5 tips for Boosting Your Motivation with a Tick Box Chart

This is a post I wrote especially for ProHealth’s Inspirational Corner and first appeared there about 5 weeks ago:

We all want to be as well as we can be, but even when we feel highly motivated to reach as high a level of functioning as possible that doesn’t always translate to great motivation for self-care. We want the results but can get impatient with what it takes to get them. Especially when you factor in the dreaded R word….. rest. The fact that its very nature involves lack of doing makes it feel as though it’s not doing anything useful, it doesn’t seem like an active step to getting results. Even when repeated experience points out that not doing it is a recipe for disaster!

With illnesses like ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease it can sometimes seem as though all your efforts at self-care just don’t seem to be making a difference (or at least not enough of a difference). Keeping motivation to keep it going can be really challenging when the results seem so slow to come. It can be so easy to get disheartened when we don’t perceive success.

Recently I’ve discovered a very simple secret to keeping motivation high: detach the idea of success from the outcome of better functioning, and link it to the fact that you actually did the self-care.  For me it all comes down to the tick box chart (check box).  I feel successful when I see the ticks piling up, I give myself the message that I am achieving something important and it is that sense of achievement; that sense of succeeding in something that keeps my motivation high. Experience has also shown me that in general, a box full of ticks does correlate with feeling better. I’ve learned that without the disappointment of aiming for a particular outcome and not seeing it fast enough, I actually make better progress. However, I try not to fixate on that; it works a lot better when I keep the focus just on being successful at doing the self-care.

5 tips to boosting motivation with your tick box chartBoosting motivation with a tick box chart pin

  1. Start by including all the things you already do pretty consistently for your self-care.

Include just one or two things that you want to improve on and do more consistently.

The whole point of the tick box is to help you feel good about your self-care, so set it up so that you will see lots of ticks and so that it encourages you to get even more.

  1. Anchor filling out your tick box to regular events in your day

Before or after meal times is a good bet, then you get 3 opportunities to remind yourself of anything you haven’t done yet.

  1. Set achievable weekly targets and offer yourself a reward.

If you have 6 things in your tick box, 4 of which you are already pretty regular with and two that you are aiming to do better with, that’s a potential of 42 tick in a week. I’d probably set a target of about 30 ticks for the first week (depending just how regular my first 4 are). Pick your reward in advance and make sure you give it to yourself if you do achieve your target.

  1. Only ever add one new thing to the tick box at a time.

When you start your tick box there might be lots of aspects of your self-care that you want to improve, but keep focused. Decide on one aspect that is most likely to make a difference for you and work on getting it established before adding anything else. When I’m just trying to tighten up on things that I already do but not very consistently, I will add something every week or two if I’m getting results. If I’m aiming to introduce something new I’ll give it several weeks before I add something else.

  1. Share your success, find someone to celebrate with

Identify somebody who you can hold yourself accountable with, someone encouraging who understands the importance of good self-care. Tell them whether you’ve reached you tick target or not. Being open with what you’re doing, somehow makes it more valuable. Celebrating your victories is also really important in terms of keeping motivation high, and much more enjoyable when its shared with someone who also recognises its importance.

My holistic self-care tick box.

As a holistic life coach, self-care means a lot more to me than just taking care of myself physically. I have two categories on my tick box one for things that I know my body needs to optimise conditions for healing and one for things that boost me spiritually and add to my happiness. I know that they are all connected and need to be in balance. I have them separated so that I can see if I’m paying too much attention to just one side of the equation, then I know what I need to pay most attention to the following week to balance things up.

I have been using the tick box system for a long time now so my list is quite long but here’s what it looks like this week:

Optimising conditions for healing physicallyMonTuesWedThusFriSatSun
Tai chi
20mins+ meditation am
15 hr intermittent fast
Dancing in my break
Yoga pm
Stimulation free rest
Drinking lots of water
Energy exercises
Energy testing food
Spiritual/ mindset/ happiness
My daily commitment
Connecting with nature
Meditation pm
Playfulness and trust
Being love


My target is an average of 15 ticks a day: 105 ticks in the week, and my reward will be buying a new trashy novel to keep me entertained during the part of my afternoon rest that isn’t stimulation free.

What will you put in your tick box chart?

A small favour: I’d be really grateful if you could you rate this article using the stars below the related posts. Many thanks!

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

6 thoughts on “5 tips for Boosting Your Motivation with a Tick Box Chart”

  1. Gosh, I love this! I try to fit as many of these into my day, but it’s easy to forget and beat myself up when I feel like I haven’t done enough. Sometimes I lack inspiration so it’s good to have a list to refer to. Thank you so much for all your blog posts – I’ve been following your site for a while and find it really inspirational. Have a great week : )

    • Thank you Veronica, It’s great that you’re already doing so much of this, a tick box really does help to keep you on track with your intentions and keep you inspired. Good luck!

    • It’s taken me a long time to build up my self-care to that level Jane. One thing a time. But of course there are things on the list that I’ve been doing consistently for years because it’s always encouraging to see the ticks!

  2. What a good idea! I keep track of tasks with Google Tasks and check things off as I finish them. The only problem is that my lists only contain the difficult tasks that I need to do. I’m going to try your idea of a self-care task list. Thanks!


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