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How-To: Stay Motivated

Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of Spartan Race, Inc., shares strategies to help you achieve your personal, professional, and financial goals.

by Sam Boykin - March 26, 2018

You undoubtedly had the best intentions. But now that New Year’s Day is in the rearview mirror, your resolutions may have fallen by the wayside. You’re not alone. Among the people in the U.S. who make annual resolutions, only an estimated 9.2% achieve their goals.

If you feel guilty, don’t. Changing your behavior — whether it’s eating healthier or saving more money for retirement — is really difficult. However, there are techniques that can help you stay motivated and achieve your goals.

Joe De Sena knows this perhaps better than anyone. He’s the founder and CEO of Spartan Race, Inc., which hosts a series of challenging obstacle races throughout the U.S. and internationally. During his career, De Sena has inspired millions of people to make positive changes in their lives. Here are some of his motivating tips that can help you achieve your goals.

Put a stake in the ground

De Sena says that the biggest motivator is setting specific, measurable goals instead of vague resolutions. Instead of “I want to lose weight” or “I want to save more money,” try “I want to lose 10 pounds by September 1,” or “I want to save an additional $100 a month for retirement.”

“We all need that little extra push to really go after what we want,” De Sena says. “You have to set a stake in the ground — an actual date, event, or number — that requires you to change your behavior in order to achieve that goal.”

“It’s the people who keep moving that succeed in life.” — Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of Spartan Race, Inc.

Make a commitment

Whether you’re an elite athlete, a parent, or an investor saving for retirement, achieving your resolution starts with making a commitment, says De Sena. “When you commit, your excitement is at peak level. You feel happy, enthusiastic, and confident.”

Reinforce your commitment by sharing your goals with trusted friends and family members who can provide ongoing support and keep you focused. Moreover, by sharing your goals, you’re now accountable to both yourself and others.

Change your frame of reference

As you work to reach your goal, you will inevitably deal with setbacks, and your excitement and enthusiasm may dwindle. You may start to question yourself and your abilities.

“A lot of people quit at that moment,” says De Sena. “The difference between someone quitting and persevering is their frame of reference.”

To keep going, De Sena recommends getting out of your comfort zone. When a setback occurs, rather than taking a step backwards, challenge yourself to do the most difficult part of moving toward your goal. This helps build self-discipline so that, when that moment of doubt comes, you can persevere and stick with your game plan.

Just keep moving

De Sena has competed in hundreds of marathons and obstacle races, so it’s natural to assume that he jumps out of bed every morning motivated and ready to go. He says that’s not the case. “Just because I get stuff done doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with motivation,” he says. ” When it gets hard, you fight through the next few seconds, and then the next few seconds after that. Before you know it, you’ve made it through to the other side. It’s the people who keep moving that succeed in life.”

So whether your goals are personal or financial, keep pushing forward — after all, if they were worth setting, they’re almost certainly worth achieving.

Sam Boykin is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Image by iStock

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