Teen Pink

Motivation & the Power of Not Giving Up

Have you ever set a goal for yourself, like getting fit, making honor roll, or being picked for a team? Like lots of people, maybe you started out doing great, but then lost some of that drive and had trouble getting motivated again.  You're Not Alone!

Everyone struggles with staying motivated and reaching their goals. Just look at how many people go on diets, lose weight, and then gain it back again!

The reality is that refocusing, changing, or making a new start on something, no matter how small, is a big deal. But it's not impossible. With the right approach, you can definitely do it.

Making a Change So how do you stay motivated and on track with your goal? It all comes down to good planning, realistic expectations, and a stick-to-it attitude. Here's what you need to do:

First, know your goal. Start by writing down your major goal. Your major goal is the ultimate thing you'd like to see happen. For example, "I want to make honor roll," or "I want to get fit enough to make the cross-country team," or even, "I want to play in the Olympics" are all major goals because they're the final thing the goal setter wants to see happen (obviously, some goals take longer and require more work than others). It's OK to dream big. That's how people accomplish stuff. You just have to remember that the bigger the goal, the more work it takes to get there.

Make it specific.
It's easier to plan for and master a specific goal than a vague one. Let's say your goal is to get fit. That's pretty vague. Make it specific by defining what you want to achieve (such as muscle tone and definition or endurance), why you want to get fit, and by when. This helps you make a plan to reach your goal.

Make it realistic. People often abandon their goals because their expectations are unreasonable. Part of staying motivated is being realistic about what you can achieve within the timeframe you've planned. Let's say you want to run a marathon. If you try to run the entire distance of 26.2 miles tomorrow without any training, you're unlikely to succeed. It takes the average person 4 months of training to run that far! But the bigger risk is that you'll get so bummed out that you'll give up your marathon dreams - and running - altogether.

Write it down.
Put your specific goal in writing. Then write it down again. And again. Research shows that writing down a goal is part of the mental process of committing to it. Write your goal down every day to keep you focused and remind you how much you want it.

Break it down. Making any change takes self-discipline. You need to pay constant attention so you don't get sidetracked. One way to make this easier is to break a big goal into small steps. For example, let's say you want to run a marathon. If it's February and the marathon is in August, that's a realistic timeframe to prepare. Then set specific daily tasks, like eating five servings of fruit and veggies and running a certain amount a day. Put these on a calendar or planner so you can check them off. Reaching frequent, smaller goals is something to celebrate. It gives you the confidence, courage, and motivation to keep running - or doing whatever it is you're aiming to do. So reward yourself!

Check in with your goal. Now that you've broken your goal down into a series of mini-goals and daily tasks, check in
every day.

It helps to write down your small goals in the same way you wrote down your big goal. That way you can track what you need to do, check off tasks as you complete them, and enjoy knowing that you're moving toward your big goal.

As you accomplish a task, check it off on your list. Tell yourself, "Hey, I've run 10 miles, I'm nearly halfway to my goal!" Reward yourself with something you promised yourself when you set your goal. Feel successful - you are! Now think ahead to accomplishing the rest of your goal: "What do I have to do to reach 26 miles? How am I going to make the time to train?"

Recommit to your goal if you slip up.
If you slip up, don't give up. Forgive yourself and make a plan for getting back on track.
Pat yourself on the back for everything you did right. Don't beat yourself up, no matter how far off track you get. Most people slip up when trying to make a change - it's a natural part of the process.
Writing down daily tasks and mini-goals helps here too. By keeping track of things, you'll quickly recognize when you've slipped up, making it easier to refocus and recommit to your goal. So instead of feeling discouraged, you can know exactly where you got off track and why.

Keep a stick-to-it attitude.
Visualize yourself achieving your goal: a toned you in your prom dress or a successful you scoring the winning soccer goal. Self-visualization helps you keep what you're trying to accomplish in mind. It helps you believe it's possible. You can also call up your mental picture when willpower and motivation are low.

Positive self-talk also boosts your attitude and motivation. Tell yourself, "I deserve to make the honor roll because I've really been working hard" or "I feel great when I swim - I'm doing well on my exercise plan!"

Ending an unhealthy behavior or creating a new, exciting one is all about taking responsibility for our lives. Finding the motivation to do it isn't necessarily easy, but it is always possible. You can stay motivated by writing down your goals, sticking to your schedule, and reminding yourself of what led you to set your goal in the first place. Change is exciting - we'd all be very bored without it.


What would you like to do on a date and who should pay?

Who wouldn't want to go to dinner and a movie?  The man should pay on a date because it's considerate of the lady.  - Courtney

Dinner and a movie followed by a walk. A guy should pay unless the girl insists.  - Lauren

Horseback riding on a starlit beach and if money is involved THE GUY WILL PAY.  - Lairen

Go see a movie.  (Preferably a comedy or action movie) Then go get some ice cream and take a walk on the beach barefoot under the stars.  - Bethany

On the beach with a fire, marshmallows and delicious things to eat.  - Valentina

Out to a nice lunch by the beach on a perfectly sunny and breezy day.  The guy must definitely pay. (Well, not always.but most of the time)  - Kiara

Where there are no distractions and all your attention has to go to the other person.  - Chenjerai

Probably go to Harbourtown and hang out at the pier.  It's really peaceful and the sunset is beautiful.  - Clara

Dinner and a movie is classic. Hopefully the guy is well mannered enough to pay.  - Caroline

Out to dinner at a 5 Star restaurant next to the ocean.  The guy should pay. - Troy

Going out to get pizza or hamburgers. Someplace you can sit and talk.  Movies are fun, but you don't really get to know the person. Each person should pay for their own meal unless they both agree to take turns paying.   Madison

Playing golf.  The guy should pay.  - Minami

Fishing on a lake with my best friend.  Jeffrey

What are you doing on Spring Break?
In Ireland playing in a golf tournament.  Stephanie

In Charlotte, NC relaxing and playing tennis.  Chenjerai

Visiting my brother in Germany.  Brock

Home to North Carolina and I can't wait!  Caroline

Definitely beside a pool sipping the latest diet drink.  Lairen

I might be going back home to Lima, Peru and just chill, go out with friends, go to some parties and spend time with my family.  Kiara

Staying home.  I will continue dancing and try to get a part-time job.  Lauren

Annapolis, Maryland sailing and practicing for the U.S. Team trials.  Connor

Playing tennis or watching the Heritage Golf Tournament.  Bethany

I will be in California playing in a tennis tournament. Emily

Volunteering at Heritage or sleeping.  Frank

Going to Japan for shopping and eating good food.  Minami

Connecticut (home state) visiting my family.  Joe

Home (Washington) playing golf and handing out with my friends.  Troy

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