How To Motivate Yourself: 7 Simple Ways

by Marcus Clarke last updated -

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Understanding how to motivate yourself can be the stepping stone to success. Motivation – and especially self-motivation – is an important factor in several areas of our life. Whether it’s to get up and go to work every morning, finish a task, do exercise, or even just remember to put the cap back on the toothpaste tube, motivation is essential to meeting needs and goals alike.

How To Motivate Yourself?

The best ways to get and stay motivated is to start small, make yourself accountable to your goals, seek inspiration, and visualize yourself succeeding. Let us look at top tips on how to motivate yourself in detail.

Reward Yourself

Motivation often comes naturally when we are doing something we enjoy. Sometimes, we are highly motivated because we want to succeed in our workplace, and yet another reason could be to achieve financial stability.

Four people in an office looking into a laptop

A person showing a presentation to his colleagues in the office. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

However, for other tasks, a self-imposed reward system might be just what you need. Although there’s heated discussion around the topic of incentive plans and reward systems, leading researchers from internationally renowned institutions agree that exceptional behavior and performance are natural outcomes of motivating reward systems.

Challenge Yourself

If you’ve tried the traditional reward system and had no success, try the opposite approach. Take something that’s important to you – it could be money, a favorite item, cellphone privileges or anything else you deem worthy – and hand it to someone who you trust to keep you accountable. Agree on a deadline by which you need to complete a task and if you haven’t completed the task within the set timeframe, your accountability partner will keep the item until the task has been completed.

Start Small

Babies learn to walk by taking one step at a time and doing it over and over again until the movement becomes second nature. Motivation is no different – motivating yourself to become a millionaire within a week is akin to setting a trap for instant failure. Conversely, motivating yourself to make a few dollars in the same timeframe is a much easier and more realistic goal. Starting with small goals will help you come up with the motivation to reach each goal as they ramp up to a bigger objective or task.

Use Visual Motivation

Seeing is believing! Take the time to find a quote, a picture, or a song that inspires you and motivates you to bigger and better things. Order a print with your quote of choice or have one made – or if you’re lucky enough to be artistically skilled, make it yourself! Put it up in a visible spot at home and in your workplace where you’re sure to look at it throughout the day. Inspiring words and pictures can be a great source of motivation not just for you, but for everyone who shares your space.

A flat-lay picture of a man smiling and lying down on a plain background with sun, ship, and coconut tree, drawn on top

A vacation on your mind? Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Seek Inspiration

A simple answer to how to motivate yourself is to utilize outside sources of motivation such as watching motivating TED talks, listening to inspiring audiobooks or taking the time to view a meaningful documentary. These activities can easily be combined with everyday tasks such as washing the dishes or driving to work, and yet provide meaningful resources for motivation in all areas of life from self-worth and confidence to workplace situations, financial matters, and even personal relationships.

Look Good, Feel Good

The old adage of “look good, feel good” isn’t too far off! Research explains the connection between clothing choices and resulting moods and behavior. Essentially, dressing up in ways that evoke positive reactions from others and strengthen your impression of yourself correlate directly to feeling better about yourself and your ability to succeed. Motivate yourself by doing the effort to feel content with how you look – dressing the part can go a far way in motivating you to succeed before you’ve even begun to tackle a challenge.

Two women smiling and working on laptops

Two women smiling and working on laptops. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

See Yourself Succeeding

Drawing a mental picture of yourself succeeding at something before starting it is a powerful and effective motivation tool. Visualizing success is also a conditioning method, commonly used by successful people, including Olympic athletes, who use this form of motivation to visualize achieving a goal in detail and going on to achieve it by refocusing on the visualization over time. Motivating yourself through visualization is thought to provide an extra measure of confidence while directing your efforts at an attainable and realistic goal.

The bottom line: To stay motivated, make sure you follow these simple steps diligently and success will be yours!

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About the Author

Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organizations. Marcus started psysci, a psychology and science blog, in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.

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