Happy 2015, everybody!
We’re excited to kick off the New Year and our 56 Days of Giving It All challenge. If you’re behind, check out this page to find out what the challenge is all about and how you can join in. (It’s not too late, and we’d love to have you!)
If you’re ready and raring to go (like we are), we thought we’d kick off this month’s blog posts with one of the biggest things you’ll need to know as you build your Streak towards your big goal: how to keep the momentum going.
Because let’s be honest: there will times over the coming 56 days when you’re super-pumped about your Streak and can’t wait to check off another box on your 56 day calendar. And there will be other times when you’re less than pumped — when you’re tired, your motivation is lagging or you just plain don’t feel like doing your daily small step.
You’re only human; it happens. What matters is how you push through these slumps and keep moving forward.
Because it’s in these times that the success of your Streak is truly decided. Every time you face your calendar and actively choose to Give It All that day, you move yourself one step closer to your goal. Each of those little steps, added up over time, can take you farther than you dare to dream possible.
So, as you prepare for a Streak that will be awesome and potentially life-changing, let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to keep yourself focused, motivated and moving forward over the next 56 amazing days.
1. Set Yourself Reminders
Visual cues can be a huge help when you’re trying to build a daily habit, especially in the first couple weeks when you’re still working it into your routine. Our lives are so busy and distracted these days, sometimes it takes a physical reminder to keep us on track with our long-term goals.
Put your 56 PDF up somewhere you’ll be sure to see it each day, whether that’s on your fridge, your desk at work or on your pillow so you remember you shouldn’t lay your head down until you’ve completed your daily task.
Find goal-specific visual cues that will help you complete your task at a certain time. If you’ve committed to taking a 20-minute walk on your lunch break everyday, schedule a popup reminder on your work computer. If you’ve decided to meditate in the mornings before you start your day, put a sticky note on your coffee pot.
2. Use Positive Reinforcement
Many studies have shown that positive reinforcement can help strengthen our tendency to pursue desired behaviors. We are naturally drawn to do things that will make us happy, and knowing we’ll receive a reward in exchange for a certain behavior makes it more appealing to us and provides us with that extra boost of motivation we may need to get it done.
Let’s say your goal is to sit down and write for 30 minutes every day. If you know that at the end of those 30 minutes, you’ll reward yourself with a treat (a cup of coffee, a piece of chocolate, an episode of you favorite guilty-pleasure reality show), it can help motivate you to get that writing done, even when you’re not feeling inspired to do so.
Could you use negative reinforcement instead (let’s say, promising a friend you’ll pay them $5 every time you don’t do your writing for the day)? Yes, you could, but we prefer to keep things positive. Remember, you’ve chosen this goal for yourself because you believe it will make you happier and make your life better. It shouldn’t like a chore or a dreadful obligation; it should feel like you’re doing something wonderful for yourself (because you are!).
3. Celebrate Your Successes
Along the positive reinforcement lines, make sure you celebrate every time you check off one of the boxes on your 56 PDF.
It can be easy to get so caught up in the end goal you forget to enjoy the journey that gets you there. Your goal seems so far away, and the little step you’re taking today doesn’t feel like it will make a huge difference. But it will. Because it’s with each of your daily small steps that your big goal is built.
Every small step is a big victory. Remember to treat it as such and congratulate yourself each day for a job well done.
4. Focus on the Now
A Streak can start to feel like a lot of pressure if you get too caught up in the big picture. Maybe the reason yo’’ve committed to working out each day is because ultimately you’d like to lose 10 pounds, but if you focus on that number now, when you’re just starting out, it can feel overwhelming and you can become discouraged.
Don’t worry about where you’ve been, where you’re going or how big the difference it between those two points. Focus on what you can do, today, and let that be enough.
Maybe you haven’t seen the scale slide back a notch yet, but have you checked off your box for the day? Then you are a success. You are one step closer. You should be proud of yourself.
5. Don’t Give Up (Even If You Mess Up)
Of course we urge you to do everything you can to check off all 56 boxes on your calendar. But what happens if you screw up? What if you forget to do your small step one day? What if you’re sick or something comes up, or you just have a lapse and get lazy?
Should you consider yourself a failure and scrap the whole challenge?
Positive momentum is about pushing forward even when there are obstacles (or missteps, or backslides). If you miss a day, for whatever reason, resolve to do better tomorrow and keep focusing on forward motion. It’s the collective power of all 56 days, added up altogether, that will help you reach your big goal. One bad day is not worth losing all that progress for. Pick yourself up and press on.
Want more tips, inspiration and encouragement? If you’re not yet on our 56 Days of Giving It All mailing list, head on over here and check out the “Support for Your Streak” section for the tools and resources you’ll need to make your Streak a success.