I think we can all agree that 2016 whooped a lot of butts. All in all it felt like one nasty turn after another while can understandably leave a lot of people feeling winded or running on empty. As it’s the start of a new year, we’re provided a great new opportunity to start fresh or to continue the progress we’ve already started.

However, when you are feeling a little sluggish on the motivation department, what does the trick? Motivation, by definition, is the general desire or willingness to do something–anything. On the road, I’ve encountered so many people who tell me that their inner spark plug seems to be broken or they can’t seem to get started or their tasks. If you’ve ever found yourself feeling this way, you’re not alone. So today, let me share with you some ideas on how you can kickstart your motivation.

Now first off, give yourself a goal whose progress you can frequently measure. In other words, give yourself a carrot that you can check up on. While you can have an end-goal way off, like getting a new car–it may be difficult to stay motivated if the only measure of success is attaining that car. To help you off, set incremental goals that you can see the progress of. For example, if you’re saving up for anything, set quarterly progress goals. That will give you something a bit closer to aim for and will keep your motivation alive and well.

Next, jot down accomplishments. A constant concern I’ve heard is “I don’t feel like I’m achieving anything, so what’s the point?” One pretty good way I’ve found to fight off this mentality is to list down and keep track of things or tasks you’ve accomplished–no matter how mundane it may seem. It can be as simple as doing the laundry or something brave like going for a run. It’s always easy to discount the little achievements and they can pile up pretty high, if you pay attention. Whenever you feel discouraged or feeling a bit low on motivation, bust out your list and review what you’ve accomplished.

Now to keep the feeling of motivation fresh, spend time learning something new. You don’t have to do anything fancy–the key is simplicity. Read an article on a topic you’re not familiar with or give a film genre you’ve avoided a try. It’s not so much as doing something as you are adding new facets about yourself. When you take steps to grow as a person, you’ll find that your motivation will stretch out and keep going for longer.

This particular tip is quite important so it’s best to pay real good attention: trim out the negative people and things in your life. No matter what positive steps you enact to keep your spark alive, it wouldn’t make any sense to try to light a fire next to a fan. That’s pretty much what negative people will do for you and your motivation. You would be surprised at the sheer improvement that some people I’ve met have had once they snipped off the negative elements in their lives. It could be as simple as cutting back on watching TV or respectfully asking someone to stop dumping their rants on your doorstep. Most people forget that our motivation is primarily linked to our mental health. If there’s a leech on your face, you’d want it off, wouldn’t you?

Finally, take periodic breaks. Life is a marathon, not a race. To be able to keep going, it’s important that you rest when you’re able. Once again, the key is simplicity. You don’t have to splurge to take a break. It can be as simple as curling up in your favorite spot with a comforting drink. It could also just be spending 20 more minutes in bed. It’s that simple.

Doing these things consistently will really do wonders for you and your motivation. So go out there and get started!

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