By Joanna Kleovoulou, Clinical Psychologist & Founder

So it’s a new year a new beginning, January 2016, the mantra month that offers great aspirations and goals, pledging a potential for you to make things happen – to set last year’s record straight. Right? Well, for me, as we enter the last week of January of the new year, my daily commitments have drowned out the faint memory of the prospects this year could hold, and instead of keeping focused on keeping the end goal in mind, I have gotten diverted with justifiable daily to-do-lists.

Achieving your goals that you so enthusiastically thought out at the start of the year need not vanish as a to-do for the next year. So how do you stay motivated and keep on track to give you that fulfilling satisfying feeling and getting closer to your dreams?
Motivation is powerful and it is a strong predictor of success more than intellect, ability or money (Time Magazine, 8 April 2014.)

  1. Ask yourself why. Make meaning of what your reason is for pursuing this goal in the first place. If you have a deeper meaning, it is more probable you will pursue your goal and stay on track. In a recent survey, people are more motivated by the need for a sense of independence, a sense of mastery and purpose.
  2. Have reachable goals – at the beginning of last year I had a vision board listing so many large end-results and goals for my business and my personal life expecting to have achieved them all by end 2015. Guess what, I set the bar too high and instead of reaching the end result, I reached burn out as the result spreading myself too thin. I now have re-entered some items to be addressed in the new year, only this time being a lot more realistic about my resources and time-line available.
  3. Get in touch with your feelings to stay motivated. To change your behaviour, you need to tap into your feelings and note your physiological responses.
  4. Identify in advance what your “distraction trigger patterns” are. Become aware of your internal dialogue, or inner critic that keeps you stuck in your old story. “I am too tired, I will do this tomorrow.” Or “I have no time.” Or ‘What’s the point?” These statements keep you stuck in old patterns that don’t allow you to move forward.
  5. Have a strategy in place to override these triggers. Find more empowering thinking patterns, and have a plan to combat the triggers. If your cellphone is a form of distraction at night by following up on emails, or you get hooked into a mobile game, this could end up taking hours off from your day and prevent you from focusing on your target. Switch your phone off and spend albeit it 30 minutes in the evening efforts towards your goals.
  6. Take daily small steps towards your main goal. I did mini stock takes during the past year to recognize how far I actually did come and what I already achieved albeit small steps. These small steps keeps us motivated, interested and focused on staying on the mark and keeping your initial intent alive. “Life satisfaction is 22% more likely for those with a steady stream of minor accomplishments than those who express interest only in major accomplishments.” – Orlick, 1998.
  7. Be accountable to it by sharing your goal with people. By sharing your goal others keep track of your progress and l support as well as challenge you when you go off the mark.
  8. Remember to put your needs first. Pleasing others or sacrificing your own goals by prioritising others desires, not only builds internal resentment, but takes you off your mark, tires you out and is demotivating.
  9. Remember to believe and enjoy the process. Research indicates that people who have self-esteem and believe in their capabilities irrespective of intelligence are far more likely to succeed.

Should you be struggling to get your groove back, and feel inspire d, PsychMatters is happy to assist you to live more masterfully. Contact reception on 011-4503576 or on

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