9 Ways to Stay Motivated When You’ve Put Your Goals on Pause

Sometimes you have every intention of reaching a goal, and then life happens.  You lose your job, you move states, you get injured, you have a baby, get married, or any number of life-altering events occurs.  Your goals get pushed aside, but your motivation shouldn’t go with it.

Here are my tips for staying motivated to reach your goals while you aren’t making progress toward them.

  1. Focus on the positive.  Here’s my story: I was gazelle-intense getting out of debt, and then I moved states to support my fiancé financially while he earns his Master’s Degree.  We have ZERO extra income to put toward debt (or anything else), so my financial goals got paused in a big way.  Here’s what I focus on instead of our mounting debt: My partner is getting a great education and advancing his career.  Also, I get to live in a beautiful state for two years!  You can’t put a price on a life experience like this, so accept your current situation for all that it is, and appreciate what you have.
  2. Focus on other goals.  It’s always a good idea to have goals in more than one category of your life, so I often have fitness, financial, self-improvement, emotional and relationship goals.  If one of those goals gets paused, then your effort can be put into the other goals.  For example, if you get injured and aren’t able to keep training toward your fitness goals, take the time to focus on your reading goal instead.
  3. Learn a new hobby.  Use that extra time and energy not spent working toward your goal to learn a new hobby, like knitting or cooking.  Take a yoga class, join a book club, get out there and expand your horizons!
  4. Connect with others who are in the same boat as you.  The internet is CHOCK FULL of people sharing their stories and experiences, so chances are great that you can find a YouTube channel, blog, website, support group, or other ways of connecting with people who understand your situation.  Making connections with people who understand you can be so rewarding.
  5. Connect with others who are NOT in the same boat as you.  On the other side of the coin, it may be more helpful to seek out communities who are succeeding in their goals to keep you on track and motivated for when you are able to resume pursuing that goal yourself.  I like watching YouTube videos of people getting out of debt, even if I can’t be getting out of debt myself.
  6. Get creative.  You might not be able to attack your goal the same way you were before, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make progress toward them.  Now is the time to think outside of the box, and get out of your comfort zone in order to achieve your goals.  This could mean picking up a side job to increase your income, or adjusting your budget to reallocate some funds for a few months.
  7. Be flexible.  If you can’t aggressively pay down your debt anymore, try picking a smaller financial goal to work toward.  Similarly, if you’re too injured to train for a half marathon, refocus your energy on walking a 5k.  There’s always something you can work toward, and changing your goals is totally okay.
  8. Focus on what you’ve gained – not what you’ve lost.  When something goes wrong it can often be so scary that it’s all we can think about, but instead of putting your energy into worrying, try taking the opportunity to adjust your focus on what’s going well in your life.  When something leaves your life (like a job, income, savings, health, etc.) it is a lesson to not take that thing for granted.  For me, I like to concentrate on how grateful I am to have a job be able to provide for my partner, instead of worrying about living on one income.
  9. Let your frustrations out!  While I’ve mentioned in a few of these tips to stay positive and look on the bright side, I want to also emphasize that getting frustrated is totally normal!  It is not fun to have to adjust your goals or put them on the back burner for awhile, so don’t feel bad if it starts to feel overwhelming and disappointing.  Go easy on yourself, and accept that these emotions are part of the process.

I hope you found these tips helpful!  What are some tips that you use to stay motivated when you’re taking a break from your goals?

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