Self-motivation – that is, having the inner drive to complete tasks or achieve goals without relying on other people – is one of the most important skills you can develop.
It helps you get where you want to be.
And whether your goal is related to work, exercise, or study, having a sustained level of self motivation will help you reach your endpoint in the quickest and best way possible.
There are two main forms of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic.
Extrinsic motivation comes from the outside, for example, when you are promised a reward for completing a task.
Intrinsic motivation comes from within and is driven by a sense of inner satisfaction.
Both are effective forms of motivation, but if you are intrinsically motivated, this is likely to be more long-lasting and consistent, because you’re not reliant on anyone else to sustain it.
Why is Being Self-Motivated Important?
Self-motivation is important because it drives us to succeed.
There are some specific benefits you can expect from being self-motivated.
If you’re naturally a motivated person, you’ll likely be aware of these already.
If not, here’s what you can look forward to after following our useful tips, techniques, and strategies:
- You won’t have to rely on anyone else to motivate you.
- You’ll be brave enough to take risks and accept opportunities, confident you’ll make a success out of them.
- You can move consistently towards your goal, establishing good habits along the way.
- Your self-motivation will lead to high levels of productivity.
- You’re determined, so you can sustain efforts to reach your target.
- You’ll benefit from a greater sense of achievement, because it was your effort, and not someone else’s, that got the job done.
- Your mental health will be improved because you have a purpose.
- You’ll bring positive energy wherever you go – and who doesn’t love to be around a happy and energetic person?
Strategies, Tips, and Techniques to Self-Motivate Yourself at Work
If there’s one place you want people to see you as a motivated person, it’s at work.
Proactive employees, who show strong leadership skills, or who go ‘above and beyond’ will all demonstrate high levels of self-motivation.
With the pandemic came unparalleled numbers of workers transferring to home offices, away from our colleagues and the work setting that would usually motivate us.
Most of us aren’t used to working alone, so it’s easy to let bad habits develop.
Also, managing relationships virtually requires higher levels of emotional intelligence, which can be tiring.
So although it can be a challenge to stay productive, with a little extra effort and the right advice, this is certainly manageable.
Here are some useful tips and techniques to help you improve your motivation in the workplace, wherever that workplace might be.
Simplify to Focus Your Energy
Sometimes the thought of starting a large and complex task can be too much.
For some people, fear of failure stops them from even trying.
For others, losing concentration part-way through a long task can make it difficult to complete.
If the job at hand is overwhelming you, or you don’t seem to be making progress, try breaking it down into smaller goals.
Doing ten short 15-minute bursts across a day is much more likely to end in success than sitting down for a solid two and a half hours.
Try out this use of short-term goals as a new technique, and you’ll see it can be really helpful for motivation and making progress.
Find Your “Why”
Finding your “why” can be a difficult one.
But it’s essential, as Simon Sinek explains in his WHY approach.
Having a reason for doing something is definitely important for maintaining motivation.
But when the task you have to complete isn’t interesting, it can be really difficult to dig deep and keep plowing through.
Try to look beyond the work you’re completing, and instead of your goal being finishing the task, think about other ways you’ll benefit from getting it done.
For example, if you complete the work on time and accurately, your boss is more likely to give you good feedback in your next appraisal.
Changing your drivers for doing different things can have a huge effect on your motivation level.
Gratitude has received a huge amount of press over the last few years, as a way of improving your mindset and learning to spot life’s positives automatically.
If you can apply this to your work life, it is more likely to motivate you to do your job well.
What are you grateful for at work?
After the job losses throughout the pandemic, maybe it’s as simple as being grateful to have a job.
Or perhaps you love your team members and the social life you share with them.
Maybe your job is located in a really convenient place.
If you begin to actively focus on what you like about your job and what you’re grateful for, eventually it will become second nature, and you can high-five yourself for implementing another good habit.
Learn a New Skill That is Relevant to Your Role
Not everyone is given the opportunity to learn a new skill on the job.
