18 Ways to Peacefully Motivate Yourself

Most productivity tips boil down to clever ways of forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do. How exhausting! It’s so much more peaceful – and so much more effective – to motivate yourself instead of forcing yourself.

Think of one goal you’d like to achieve, but you’re having trouble motivating yourself.

You care. That’s why you chose this goal in the first place. Motivation is basically remembering why you care and how much you care.

So read these 18 ideas with your goal in mind, and think about how you could apply one of them today to remind yourself why you care and how much you care.

#1: Create a vision board

Get a piece of poster board, cut up a bunch of magazines, and create a collage of images and words that remind you of why you care about your goal. Then hang it in a place where you’ll see it often.

#2: Create a desktop or smartphone background

It’s like a digital vision board. Find or create an image that reminds you of why you care about your goal, then set it as your desktop or smartphone background so you’ll see it all the time.

#3: Set an alarm as a reminder

Set an alarm to go off every morning with a reminder of why you care about your goal. I use my iPhone for this, and I set it to play nice, peaceful music with a message that reminds me of how I want to feel.

#4: Use an app

There are apps specifically designed to remind you of your goals. For example, there’s Project365 for a goal of taking a photo each day, Gratitude365 for a goal of feeling grateful each day, and DailyWater for drinking enough water each day. See if there’s an app that could help you with your specific goal!

#5: Write a reminder

Write a reminder to yourself of why you care, and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day.

#6: Create a symbolic reminder

If you have a shared space, you might not want others reading your reminder to yourself. So instead, you can create a symbol that reminds you of why you care, and put that somewhere you’ll see it every day.

#7: Leave your equipment out

The equipment you use to help you achieve your goal can remind you why you care. For example, I leave my Dance Dance Revolution dance pad out on the floor where I can see it all the time, to remind myself of my goal to play DDR 3 times a week. Leaving it out has the added benefit of making it easier to do, since there’s less setup.

#8: Jewelry

Buy, create, or commission a piece of jewelry that reminds you of why you care, then wear it. I have a Soul Mantra necklace made by Liz Lamoreux to remind me of my overall goal for the year.

#9: Daily check-in

Find a partner and ask each other these questions every day:

  • Why do you care about your goal?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you or support you today?

That combination of support and accountability will work wonders.

#10: Daily writing prompt

The introvert’s version of the daily check-in! Write your answers to these three questions every day:

  • Why do I care about my goal?
  • What can I do today to take one step toward my goal?
  • What support do I need?

Even if the answer to the first question is the exact same every day, writing it out over and over helps motivate you.

#11: Trip over your motivation

Put your motivation physically in between where you are and where you need to go. For example, if being outside reminds you of why you care about your goal, put your work station in the shed, so every time you walk between your home and the shed, you get a taste of being outside.

#12: Surround yourself with people who motivate you

If art reminds you of your goal, live with artists!

#13: Bookmark your motivation

If there’s a web page that reminds you why you care, bookmark it and make it your start page. If there’s an email that reminds you why you care, in Gmail you can bookmark that individual email and add it to your bookmarks bar, so when you click to Gmail it takes you to that reminder of your motivation instead of your inbox.

#14: Write a love letter to yourself

When you’re feeling motivated, write a love letter to your future self, telling yourself exactly what you will need to hear to help you feel motivated again. Then, put the letter in a place where you’ll remember to read it when you need it.

#15: Read a book

Read a book that reminds you of why you care.

#16: Watch a movie

Watch a movie that makes you feel motivated.

#17: Visit a friend

Hang out with a friend who reminds you of why you care about your goal.

#18: Get a tattoo

One of my life goals is to open my heart up to love. So I got this tattoo on my wrist (where I’ll see it every time I type) to remind me to ask, “Is love available even here?”

is Love available even here?

Over to You

How could you take just one of these 18 ideas and apply it to your own life and your own goal?

Pace Smith (The Pathfinding Coach) helps sensitive spiritual nonconformists live wild crazy meaningful lives. She’s also a teacher, a speaker, a writer, a Sufi dervish, a bi poly trans gamer geek, an open-source Reiki healer, and a tournament-level Dance Dance Revolution player. Download her free eBook, Find Your Path Now, to STOP living on autopilot and START living the wholehearted, unconventional life you were meant to live.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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