Having a hard time staying motivated? You’re not alone.
We can all feel too tired or busy or even a little scared to try to reach our goals, no matter what they might be. With the right motivation, though, you can accomplish anything.
Folks often ask us how they can stay motivated, especially when it comes to coming out as trans and living authentically, doing something as it relates to your transition, or accomplishing a goal in general. Here are some tips!
1. Write down your goal, then visualize it.
Writing down your goals is the easiest and most effective way of achieving them. A Harvard study once surveyed graduate students to see how many of them had clear goals, and how many of them wrote those goals down. “The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined!”
Whether or not your goals are related to finances or saving money doesn’t really matter. Writing down your dreams and goals helps prepare you for a vision, and along the way, you can start to visualize how your success will come to be. You can think about potential challenges and plan how you’ll conquer them, too.
2. Next, make a list of why you want this goal.
You know what your goal is. Write down everything you can about why it’s so important to you.
- In one sentence, why do you want to hit your goal?
- How will reaching your goal make you feel about yourself?
- What impact will this have on your day-to-day life? Your career or education? Your relationships?
- What benefits will hitting your goal have on your health and well-being?
Then revisit this list when you need more inspiration. Remembering the “why” of your goal will keep you motivated throughout your journey.
3. Break big dreams into smaller ones.
Say your goal is to live full-time in your authentic gender and gender presentation – for many of us first starting our transition, that’s a huge goal! It is normal to find that idea really intimidating, or maybe even impossible. Instead, break that down into smaller benchmarks. Maybe you buy a piece or two of clothing, maybe you paint your nails or style your hair a certain way. Maybe you present as your gender identity in current situations where you feel safe and comfortable for a while, and then slowly decide whether or not you’re comfortable to present authentically in public. Each day you succeed at a smaller goal will keep you on track and support you towards reaching that bigger one.
4. Get positive.
We know: easier said than done, right? Positivity is so important to achieving your goals, so take steps to reframe your situation. Surround yourself with a network of friends, family, and other people who will help support your goals or make you feel good. Negative people and conversations may make you focus on the wrong things. If your gender identity isn’t being affirmed by one of your friends, for example, you may consider spending more time and energy with friends who understand you and support you.
Plus, positivity can start just with you. Words have power, so regardless of what is going on around you, speak your goals out loud to yourself every day to help refocus. If things feel hard or you feel too anxious to focus, perhaps try a guided meditation like this one. This exercise can help you relax, check in with yourself, and remind yourself, “you are enough. You have already accomplished so much. You can do this, too!”
5. Reward yourself.
Staying motivated should be fun, too. Don’t forget to see how far you’ve come and congratulate yourself when you hit certain benchmarks. Come up with a simple, easy reward for maintaining progress toward your goals. Think about how you’ll celebrate your success and it’ll help motivate you even more.
Other resources to check out:
- Inc: 7 Ways to Stay Motivated and Accomplish Anything
- Lifehack: How To Stay Motivated
- Mayo Clinic: Fitness Tips for staying motivated
- HBR: How to Overcome Burnout and Stay Motivated