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We’re just one week into the new year of 2018—are you still reeling from holiday festivities, or still feeling inspired and motivated to hustle toward your New Year’s goals and intentions?

Enthusiasm, clarity and focus are some of the best ingredients for creating success and achievement. But what happens when we lose our vigor? What do we do when we can’t quite find the momentum to reach our goals that we had on New Year’s Day?

I can tell you personally that even before the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, life had already thrown me a personal challenge that completely zapped my zeal and potentially derailed my plans for the first quarter of the new year.

You see, the thing about planning and setting our own goals is that we have to keep in mind that in the midst of our pursuits, life still happens—and not always according to our plans. So, while we may have control over the steps we take each morning, we don’t have full control over how the day will turn out.

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So how can we stay on course and motivated throughout the year?

This week I want to share with you a few strategies that can support you throughout the year, and help you reduce the number of pitfalls resulting from a lack of motivation—or avoid them altogether.

When we’re initially plagued by the “lack of motivation” bug, I think it’s important to reflect inward and examine where the loss of inspiration might be coming from, especially if there hasn’t been an external factor prompting our uneasiness.

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As we touched on in last month’s self-love practice, we can honor our uneasiness and give ourselves permission to feel what we feel. Yes, I’m saying allow yourself—for a moment—to feel unmotivated. Usually I find that when I feel uninspired, life is attempting to grab my attention elsewhere and teach me something new about myself. This is when my self-love practice goes into high gear because I stop, listen and wait. Oftentimes this is enough, just waiting it out and allowing the inspiration to return to me on its own timing.

But what if you need just a little jolt to reignite your inspiration? Here are a few daily practices that typically ignite my motivation, support me, and keep me excited and ready for more.

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Clarity

The first key to staying motivated is becoming crystal clear on your vision and intention. Knowing exactly what we want leads us to the steps and choices we need in reaching them. If we’re willy-nilly about our dreams and desires, focusing on and knowing our direction becomes an onerous task.

Daily Meditation, Prayer and Intention-Setting

Begin your day in stillness and reflection. Spend time discovering what’s happening inside you each day to enhance self-awareness. Set intentions for yourself, and seal it in ink in your journal—because what gets written gets done.

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Choose Your Thoughts Wisely

Motivation is not just a feeling. It’s a feeling that results from conscious or unconscious thoughts. Motivation is often a very conscious and deliberate choice. We can use our minds constructively and consciously to create positive thoughts that lead to positive feelings and positive actions. Staying positive best sets us up for the pursuit of our own happiness.

Look for Inspiration

One of the fundamental practices I use in staying motivated in my spiritual business is my constant pursuit of inspiration. Whether I’m reading an inspirational book, watching videos, attending workshops, participating in online seminars or speaking to others with similar goals, I continually surround myself with people and ideas that stretch my mind and inspire me. When we keep our minds and activities fixated on our goals, it will naturally engender more motivation and enthusiasm.

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Visualize

The more focused the attention and clearer details we give to our goals, the more excited and motivated we feel. Notice that when we daydream and fantasize about our dreams, it brings warmth and smiles to our hearts. Find that place as often as possible. Visualize and speak often about your goal. See it, feel it, taste it. Close your eyes and envision your goal as vividly as possible, and consider creating a vision board.

Chase Your Dreams

No matter how big or small the task, choose to show up for yourself and your goals each day. Take actionable steps daily toward your goal. This might appear as sending an email, making a call, creating a to-do list or outline, etc. Thinking alone isn’t enough. We cannot think our way to right action; we must act. As you accomplish smaller goals, your motivation and inspiration will grow toward reaching larger ones.

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Establish an Accountability Partner

Having a coach or accountability partner has been paramount in sustaining my motivation. Whether you choose to hire a professional life coach or an executive coach, seek a mentor or enlist the camaraderie and support of a friend. Have someone who holds you accountable each week or month in accomplishing your tasks.

We don’t have to feel discouraged when we naturally feel unmotivated. We can use the moment to teach us and point us in the direction we need to go. Stay encouraged, and enjoy the ride.

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Wishing you success on the journey!