But, as well as making you a more attractive employee on paper, it can also do wonders for your engagement level, and can make a job you’ve been doing for years seem fresh and interesting again.
A common misconception is that training is expensive, but actually, training doesn’t always have to cost money.
There are plenty of free, online courses that can act as a taster for an entirely new topic.
For example, the Open University offers a suite of free courses, and Future Learn offers free content as well as paid subscriptions.
Volunteer Your Services to Others
Although it can be difficult to find time for more activities in an already busy life, volunteering is an activity that will bring you ample reward.
Doing something for another person has been proven to improve mental health in many ways.
It can be as simple as distracting you from your own troubles.
Or enjoying the challenge that comes from trying something new.
Or maybe your reward will come from making meaningful connections with other people.
Volunteering is just as beneficial for the volunteer as the person they’re helping, increasing self-motivation and feelings of wellbeing in life overall.
Strategies, Tips, and Techniques to Self-Motivate Yourself to Study
Studying at university is an undertaking that requires dedication and – you guessed it – motivation.
But there are so many university activities that are more fun than studying.
So, it’s important to plan some strategies that will keep you making progress towards that all-important goal achievement.
Create a Plan
Planning a study timetable is a fantastic way to organize your time and to develop a daily habit where you commit to working at specific times.
Think about when you study best.
For some people, this will be in the morning, whereas others are better at staying motivated late at night.
Identifying the times you find it easiest to concentrate will make sure your study efforts are most effective.
Once you’ve decided how often and when you are going to study, draw a timetable or print one out, and display it somewhere prominent.
Not only will this increase the likelihood of you studying when you should, but it will also help you enjoy non-study times without that voice in your head saying ‘You really should be studying’.
Identify Several Comfortable Study Environments
As important as deciding when to study is pinning down where you’re going to study.
It’s all very well deciding you’ll go to the library every day, but if that library requires taking a bus, or driving, the likelihood of you sticking to it is low.
But if you can set up a comfortable and quiet place at home, that’s ideal, because it requires no effort.
However, try to have a few different places you can go, to stop location fatigue from setting in.
Maybe you and a friend can study together, alternating between their home and yours.
Or, find a local cafe with cozy nooks where you can set up camp for a few hours of study.
Try out a few places and see where works best for you.
Get Enough Sleep and Stay Healthy
It’s the easiest thing in the world to burn the candle at both ends.
Especially when you’re at university, potentially experiencing a new way of life, and real freedom for the first time.
Here are some common areas of a student’s life that can suffer, and some ideas about how to maintain a better balance:
- Late nights and early lectures don’t make for the healthiest mix, so try to allocate at least a few nights each week where you sleep for a full 7-8 hours.
- Nutrition is another aspect of health that can suffer when study becomes a priority. Grabbing a snack instead of dinner is fine occasionally, but it’s no substitute for eating healthy, balanced meals when you can.
- Exercise is also important. Because studying is largely a sedentary pursuit, making time for physical activity is hugely important, especially as it also helps improve your mental health.
Connect with Friends and Family
Leaving the familiarity of family and long-term friends can be difficult, especially if it’s the first time you’ve been away from home for a long period of time.
Try to make plans each week to reconnect with loved ones.
Booking in a Zoom call with your family on a Sunday evening can give you the boost you need to start a new week.
And chatting with friends will help you maintain a positive mindset, keeping you grounded and feeling part of your tribe.
Also, making time to hang out with your fellow students in a non-work capacity will help you make ties to your university city and will provide support for the unique stresses of life in higher education.
Tame “Time Monsters”
What’s a “time monster”, you ask?
Well, it’s any task that eats up your time in a non-productive way.
We’re all slaves to a “time monster” in our life now and then, so having time management techniques in place to help you overcome them is important.
The most common ways to tame a “time monster” are:
- Avoiding procrastination – this is one of the most common ways of wasting time. Be aware of when you’re procrastinating so you can redirect your focus.
