or — you can talk to yourself like this: “It’s okay. Things like this happen. You had a really hard week and slipped up, it’s not the end of the world. You will come back even stronger and next time, you will catch yourself before binging on ice-cream. Let’s take it easy today and start small again.”
When you treat yourself with compassion, just like you would speak to a friend, you are much more likely to keep going and stay motivated in the long-run. Remember: We are all humans. Nobody is perfect. Setbacks are not just completely normal, they are inevitable. It’s how we deal with them that makes the difference.
4. Flood your Brain with Inspiring Input
Although your self-talk is the most important thing you need to watch, everything else you see and hear on a daily basis impacts your motivation as well.
When you start your day with the news and social media, spend your lunch break with Negative Nancy’s and end the day with a show on Netflix, your brain doesn’t get a lot of inspirational input.
But when you listen to an uplifting podcast on your way to work, hang out with people who have similar goals and end the day reading a personal development book, you stay motivated and learn new things that help you achieve your goals faster.
I like to call this type of content and conversations mindfood.
Here are some of my favourite mindfood examples to feed your brain on a daily basis:
- Podcasts: Happier with Gretchen Rubin, On Purpose with Jay Shetty, The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes, The Mindset Mentor with Rod Dial and Rise with Rachel Hollis
- Medium writers: Nick Wignall, Matt Sandrini, Niklas Göke and Marta Brzosko
- Books: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza, Essentialism by Greg McKeown, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy
5. Don’t Break the Chain (The Seinfeld Method)
One of my biggest goals that require extreme consistency is my blog. When I first started to write, I was inspired and motivated all the time. I had just quit my job and was writing articles on Medium from coffee shops in Bali. Every day I woke up with an idea and just started to write. This was the honeymoon phase.
But soon after I returned home, I struggled to stay consistent with my writing. It wasn’t so exciting anymore and I wasn’t sitting on the beach so I started to procrastinate and weeks went by without me publishing anything. Deep down, I knew however that the only way I would be successful as a coach and writer is if I published high-quality articles regularly.
That’s when I discovered the Seinfeld Method (named after Jerry Seinfeld, one of the most successful comedians in the world). And to this day, it’s the only strategy that has helped me stay consistent with my writing, even when I feel uninspired, tired and have lots of other things on my plate.
Here is how it works:
Hang up a calendar on your wall and make a big red cross for every day you show up and stick to your habit. As Jerry Seinfeld famously said: “After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
It’s an extremely simple concept but it can work wonders for holding yourself accountable. The longer you stick to it, the more you’ll look forward to ticking off that habit at the end of the day and eventually, your chain will be so long that you don’t want to break it — it’s a genius psychological trick!
6. Switch Things Up
Whenever I am writing an article like this, I tend to lose motivation about 55 minutes in. This is because writing requires deep focus and thus can be very exhausting to do over long stretches of time. That’s why, after 55 minutes, I usually start procrastinating by reading blog posts online and scrolling Instagram — simply because my mind needs a break.
Over the years, I have come to realize though that my mind simply needs a break from writing, not necessarily from working. Thus, if I switch to a different task on my to-do list that requires a different skillset, I usually get a renewed boost of motivation and after about 30 min, I can return to my blogpost with a newfound drive. For that reason, I keep a list of 5-min tasks in my to-do list for whenever I need a writing break.
It’s completely normal to get bored of sticking to your goal-related tasks day-in-day-out. But when you change things up a bit, it’s doesn’t feel that boring anymore. For example: change up your workout routine with different exercises, write about a different topic or switch up your process, research new healthy recipes for your lunch boxes, etc.
Getting a motivation boost from switching things up doesn’t just apply to tasks either — it also works with locations: most days, I get really tired after lunch and don’t want to continue working. But if I pack my laptop and walk to a coffee shop with great music and buzzing energy, I always get a renewed sense of energy and motivation and can keep going for another couple of hours.
If you don’t have the luxury of moving around different places during your workday, try working from different places within your office or home.
7. Reward Yourself & Celebrate Small Wins
Most goals that are worth achieving take months if not years to accomplish. For example, if you manage to cut down calories and lose 0.5 kgs per week, it will take you 5 months to lose 10 kgs. That’s a long time to stick to a diet. No wonder most people get demotivated and give up after a few weeks!
The problem is: Obsessing about the end goal is a sure-fire way to get discouraged. It’s like going on a hike and constantly think about the top.
On the other hand, if you focus on how far you’ve come already, you will feel proud of yourself and get a motivation boost from seeing your progress. Thus, if you want to stay motivated over the long-term, it’s crucial to celebrate your milestones and reward yourself for small wins along the way.
Here are a few ideas to do that:
- Use the Pomodoro Technique to work in sprints of 25 min and then allow yourself a 5–10 min guilt-free break to do whatever you want. It’s like giving yourself an instant reward after doing what you need to do.
- Do a weekly review and consciously tap yourself on the back for showing up consistently to work on your goals. The weekly review can also act as a great reset button for when you fell off the wagon.
- Define clear milestones along the way and celebrate yourself when you achieve them. Pick out rewards like taking a day off, buying yourself something you’ve wanted for some time, treating yourself to a spa day etc. This works best when you delay any type of gratification until you’ve achieved that milestone so you’ll be really motivated to achieve it.
8. Take Care of Yourself
One of the keys to achieving your goals is showing up even on the days when you don’t feel your best. Successful people know that it’s imperative to their success that they stay consistent with their habits even when they feel tired, sluggish or have a headache.
However, there is a difference between pushing through an afternoon slump and struggling with chronic fatigue, back pain, headaches and brain fog.
Feeling your best physically, mentally and emotionally is crucial for staying motivated to achieve your goals and consistently achieve peak performance.
Here are some basic guidelines to get you started:
- Sleep 7 — 8 hrs every night: Don’t optimize anything else until you’ve fixed your sleep. If you struggle to sleep enough at night, try incorporating a nap in the early afternoon — guided meditations or a Yoga Nidra recording can help you make the most out of a 20 min lunch nap.
- Sweat every day: Working out every day, even if that’s just a 15 min HIIT training or a 30 min walk to your next meeting, can make a big difference in your energy levels. I love to get out of the office after lunch and do calls while walking in the park — or suggest walking meetings. I am always surprised how movement can boost my energy so quickly.
- Eat well: Opt for fresh, healthy, unprocessed and nourishing food. Cut out gluten, dairy and processed foods if you are having digestive issues and cut down on sugar and carbs when you feel tired and sluggish after eating.
- Limit your intake of stimulants like caffeine and nicotine— they might give you an instant energy boost but you’ll always regret it later. Instead, try optimizing your energy levels naturally by improving your sleep, diet and exercise.
- Give yourself regular breaks: Constantly working on your goals and never taking a break can nag on your motivation. Take some time off and enjoy your life, after all, that’s why you are working on your goals in the first place.
Liz Huber is a Mindset & Productivity Coach and Founder of refinedlife.io. With her books, courses, and 1-on-1 work, she helps entrepreneurs overcome overwhelm, lack of focus, fear, and self-doubt. As a result, her clients are able to confidently achieve their goals by prioritizing what is truly important and streamlining everything else.