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How Can I Motivate Myself?

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

Isn't it funny how we always say, Oh yeah, I'll start that on Monday?! I’ll start that at the end of the month, or I'll wait until XYZ.

There is a great book by Daniel Pink and it's called When. Within it, he talks a lot about when we start to do things or when we decide to do a project or finish work, all sorts of things. And it's very interesting to find out how many people that he said sign up to do a marathon just before they turned 40, or just before they turn 30 because they feel like it's that accomplishment of turning a decade older, but they probably could have done it four years ago, five years ago, although never thought about doing it. It’s when we have this short window of opportunity that we often find the motivation to get started.

Do you also get that level of extreme motivation closer to the deadline? That you become much more motivated to do something.

I find this fascinating. Often people will ask the question of ‘how do I become more motivated?’. There are actually quite a few things that we can do to improve our motivation.

First of all, when it comes to motivation, it's to understand that we're going to make mistakes and things are going to go wrong. We must create an environment where it's okay to fail, where it's okay to try something, but we have to be great at being able to pick ourselves back up when maybe we fell off the horse or things didn't go to plan.

We can lose our consistency or rhythm and then it can be hard to start it back up again. As individuals, as people, as human beings, we are not machines, we're not engineering, we are emotioneering. And that's what we're looking at when it comes to motivation. It's about picking yourself back up, it's not about how many times you fall.

Something that can definitely halt our motivation is when we have lots of things to do, we have lots of ideas, lots of tasks, then we can feel paralyzed by the ability to just get started because there's a world of choice in front of us. We see it as a big task or big project and we don't know where to start.

Often if we write down everything that we need to do and then we triage it then if can help us to become more motivated. What I mean by that is that we basically select the priority level for those certain things that we have to do. I remember watching this amazing Ted talk and it was by a director of an emergency department. When it comes to saving lives, what do you do in chaos? How do you create calm in the chaos? Or how do you continue to stay motivated? And what she said was that it was very much about triaging the whole process. It's looking at what needs to be done Now Next and Soon. It removes the thinking element of what we need to do because suddenly we know this needs to happen right now. So that is something that you can implement straight away today and have a positive impact on your motivation. This prior planning is key.

I really think Nike said it best when they said ‘Just Do It’ once you've planned in advance, once you've triaged what you've got to do, just start. I have a great friend called Michael Cloonan, who is the People's Coach. He just says, “Pick one!”. So, go on Just pick one, just one, whatever one it is, once you start, it will be easier to continue. And he's totally right.

When we lose motivation, we also can lose sight of why we're doing it or why we want to start whatever it is that we want to be motivated about. My advice is to ask yourself ‘why?’ at least four times.? Write down the first sentence, then ask yourself why based on that sentence, then ask yourself why, again, based on the second sentence that you write down and keep going until you've done it four times. This is where you are going to get closer to understanding yourself and understanding what it is that you want to do. That is really going to help motivate you.

If you're going to look at what you really want, you also have to look at what you really, really don't want. because. As human beings, as people, we need the pain Vs the gain. We need to know both sides of the coin. What is the consequence of not doing this as well as what the positive will be of being able to do it?

If you can do that for yourself, then you are already 50% more likely to be motivated because if you know what you don't want. Sometimes that's the fire that really, really gets me going.

Another thing that can happen as we continue to do the same thing or work towards the same goal, is that we lose sight and start to wonder whether it's possible.

Remember that picture where there is a miner digging for diamonds, and the miner has been digging for a long time, but then gives up because thinks, ‘Oh, there's nothing in here.'. Somebody else picks up the pickaxe, goes into the mine, keeps going for a couple of days and suddenly gets this massive, big diamond find that was there two days later.

We start to lose faith when we don't get quick results. That's why it's important to celebrate your small wins and tell yourself that, but also your belief that it is possible. You have to feed that belief. Surround yourself with people that have done potentially what you're aiming to achieve. Check out some inspirational stories to keep up your motivation too. Remember our brain is there to help us survive and not thrive so it will remind us much more quickly of why we shouldn’t do something versus why we should.

Try putting some of these points into action and you will start to feel more motivated today. What are you waiting for? Pick one and then go and do it!


The Modern Mind Group are emotioneering human performance not engineering it.

As people operations and performance consultants, we work with your business to identify and improve performance gaps so that you can be more profitable and professionally develop your people. Over 12 years of expertise in people operations and performance with results to back it all up. Why settle for the average when there is a world of possibility when you know how to achieve it? Untapped potential - Let's go get it!


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