- Planning your days – knowing exactly what you want to achieve during a study session will help drive you towards your long-term goal of academic success. Smart goals can be useful here. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Try to make sure any plans you set for your day meet these criteria – here are some handy pointers.
- Setting time limits on certain activities, such as responding to emails or messages, so you can maintain the momentum of your progress.
- Balancing work and non-work time – although studying is important, doing it for too long without a break is draining, especially when concentration levels are flagging. Realize the importance of non-work time and plan it into your life.
Strategies, Tips, and Techniques to Self-Motivate Yourself for Entrepreneurship Success
Entrepreneurship is often seen as the ultimate freedom.
Creating your own business and working for yourself should bring with it automatic personal motivation, right?
But, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Here are some specific ways you can maintain your internal motivation levels to build yourself a strong and successful company.
Create a Strong Mission Statement
A mission statement is something that defines the aims and values of a business or person.
If we accept that motivation comes from knowing what our goal is, then we can also accept that having a strong mission statement is essential.
Spend time thinking about exactly what you want your company to achieve.
Is there a reason you’re doing what you do?
Are there specific ethical beliefs you want to incorporate into your mission statement?
Getting this clear at the beginning will help to keep you motivated towards reaching your goal.
Set Realistic Goals
As important as it is to set goals, you also need to make them realistic.
The person who says they’re going to earn their first million within six months is setting themselves up for a fall.
Whereas, aiming for a figure in the region of £10,000 is much more achievable.
And it’s way more motivating to aim for a goal and reach it than to do the same and fail.
It’s helpful to conduct some research in your field before you start.
What are similar companies or businesses achieving?
Use this as a basis for setting your own personal goals.
Read Motivational Stories
Some people credit their success in the business world to reading articles about other successful people back in the early days of their careers.
Stories that end in a positive way can act as strong external motivators, showing you what can be done with drive and determination.
They can also provide important pointers, advising on what you should and shouldn’t do.
If you’re looking for some inspirational stories of successful entrepreneurs who started with nothing, Startups is a site that’s bursting with examples.
Surround Yourself with Motivational People
Although learning about success through stories and articles is undeniably valuable, there’s nothing quite like meeting motivational people in the flesh to keep your personal drive high and your focus clear.
Is there someone you find particularly motivating?
If so, perhaps ask if they’d be willing to informally act as a mentor.
People love to be asked for help, especially if you compliment them while doing so.
If nobody springs to mind, perhaps link up with a professional coach or mentor who can help you to define your motivators and plan how to remain focused in pursuit of your goals.
Here, Forbes gives some ideas on how to find the ideal mentor as an entrepreneur.
Focus on Your Mental Health
If you’re going to be working for yourself, it will be your responsibility to look after your own mental health.
Nobody will give you a nudge when you’re taking on too much, or when you would benefit from taking a step back.
Although it feels counterintuitive to take a break when you’re trying to develop a business, it’s not only advisable, but it can often be invaluable.
In this downtime, you might just have a light-bulb moment, or notice something previously unseen that will have a positive effect on your company.
So don’t see protecting your mental health as something without benefit, it will keep you more balanced, which will, in turn, strengthen your self-motivation.
Strategies, Tips, and Techniques to Self-Motivate Yourself to Workout
We all know how difficult it can be to drag yourself out of bed at 6 am on a cold November morning to go to the gym.
Staying in bed is usually a much more inviting proposition.
But by keeping a focus on why you’re doing it, you’ll find poking that first toe out from under the covers that little bit easier.
Here are some tips that will help you maintain self-motivation when it comes to working out.
Follow The 3 x 10 Rule
If you struggle to find a 30-minute block of time to work out, why not consider the 3 x 10 rule?
This is where you do three micro-workouts each day, fitting them in around your busy life.
A brisk ten-minute walk to the train station will get you off to a great start.
Maybe another lunchtime power-walk to grab a sandwich, and then a final ten-minute workout, focusing on strength or flexibility while waiting for dinner to cook – the NHS has some great simple routines to try.
