It's always great to set goals and envision wins. But what do you do when you hit a slump and can’t get motivated to keep on crushing?
Whether your individual goals are related to fitness, health, or something else entirely, most of us start with the best intentions and with the belief that we’re going to achieve those goals without any major setbacks along the way. So, when you start to slide it can knock your confidence and cause you to question whether you're even cut out for completing such a goal. Mostly, though, that’s just bullshit (and a way of letting yourself off the hook to continue staying small and in your comfort zone).
So, if you’re sick of hitting a slump and falling short of smashing your goals, here are three simple strategies to help you regain motivation immediately.
Motivation Strategies to Help You Persevere and Get Tougher
Celebrate Small Victories
The truth is, no objective is reached in one perfect leap. There are always small steps taken along the way, and noting these will help you to see the progress that you’re making toward achieving your original goal. If you’ve progressed past where you were when you first set out to shred some fat, get faster, build more muscle, or crush your first Spartan race, then that’s a victory.
But how does this help regain motivation? Research has shown that when you recognize and celebrate small victories, it activates the “reward center” of your brain, specifically by releasing dopamine, the feel-good neurochemical. Because this neurochemical makes you mentally feel like you're being rewarded, it signals you to continue doing the activity so that you can reap another mood-boosting reward.
How to Achieve This Right NOW: If you’re feeling stuck, think about (or write down) all that you’ve actually achieved so far, even if it’s just one workout or making your first commitment to a race. These are the first steps toward ultimate victory. Celebrate them and make a practice of celebrating all progress — no matter how small you think it is in the grand scheme of your goal.
Get an Accountability Partner
When it comes down to it, most people don't stick to their goals on their own. After the initial excitement of setting the goal washes away, motivation starts to dwindle and it can be hard to get your engine working again on your own. That’s where having an accountability partner comes in.
The American Society of Training and Development found that people are 65% more likely to meet a goal after committing to completing it with another person. What's more, their chances of success rise to 95% when they boost that commitment with consistent in-person meetings with that person to keep them on point.
How to Achieve This Right NOW: If you can’t think of a colleague, friend, or family member who’d keep you committed to your objective, don’t worry. It will be equally as effective to announce your goal on one of your social media accounts or a group Facebook page related to what you want to achieve. Making your plan public can stop you from procrastinating and push you forward to do what you said you would — or run the risk of embarrassing yourself in front of friends and family.
Practice Social Modeling
Social modeling, also called social learning, is a psychological theory that states that by observing and imitating the behaviors of others, you can learn to act in a certain way by doing what those others do.
Albert Bandura, the Canadian-American psychologist who proposed the theory in 1977, believed that humans don’t learn solely from their own experience but instead process information through observing other behavior and its consequences. Humans then retain and reproduce what they see.
But when it comes to absolutely smashing your goal, a simplified version of this is to think of a role model — someone you really admire — and ask yourself what they would they do if they were in your shoes.
Bandura claimed that the more similar the role model is to you, the greater the probability that you will repeat that individual’s actions. So, if your goal is to get faster, recover quicker, or win a race, paying close attention to success techniques from winning Spartan racers may be your key.
For instance, if you aim to pull off your first Trifecta, turn your attention to someone who's already in the Trifecta tribe. If you know them personally, ask them how they did it. Soak up their tips and tricks. If you don’t know anyone, consult the Spartan community online.
And if your role model is a celebrity or someone famous, read about them. Watch documentaries based on their big wins, and then circle back to the question, “If they were in my shoes now, what would they do?” Bandura claims that if the perceived rewards outweigh the perceived costs, the observer will be propelled further toward imitating the behavior.
How to Achieve This Right NOW: Pick a role model. Find out as much as you can about how they accomplished what they did. Focus on how they felt when they smashed through that finish line, and don't stop until you do the same.
And if all else fails, remember that you’re the only one who can achieve your goals. So, suck it up, get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, and just keep going until you get back on track to crushing your goals.