How To Motivate Yourself: The Definitive Guide

how to motivate yourself

Finding out how to motivate yourself is paramount to any achievement. Without motivation, you’re just drifting in the ether, going nowhere.

Procrastination is a bitch. Easily one of the biggest barriers to people achieving their goals.

Now:

Discovering how to motivate yourself to achieve what you want in life consists of many factors. I’ll be breaking down the core variables that contribute to your level of motivation and show you how achieve bulletproof motivation with anything in your life.

First, lets start with one of the biggest barriers…

The dreaded procrastination. This is huge. This one thing is the reason so many people don’t get what they want, they plan to do something and have a desire to achieve but the most important part of taking decisive action just doesn’t happen.

This is why i’m dedicating a huge chunk of this article to this one factor alone.

Here are 15 practical ways for you to stop procrastinating and start taking massive action…

How to motivate yourself

how to motivate yourself

1. Spend time with people who inspire you

The company you keep is so important to your motivation and how you are as a person in general. The people you spend time with influence your behaviours and habits in certain ways. If you spent a day with Richard Branson or Warren Buffet, (for example) its highly likely that you’ll be motivated and pumped to take huge action towards your goals.

Make friends with the hard-workers. The ones that go out there and get what they want. If your friends are lazy ass, bum ass, motherfuckers, you will find it so much harder to cultivate the drive required to get shit done and chase those dreams!

The bottom line:

Sometimes you need to close doors to open others that will lead you on the path to success. Hang out with positive people that inspire you and make you feel good.

2. Get rid of distractions 

Many of us are so easily distracted. In this day and age, distractions are everywhere. It can be very difficult to unplug from everything and focus on the task at hand.

Turn off your electronic devices and make sure you’re in an environment that is quiet enough for you to concentrate. Some people may find that some soft music helps them concentrate. There are many ready made playlists out there designed to help you focus so just experiment with a few and see what works best for you.

In my own experience I find that any sort of music or disruptive sound distracts me and kills my concentration levels, working in silence is when i’m at my most productive!

I also find that if my working environment is messy, I just cannot focus as well as i normally would. You know the saying… tidy house, tidy mind 😉

The bottom line:

Make sure you have a clear, tidy workspace. Get rid of things that you know distract you. Change your environment if your are unable to focus due to distractions in your current one. It’s surprising how much of a difference a change of environment can make.

3. Create a to-do list.

This is crucial to finding out how to motivate yourself and taking action to achieve your goals. You need to do this. You don’t want to be wasting precious time figuring out what you’re actually doing when you do finally start taking action.

List everything related to the goal you want to achieve. Create a step-by-step blueprint of what you need to do to get to where you want to be. Even set a time frame for each specific task if you need to. You’ll feel awesome when you start ticking those boxes off the list and the remaining tasks start diminishing.

Tip: I highly recommend Evernote for creating checklists and generally keeping your stuff organised. Evernote is an application that can be seamlessly integrated and synchronised across all your devices. It can be used for creating to-do lists, clipping web articles, sharing information and so much more.

The bottom line: Create a blueprint/to-do list outlining each task required for you to achieve your goal and tick things off as you go along.

4. Take a break

If you find yourself getting super easily distracted and you just can’t focus on the task at hand then your best bet is to take a break for half an hour or so. Do whatever you want to do and come back refreshed and ready to take some massive action!

Sometimes you’ll find that you just aren’t in the right headspace for certain tasks and you need to relax for a while or even sleep on it and try again in the morning. If you’re going to sit there and stare at a screen for an hour, you’re wasting your time.

The bottom line: 

Take periodic breaks every hour or so. Even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you’re really struggling to focus, take a longer break and come back with a fresh head or even sleep on it.

5. Stop trying to be perfect 

If you’re going to wait for the perfect time to start a project, you’ll never get going. There is never a perfect time. Funnily enough, research shows that people produce their best results when they’re forced to take action and have no other options. Many of the highly successful major companies of today, started off in a recession. Companies such as Microsoft and Burger King, for example.

No matter what you do, there is always room for improvement. A rough draft has to be created before it can be transformed into a perfect piece of content.

Justice Brandeis once said “there is no great writing, only great re-writing”.

The bottom line: 

Don’t wait for the perfect time to start taking action towards your goals. This will only delay your success. Start taking action today and don’t stop until you achieve your goals.

6. Do one thing at a time

You might think you can juggle 20 different things in one go but how well is each task going to be completed? Not as well as if you focus all your attention on one thing at a time. The truth is that we suck at multi-tasking.

Take baby steps and always focus on the next task at hand. Avoid thinking about how much more you need to do to get to where you want to be, as this will create overwhelm.

