8 Practical Ways to Get Motivated

Be Mindful of Your “Why”

When I’m procrastinating and not feeling motivated to do something, it’s usually because the task itself might be unpleasant or uncomfortable. For instance, if I need to clean the floor, but I really don’t like cleaning, then I won’t feel very motivated to do it. However, if I have a big enough reason to do it — because I’m having some guests come over, or I love the feeling of having a clean floor, then that “bigger purpose” can be strong enough to get me to act, even though I don’t enjoy cleaning. If I stay mindful of why I’m doing it, I can get motivated to do it. So remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Break Your Goal Down into Smaller Pieces

It’s easy to psych yourself out and feel overwhelmed or intimidated by very big goals. But if you start breaking your big goal into smaller and smaller pieces, you’ll feel more comfortable taking that first action step. If I want to have a blog with over 1,000 visitors a month, that feels overwhelming and nearly impossible. But if I break it down to smaller and smaller goals, so that my goal for today is to write the first draft of a blog post, that’s certainly something I can motivate myself to start doing today.

Celebrate Your Successes

It’s easy to get down on yourself because you haven’t reached your goal yet. You may overlook all of the hard work and mini-goals that you’ve accomplished. Remember to reward yourself and to celebrate your successes. Would you be able to properly train a dog without rewarding him? In the same way, how can you motivate yourself if you’re not going to reward yourself and celebrate your successes? Think about it.

Imagine Having Already Achieved It

Imagine how good you will feel when you’ve reached your goal. Take a moment and think about how you will feel and what you will think after you’ve achieved it. What does it feel like? You might feel proud, relieved, happy, satisfied, secure, or any other emotion. Focus on that feeling, and use it to drive you right now to moving towards your goal. Just think of how good it will be. Keep the carrot dangling in front of you.

Get Inspired

Read stories, watch movies, listen to other people who have achieved what you want to achieve. Imagine what they had to go through to get to where they are. As Randy Pausch said in “The Last Lecture”, “The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” Imagine how big the heart is of some of your biggest heroes and how badly they wanted what they achieved. Let them inspire you to access your own great desire within.

Post Your Goal Somewhere You Will See it Regularly

Print out your goal and post it somewhere that you will see it all of the time. Let yourself be reminded of what you’re trying to accomplish and why. You might have to get through some difficult and not-so-fun moments of reaching it. So help yourself keep it in mind by having it right there in front of you. Let it motivate you.

Get Help and Support When You’re Feeling Unmotivated

You’re not going to feel motivated 100% of the time. Motivation comes and goes. And that’s okay. When you’re feeling unmotivated, talk to someone about it — your friend, a family member, anyone who will support you. Tell them why you’ve lost motivation and ask them to motivate you. If you don’t want to look to others, try talking to yourself! What kind of self-talk would you use to motivate yourself? How about, “You’ve come this far, you’ve got to see this through”, or “You’re going to feel great when you hit this goal, just push through it.”

Get a Life Coach

Talk to a life coach. Some life coaches actually specialize in motivating you. There are all sorts of tools that they can use to motivate you, including neuro-linguistic programming, hypnosis, and simply asking you laser-focused questions. A life coach can take you beyond motivation to discover what’s really holding you back and why you’re procrastinating.

Do You Want to Get Motivated?

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22 Responses to 8 Practical Ways to Get Motivated

  1. Great list of actionable tips, Tom. For me, it’s been a huge motivator to state my personal life vision (why I do what I do) and my mission (how I do it) and then make sure that all my goals align with them. Simon Sinek’s TED talk on the importance of knowing your why is awesome:
    Although I’m guessing you’ve already seen it? :)

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  3. Natalie says:

    Nice post with good ideas. One more suggestion that works for some people – but might be disastrous for others – is to think of what the results might be if you DON’T do what you know you should. This goes along with your being mindful of why you want to do something.

  4. Thanks for sharing Patrik! For sure, totally agree. Yea, Simon Sinek’s TED talk is great. Funny, I was speaking to a life coach last week and he was talking about finding your core values, that way you can create goals that align with them. It seems like it’s the same idea said in a different way.

    What do you think?

    I’m curious if you’d be willing to share your personal life vision and mission. I’m curious to know what they are…

  5. Oooohhhh I love that one!

    It’s sort of like pain avoidance as opposed to pursuing pleasure.

    Do you have any good examples of this one? Like, if I don’t get this good job, I’ll be stuck at this job I’m not happy at… or something along those lines?

  6. cmcoto says:

    Hey Tom great post! I would suggest to stay focused on the “What for” and not the “Why” you are doing things… The why is multiple causes, and the what for, gives you an objective as it is Teleologic.

  7. Natalie says:

    You got it. For example: “if I don’t exercise (eat right, stop smoking…) my body will give out on me before my kids are grown.”

    You can do a compare and contrast. Using your cleaning the floor example, picture how disgusting it will look if you persist in not cleaning it versus getting it sparkling clean.

  8. Hey cmoto! Love your insights, though slightly confused about the distinction between “what for” vs “why”.

    Can you explain, what’s the difference more clearly?

    Thanks in advance! :)

  9. Exactly!

    Sounds like we agree :) Keep in touch Natalie!

  10. Great tips. I use all of these with the people I work with. Another good one is risk reward. Put yourself at risk if you don’t complete your goal or task. For example, let’s say you hate spinach. You would say, it I don’t work out this morning I have to eat spinach tonight. I bet you will work out. Reward works the same way. Do the goal/task and get the reward. I do find that the risk is more effective…

  11. cmcoto says:

    Hi Tom, sorry, I guess I see the difference as in Spanish the why is “Por qué” and the “What for” is “Para qué”. So they are two different words… I was thinking in Spanish… now that I see it, they are the same in English… sorry. Got Lost in Translation!

  12. Hey Michael, thanks for sharing! :)

    Yes, Natalie was saying something similar as well… to also look at negative consequences if you don’t do it.

    I haven’t used it yet personally, maybe I should try it out :)

  13. martino says:

    I think people do what they do because of their values and beliefs (which they developed from past experience). People fight and even die for what they believe in. If you want to be happy and fulfilled you need to do what is aligned with your values and beliefs. One site that helps you use your values and beliefs to find your life purpose is and its free.

  14. Interesting… I’m sure there might be a difference in English too, I was just trying to figure out how you saw the difference. :)

  15. Curtis Carpenter says:

    everything should be motivating theres are no reasons not to be if you find reasons not to then your wasting time on trying to find reasons to be motivated which are far much more available. the only problems is its easier to find reasons not to.

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  19. reymund says:

    thank you so much for this great that I’ve learned from this…..its a big values for me to motivated myself by achieving my goals or my mission supposed to do it…

  20. You’re welcome Reymund! Happy you find it helpful :)

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