Everybody experiences lack of motivation from time to time. In particular, it tends to happen during periods, when we realize, that we need to change our lives for the better. Dieting, learning a new language, changing a job... All the first steps, taken to start changing something in life, are extremely stressogenic. And the reason "why" is hidden in our brain, which is a great keeper of old habits (also called behavioral stereotypes). The thing is, all old habits, good or bad, are safe, time-tested, and comfortable to perform - they don't require a lot of the brain's resources to be processed Because old habits have been performed a thousand times, they have a physical "embassy" in the brain, expressed as established neural pathways. And if you want to break an old behavioral stereotype, or create a new one, you need to literally destroy that embassy. That's a hurtful operation, requiring a lot of physical and emotional support. And here we are craving for at least one bit of motivation to move further than just projecting and wishing. How to set up a goal and stay motivated all along the process of life transformation? Here is a 5-step instruction on lighting the fire of passion! 1. Extract the real goal out of a wish Usually, we want to do something, for example, to lose weight. But does this intention have a real "reason why"? Most of the times it doesn't, and that is a big deal when it comes to forming motivation. There is no fertile ground for motivation to grow because we don't specify our goal, don't give it some special traits. But here is a technique, that can help you determine the real goal, "extracting" it out from a simple wish. Find true reasons behind your wish to achieve a goal Write your wish on a sheet of paper and take a look at it. Most likely, you've written something simple and understandable, like "I want to lose 5 kg". And now, try to dive deeper into yourself and ask - "Why do I want to do this? What are the reasons?". Maybe, you want to be ready for swimsuit season? Or feel more attractive and self-confident? Extract all the reasons out of your thoughts and write them down near the first goal description. Now your wish is reinforced by a real purpose, and you can feel inspired to move forward. Want to be a star of the beach? Before starting exercise or dieting, buy yourself a new cool swimsuit and take a weekly progress photo of yourself in it. This way you'll be seeing the result of your endeavors. This is one of the best ways to stay motivated. And, moreover, this swimsuit will be reminding you that your wish has a real purpose and a real goal behind the phrase "I just want to...". 2. Divide your goal into small steps Every project can be divided into steps to be performed well, and a personal goal is the same as such project. For example, if you want to start cooking, you can separate this huge goal into small tasks to be done. Determine, what do you need to start: make a list of necessary kitchenware, select some recipes for beginners, make a cooking schedule. After that, make a grocery list for the chosen recipe and prepare all the tools you need to cook. Then analyze the work and take notes, what was good in taste, and what wasn\u2019t. Determine, act, analyze, repeat! This is the idea - just divide your goal into smaller steps, and the entire ordeal will be transformed into a step-by-step quest This method will give you understanding, what, where, and when you need to do something. And when you know your subject in details, you can search for specific information, which is, basically, your motivation to do this or that. At this point, you can start digging to find diamonds of specified motivation in your social nets' feed. 3.Make social networks work for you For the primary or external motivation, you can use our "bad habit" of scrolling social media' feeds for the good. Find some inspiration in communities and groups of Facebook or others, sharing the same goal as you. Just join some of them to make your daily newsfeed more versatile, uplifting, and cheerful in terms of your goal. In addition, you will have an opportunity to participate in discussions with people, which follow the same aim and, perhaps, have the same challenges. Use our common human wish to socialize for the good - find your fellows in social nets to discuss ways of achieving goals or support each other Another very effective and joyful way to light the fire of motivation is a board collecting on Pinterest. There are thousands of various pictures with great motivational quotes, tips, and just plain good images, which could be used as motivation fuel. By the way, you can do the same on Instagram, which allows users to create bookmarks and group them according to the content. And last, but not least - find some bloggers and vloggers, who cover the theme you are interested in. Follow them to get advice, tips, and tricks, based on personal experience. They've done a lot of mistakes while chasing their goals. This experience is priceless, and you can get it before meeting the same obstacles on your own path. 4. Award yourself Reward is a good thing, making people feel more inspired and confident. If you do something and get a compliment, you really feel uplifted and want to do even more and even better. No doubt, reward is a wonderful tool of motivation. The truth is, your brain uses the same tool to stimulate you to do what it considers right. It perceives any action or re-action you make as a sequence of small steps, connected with each other Going back to our old habits, any old habit is the same sequence with one significant trait. The very last step contains a reward scenario. If you do everything "right", the brain releases dopamine - the happiness hormone. That's the reason why you feel so happy when recalling some old skills and perform them "surprisingly" well. And it is also the reason why it is so hard to quit such nasty habits as smoking. How can we trick the brain? Use the same weapon - just start rewarding yourself for every positive result you've reached following your goal Try to set up some micro-goals inside each step and reward yourself after reaching them. You've lost 1 kg? Pamper yourself with a massage session. You've exercised exactly as you planned? Go grab yourself your favorite coffee. Experiment with rewards and teach your brain to learn the new reality of your life, support actions you consider right with the help of rewarding. As a pleasant bonus, after some time you will discover, that you don't need any special reward anymore, because the action itself will have become the very best reward. Just be stubborn and reward yourself until you reach this blessed state! 5. Take inspiration in your previous victories Not a single thing in life is an ideal one, and goal chasing is not an exception. Sometimes we can disrupt our plans to eat healthily or learning another 20 foreign words because there are 1000 and 1 reason to be distracted. And that's normal - we are not robots, and we don't live in a vacuum. But, usually, people start to blame themselves and give up in the end because they can't handle the fact they are not as good as they want themselves to be. And this is the right time to recall all the little victories, which happened on the way to the goal. If you had lost even one pound before a stress-caused binge eating session, you need to remember, that you were already successful in your intention. Forgive yourself, remember, that you've reached a small goal with your own will power and purpose-driven motivation, and just get back on track. Don't forget the situations or days, when you felt yourself on top. These are the memories, which will be fueling your motivation to move forward Try to mark all the victories in a diary or in your memory, take some photos, create some material evidence of your achievements, and come back to these memories every time you need support. And the most pleasant part is the fact, that you will be your own motivation hero. In conclusion Motivation is a mighty power, which can move mountains and change lives. And, happily, we don't need to mine it in caves or dive into the ocean to find it on the deepest bottom. The biggest resource of motivation is hidden within our own mind - just dive into yourself to find the true treasure. Be confident, believe in yourself and your goal, and you will find motivation wherever you are. Because you're the real hero of this motivation story! References Sanchez CL, Biskup CS, Herpertz S, et al. The Role of Serotonin (5-HT) in Behavioral Control: Findings from Animal Research and Clinical Implications. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;18(10):pyv050. Published 2015 May 19. doi:10.1093\/ijnp\/pyv050 Adam, T. C., & Epel, E. S. (2007). Stress, eating and the reward system. Physiology and Behavior, 91(4), 449-458. Dolan RJ, Dayan P. Goals and habits in the brain. Neuron. 2013;80(2):312\u2010325. doi:10.1016\/j.neuron.2013.09.007 Gardner, B., Lally, P., & Wardle, J. (2012). Making health habitual: the psychology of \u2018habit-formation\u2019 and general practice. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 62(605), 664-666. Batuev, A & Pavlova, Lucia. (1986). The principle of the dominant in modern psychophysiology. Neuroscience and behavioral physiology. 16. 265-73. 10.1007\/BF01148165.