“It’s never too late; you’re never too old or never too infirm to start again.”
– Bishnu Ghosh

My wife and I have the luxury of working in the same industry. It is one of the many common things we share. One day we were talking shop and my wife made this observation; “Many people have the desire to change, but it is the few who have the drive, dedication, determination and discipline to see it through.”

Sir Alexander Patterson is quoted as saying; “The secret of discipline is motivation. When a person is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself.”

How then do we motivate ourselves to act in a positive way toward engaging in behaviors and practices that most closely parallel with our true values? How do we break those less life-giving habits and begin enacting those behaviors that are more in line with what we truly want? It just so happens; research has proven instrumental in capturing some key building blocks toward ultimate success when it comes to motivation.

1. Be Intentional – Staying intentional has shown to be an effective ingredient when it comes to positive behavior change. With intentionality comes increased focus and awareness to whatever it is we are applying our energy.

2. Build a Plan – There is a direct correlation with effective goals and motivation. Clear, well-expressed goals that challenge the individual, yet remain realistic, have been clearly associated with increased motivation. There is an art and a science for establishing goals, so this is an area that you may want to recruit help from individuals familiar with the area of wellness that you are attempting to improve (i.e. Fitness Coach, Trainer, Pastor, Financial Advisor, etc.)

3. Recruit Support – When we have the support and accountability of a friend, we are much more likely to stick with a goal, especially in the beginning of a behavior change. Research has shown that peer support and modeling of a desired behavior can be especially helpful. So, whether it is a class, a professional, a peer, recruiting support can be a game changer for initial and continued momentum.

4. Accountability – Being accountable to someone is another critical link to successful behavior change. Once again, this may be an industry professional or it may be someone who has a similar goal or who has previously achieved and maintained a similar goal.

5. Building Confidence – Mastering new things, establishing new skills and succeeding at the initial small goals can prove monumental at gaining initial traction to improve motivation.

6. Give it Time – When it comes to behavior change, time is our friend. The longer we can maintain a new healthy behavior, the more likely that new behavior will remain. In regard to fitness, this is particularly true of landmarks lasting six months or more, with even greater success at behaviors lasting five or more years.

7. Perceived Failure – Once you embark on any new venture, it is natural to experience setbacks from time to time. Any initial failures or setbacks should be immediately reframed into nothing more than a temporary slip or misstep. Early perceived failures are often the very thing that many of us need to get back up and bolster our resolve to start again!

Greg McCann is a Health Zone staff member with certifications in Wellness Coaching, Personal Training and Yoga Instruction.