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How to Maintain New Year Motivation

The New Year will reliably spark renewed motivation to change habits and routines. Earlier this month, I published "New Year Resolutions that Work," which outlined the steps to make the change successfully. But maintaining motivation throughout the calendar year is the most difficult. So here are the newest ways to help keep your motivation to change.

Set Flexible Goals

Healthy habits and routines only survive the everyday pressure of time and unexpected interruptions of daily life when the goals and expectations are flexible. 

Most goals are rigid and demand a high standard of perfect performance, a setup for guaranteed failure. Because we naturally apply the "all-or-nothing" approach that pushes us to continue only when we can adequately perform perfectly to the original plan. Flexible goals remove these roadblocks.

I set the goal to exercise at the gym for at least one hour five days a week. And if I couldn't get to the gym for one hour, I didn't go. Because my brain naturally applied the all-or-nothing approach, which made me think I was only "winning" when I performed to the original target. 

Winning Streak Strategy 

A "Winning Streak" keeps you coming back because you feel the satisfaction of success and the win produces good feelings via a dopamine hit when you repeat the routine! 

The key is the goal needs to be small enough and flexible enough so you can get a win no matter what. So even if you're not tracking the habit as a streak, the brain still maintains its accounting of when we succeed and fail. Flexible, tiered goals help you keep a winning streak, and that winning feeling feeds the positive motivation we all need to make a change! 

3 Tiers of Success: "Good, Better Best." 

These three tiers maintain routine discipline while allowing the flexibility for a bad day or a busy schedule and continue to build motivation because you can still count the "win" of maintaining your healthy habit.

Tier #1 is the "best" tier because it is the best-case scenario of what you'd like to accomplish—the ideal goal with no schedule interruptions or competing interests for my time.

Tier #2 is "better" because it is above the bare minimum. Tier #3 is "good" because something is better than nothing, so tier three is good enough. It is the bare minimum you can still do, no matter where you are or what happens. 

My Real-Life Example

My goal is to exercise six days a week to keep my metabolism and body function healthy. I've maintained this six-day routine for years, but only when I use these three tiers of success. 

Tier #1 Best day target is to work out at the gym for one hour of strenuous exercise. Tier #2 or better day target is 30 min of some cardio activity that increases my heart rate and puts me in the zone. It doesn't have to be at a gym; an outdoor workout is fine too!

Tier #3 is good and noticeably less demanding to accommodate for days when I feel less energetic or can't get to the gym—a 20-minute bodyweight resistance workout at home or a brisk walk outside counts too! As long as I'm getting my heart rate in the zone, I'm doing good things for my health and metabolism.

Learn More 

Why did I set my goal to exercise up to six days a week? Listen to this episode of my podcast. Scroll the entire podcast library for free and listen to more episodes about New Year's Resolutions, Motivation, and more!

Members, get more information about "What Exercise Works" and what is most effective for metabolic health and weight loss in this two-part video series in the Member's Video Library

Members learn to set goals and establish motivation in this section of the Member's Video Library

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