If you schedule your exercise this way, it can be much less of a time burden, meaning you’ll feel more motivated to consistently fit it into your day.
Rethink Positive Thinking
“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”.
This is one of the best-known positive thinking mantras of recent times.
But while these nuggets of pop psychology wisdom are popular, their benefits in everyday life are gradually being discredited.
Research now suggests that an incessant focus on having a positive attitude can do more harm than good, and can actually de-motivate us.
What works better, according to Gabriele Oettingen, is the WOOP approach, which is at its heart:
- Defining what we want.
- Considering what obstacles are stopping us from getting there.
- Working out strategies to overcome those obstacles.
When it comes to working out, this all makes sense.
Telling ourselves “I am strong and powerful, I am fit and healthy” doesn’t actually make us any of those things.
But following the WOOP approach, first, you would define that you’d like to be strong, powerful and fit.
Then you’d identify that having insufficient time to work out, and not having enough money for a gym membership are your barriers.
In the third step, you can begin to find workarounds for your barriers that will help you make progress towards your fitness goals.
Find a Non-Fitness-Related Reason to Exercise
Although fitness is the main reason why we exercise, there are lots of other benefits you can focus on to aid your motivation if the promise of fitness doesn’t work for you.
- Focus on the mental health benefits. Exercising at the start of your day will boost your mood and make you feel more energized.
- Maintaining regular workouts will tone your muscles and potentially lead to weight loss, bringing those too-small clothes back into your wardrobe rotation.
- If you struggle with insomnia, you could focus on using exercise to improve your sleep, as it’s proven to strengthen our natural circadian rhythms.
Find a benefit that’s important to you and make that your focus – it will undoubtedly improve your attitude towards exercising and will, over time, make it easier to get yourself to the gym.
For the competitive souls amongst us, the promise of a win can be a great boost when exercising.
Have you ever noticed yourself taking part in an unspoken competition with another gym user?
And does it make you put in much more effort, so you can ‘win’?
Bear this in mind if you need a little more get-up-and-go in your gym session.
Link up with a friend and set up a series of races and competitions, it’ll boost motivation for both of you, especially if the winner gets a prize.
This leads us to the next tip…
For the gym bunnies amongst us, getting fit can be a great internal motivator in itself, but if you don’t enjoy the sport or working out, there’s no harm in strengthening your personal drive with some external motivation too.
Why not make a pact with a friend to work out at the same time, so you can have a chat afterward?
Or maybe promise yourself a takeout coffee from your favorite coffee shop after you’ve completed your daily exercise.
To motivate yourself in the longer term, you could promise yourself a massage if you go to the gym three times a week for the next month.
Rewards are an effective way of motivating yourself until you reach the point where, hopefully, you will genuinely enjoy exercise and will be able to motivate from within.
What is the number one self-motivator?
The number one self-motivator is determination.
It’s the most important attribute to create and maintain the motivation that will drive you towards your personal goals.
Determination can’t come from the outside, it’s an emotion that comes from within and with it, you can overcome any of the barriers that stand in the way of your success.
What causes a lack of self-motivation?
A lack of self-motivation is disheartening and it can be caused by many factors, including not having a purpose or goal, being physically or mentally unwell, feeling discouraged due to failure or rejection, or allowing the procrastination “time monster” to take over.
What is the most powerful form of self-motivation?
Intrinsic motivation is the most powerful form of self-motivation because it comes from within yourself, and so isn’t reliant on others to be sustained.
Intrinsic motivation brings satisfaction because you’re doing something you like, and it can come from the pleasure of completing a task, or the enjoyment of mastering a new challenge.
The self-motivation definition that began this article was ‘having the inner drive to complete tasks or achieve goals without relying on other people’.
And while all the tips we’ve shared can increase your levels of motivation, it’s really this inner drive that is the key to increasing self-motivation.
Keep this in mind as you move forward – visualize your goal, and keep focusing on why you want to achieve it – and this focus will help you succeed in whatever you choose.