Motivation for the long run – 10,5 tips for when the going gets tough

I’ve been there countless times before.

And so have you, I bet.

That second it takes for all your motivation to just run off of you, leaving you feeling tired, hopeless and in a general state of “why bother”-ness.

Motivation, you little rascal, why can’t you just stay put and be my life long partner, but have to run away from me like a fart in the wind?

It doesn’t matter whether you need to motivate yourself through a boring meeting, a doctor’s visit, or perhaps even something more long-term, like keeping a chronic disease at bay or a new, healthier life style. You motivation still needs to be there to get. You. Through. It.

I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation and how to keep it going lately. And I’ve figured out the following 10,5 points that often make it or break it:

#1: What’s your destination?

First steps first: you need to identify where it is you want to go. What’s your destination, and why do you want to go there

Without a clearly defined direction, it’s going to be difficult to succeed. Getting lost in trying to accomplish a goal is very easily done, killing your motivation and eventually your whole journey.

#2: Write down your goals

I do this with all my one-on-one coaching clients. It’s actually part of the very first things we do together.

Having finished step 1 of this list, immediately write it down. I don’t care if it’s on your bathroom mirror with a lip pen, just write it down and see it in front of you. Also write WHY you want to reach your goal.

And keep whatever you wrote your goal down on in your sight, don’t put it away between unpaid bills and important (?) notes you’ll never look at again. It’s a physical reminder of what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it when your mind tells you other things. (Or your ego is trying to keep you safe in your comfort zone. Just don’t forget that it’s OUTSIDE your comfort zone where the unicorns, rainbows and fairies hang out!)

comfort zone magic

#3: Your progress: track it!

If you have a long(er) term goal, progress can be pretty slow, especially if you’re a little impatient. Like me.

The only point of comparison you really have, is how far you’ve come from the beginning, or even a few months ago. This motivates even the most stubborn person, and keeps them going for at least a couple more hours/days/weeks/months.

How did you feel, let’s say 2 months ago? Worse or better than today? How will you feel in another two months? Double as good? Go for it!

#4: Remember your WHY

Does this sound familiar: “why am I even doing this? I don’t even care. It would be SO easy to just quit.”

Your queue now is: remembering why you are doing this. This is why writing down your goals (and why you want them) is SO important! Then you have a physical reminder of what your motivation was from the beginning, easy to look and think: “ah, yes, THIS is what I want!”

The person you are today will not be the same as you in half a year, a year, or five. That’s why your reminder of how bad you felt, and how much you wanted (and needed) to succeed. Get back on that bandwagon and don’t lose sight of your goal!

#5: Attitude is key

Are you being positive or negative about your goal and reaching it?

Positivity takes you a lot further than thinking things like “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t” or “I won’t”. Change those baddies to thoughts like “I want to”, “I will” and “I can”!

This is truly pep talk in its highest form, talking yourself out of a rut. No one knows you better than yourself, so you know exactly which buttons to press to make you feel better (and worse, but that’s not the point!) 


#6: Take a break

Sometimes taking a break is all you need to keep going. It’s a bit of a paradox, but it really works.

If you feel run down, energy-less, and all you want to do is stay in bed and watch crappy tv shows, then do that! It might be exactly what your mind, body and soul need to wake up happy again.

Don’t run yourself into the ground. It’s just not worth it.

#7: Change up your routine

Whether it is in the kitchen or on your (daily) workouts you’re stuck, a few simple changes might just give you a little more spirit to keep going.

You could eat something you normally label “lunch food” for breakfast. Or try a few new recipes. Or do your normal workout backwards (as in: the order of it, I’m not suggesting you walk backwards or anything silly like that…)

Changing things up gives you a new challenge, and gets you out of your rut.

#8: See the bigger picture

Sometimes just taking a step back and looking at your situation from a distance can help your motivation to soar.

If you’re feeling down about making one particular meal “perfectly healthy”, for example, it’s good to look at it in the grand scheme of things. How were your other meals this week? At least semi-healthy? Well then. No biggie, really.

#9: Surround yourself with support

Being social when your motivation is in the dumps can be a challenge in itself. But oh-soh-important.

If you can’t dig yourself out of the rut, meet with, or speak to people that lift you up.

Avoid the ones that might push you down, though. Don’t let other people demotivate you, or let them rain on your parade.

Who do you feel fantastic after seeing or talking to them? Who is your biggest cheerleader? Is there a person who can keep you accountable AND cheer you on? GREAT, lucky you!

#9,5: Same, same but different

Find people in the same situation as you.

They can very often help keep you motivated, answer questions if you have any and share experiences. Sometimes people who aren’t in your particular situation just don’t get it. And they never will. That’s why a support network of likeminded people keep your motivation going.

I personally love internet forums for this (yep, geek!). Google around on your situation (or chronic disease), and I’m certain you’ll find tons of other people with the same issues, thoughts and victories as you that are ready to cheer you on.

In the end, and here is tip

#10: you need your heart

If your heart isn’t in it, the change you’re trying to make or the goal you’re trying to achieve, it’s going to be just that incredibly much harder.

Your motivation will go away quickly, and all you’ll be left with is feeling like a burned match. This goes hand-in-hand with setting goals for yourself and not because someone else “thinks” you should.

Believe me, the amount of times I’ve tried to change something without my heart in it, or because of someone else, just for it to go back to the good old ways again, is actually mind bogging.


What motivates you to keep going? What goal are you working towards right now?

Do you have any tips to add on to the list?

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  1. […] Wow, I should really take my own advice sometimes. How very fitting last weeks post is for me this […]

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