Gearing up to do something — whether it’s to work out, take on a new hobby, or sit down and finally outline the idea that's been bouncing around your head — can be hard.
Anyone who’s ever decided on a New Year’s resolution in January only to let it fade into the ether come February or March knows that. Deciding on what you want to achieve is one thing; following through is quite another. It’s the difference between intention and motivation.
Reflect on the first three quarters of this year, think about what you didn't like and what you're ready to refine. Let’s look at the most common resolution to “get in shape”. Instead, hit pause and reframe this as a healthy-living intention. The intent to be kinder to your body and allow yourself to move however fast or slow you feel like that day. Look at the time you’re allotting for that intention as well. Do you have time to move everyday? Can you schedule in 30 minutes to take care of yourself by going for a walk, doing a HIIT workout or making a smoothie?
Sometimes we beat ourselves up when we don’t meet our goals or expectations. But trying to combat self-doubt or a lack of motivation with relentless reminders will likely result in you just adding more chatter to an already busy mind. You might be further exhausting and demotivating yourself as well, because now you have to hold tightly to those intrusive thoughts while continuing to shut down the thoughts of “I can’t do this, I’m tired, I don’t want to.”
Which is why intention is everything. Knowing why we’re setting out to do something defines our experience of it, as well as the benefit we get from it. What is your intention? If your goal is to practice mindfulness via a daily meditation habit, why did you decide to take on that goal? Are you aiming to be less stressed at work? Do you want to approach life with more kindness and patience? Having that purpose crisp and clear within yourself will help you to show up for yourself. Without articulating the intention behind your goal, the motivation you need to achieve it will be hard to find.
Finally, recognize the now. It’s important to have goals for the future, but the way we achieve those goals is by doing what we’re doing now. Don’t let visions for what might be distract you from paying attention to what is.
If you have a hard time motivating yourself because your goal seems so far away, focus on just getting through today.