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"I shall shape my future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me. Or I can be lost in the maze. My choice. My responsibility. Win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny."
By the time March rolls around, most people have a hard time staying motivated in keeping the goals they've set for the New Year. No worries, here's some help. No matter what you hope to accomplish in the next 9 months, all you have to do is adopt these five secrets of motivated people and you'll be on your way.
Secret #1: Anticipate speed bumps in your plan. Before even trying to achieve a goal, plan for potential pitfalls and either preempt them if you can, or come up with a strategy to deal with them if they arise. A psychological study done at New York University showed that people who plan for obstacles are more likely to stick with their goals than those who don't. For example, maybe your goal is to go for a jog every morning. What if you wake up one day and it's pouring rain? Have a plan like, "If the weather's bad, I'll spend 20 minutes walking up and down the stairs in the hallway, rather than skipping exercise altogether." This'll help you stick to your new routine.
Secret #2: of motivated people: Go public with your goal. It's harder to abandon a dream when you know that people are tracking your progress. It's even easier to do now that we have social networking. Take 25-year-old Stephanie Samarripa from Dallas. She wanted to lose 20 pounds, so she created a blog and asked her friends to read it, and hold her accountable. She weighs herself each week and announces the results on her blog. Stephanie says the positive comments people leave help keep her going - and keep her in line.
Secret #3: Challenge yourself, and change things up. It's hard to remain enthusiastic when everything stays the same. That's the word from Frank Busch, who's coached three Olympic swimming teams. To keep his athletes motivated, he constantly changes and surprises them - adding a new exercise to their workout routine, or giving them a break from a scheduled practice so they can recharge. So, if your goal is to finish that novel you started writing, try writing in a different room, or using a notebook instead of your computer. The more you change things up, the more motivated you'll be to stick with it.
Secret #4: Consider how what you're doing benefits others. In one study, lawyers were asked to provide services to low-income families. Half were offered a low fee, and the other half were asked to volunteer their time. Guess what? The majority of lawyers who were offered a low fee said no, but nearly all of those asked to work for free agreed to help. The take home lesson here is that having a greater purpose fuels everything we do. So, if you want to quit smoking, focusing on setting a good example for your family and friends will stop you from lighting up in a weak moment. More so than the idea of rewarding yourself with a new outfit.
Secret #5: Make it meaningful. Researchers at Thames River University in England studied the volunteers who kept an old-time railway running. They found that people happily completed unpleasant tasks - like picking up trash and cleaning public areas - when they saw it as benefiting their cause. Think about your goal and what makes it meaningful to you.
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