Always complete the task at hand before moving on to the next thing. Don’t leave anything unfinished. You can even reward yourself for completing a particular amount of work. Small rewards such as a snack or your choice or something similar work quite well as we all love instant gratification!

Bottom line:

Take baby-steps. Focus on one task at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking about the overall picture. Reward yourself for solid amounts of work completed.

7. Get a business buddy

Find someone who shares a similar mindset to you. Someone you can share ideas with. Both of you can hold each other accountable to your goals. You can pick each other up when feeling down and generally motivate one another to be persistent and consistent!

It’ll be even better if you both share the same goals as you can learn so much from each other. Collaboration and proper team work is powerful. You can come up with some awesome ideas. You can also give constructive feedback so you can make improvements on whatever task you’re focusing on.

The bottom line:

Having someone you can share ideas with and hold you accountable will drive you to get stuff done. You’ll also have the ability to improve your work by getting constructive feedback from your buddy.

8. Get up and do it

This is one of the most important points steps to finding out how to motivate yourself. Stop thinking about it. Stop thinking about anything. Your mind will pull you into a stream of thought that could last for ages and stop you from getting shit done.

Get up and start taking action NOW. It really is that simple. There is no magic way to propel yourself into a state of unlimited motivation. You acquire more motivation by taking action in the first place because this gives you momentum! 

Momentum is powerful.

This is the single most effective technique I have found that works wonders for me because I’m very lazy by nature. It isn’t even a technique. Throwing yourself into a task will generate motivation as you get through it. Motivation isn’t this magical thing that just appears out of nowhere.

The bottom line:

Stop thinking. Get off your ass and start taking action. Start with small baby steps. You’ll soon find that momentum and motivation have an awesome snowballing effect.

9. Consequences

Come up with consequences that will stop you from avoiding the task at hand. Hold yourself accountable for your own actions. Discipline is very important here as if you don’t follow through with your consequences then you become your own worst enemy. If you had to pay £500 to the person you despised the most for not getting something done, you would make sure it got done!

The bottom line:

Create consequences for not completing tasks. Hold yourself accountable for your own actions. Money-loss tends to work the best.

10. Meditate

I’m sure you’ve heard loads of good things about meditation, especially recently. More and more research is being done into meditation and the findings are pretty staggering in terms of positive effects on the mind and body.

Transcendental meditation in particular is one that I regularly practice and highly recommend for anyone. It is simple yet hugely effective. Transcendental meditation allows you to settle your mind inward beyond thought to a deep, silent level of consciousness – your innermost self. This deeply restful experience of transcending thought rejuvenates the mind and body, leading to a huge range of benefits in day to day life.

This can have a drastic impact on you in terms of productivity, motivation, confidence and more. 

The bottom line:

Meditation is going to make you a better person. You cannot argue with the positive effects on a persons day to day life meditation has. Definitely something worth looking into if you’re someone who wants to maximise your potential.

11. Do the hardest thing first

This is a crucial point if you really want to know how to motivate yourself and achieve your goals.

Its always best to get the hardest part of the job out of the way. This will spur you on to complete lots of the other smaller tasks, so you end up getting loads done! It will also give you a motivational boost on the overall project and generally make you feel pretty good about yourself.

Putting off the hardest thing on the other hand will only make you procrastinate more about the whole thing so don’t do it!

The bottom line: 

Get the hardest task out of the way as this will motivate you to complete loads of other smaller tasks and you’ll feel awesome.

12. Exercise

Keeping fit and healthy is very important. If you’re malnourished and don’t do any exercise, it will probably affect your motivation, drive and ability to concentrate.

Try to eat decent food and exercise regularly to stay on top of your game. One of the most common benefits of exercise is stress relief. This can work wonders on your levels of productivity as stress is one of the biggest motivation killers out there.

The bottom line:

Look after yourself. Eat well and exercise for you to be on top of your game and produce your best work.

13. Talk about it 

If you’re struggling to find out how to motivate yourself to do something, find someone you can have a nice little chat with about it. You’ll be surprised how beneficial this can be to give you the motivational boost you need to get shit done. It also adds that level of accountability as you tell someone about your goals and what you want to achieve.

Exchanging ideas and relating to people are powerful things. Being open about what you plan to do and what you want to achieve has so many benefits.

Just don’t discuss big ambitions and goals with negative people as they will probably try to put you down and you don’t want them to drag you into their fear-based way of thinking.

The bottom line: 

Share your thoughts and feelings with others. Be open and honest. Avoid negative people as you don’t want those ugly vibes!

14. Watch motivational videos

There are many channels on youtube dedicated to putting out some of the best motivational videos out there. Channels like Absolute Motivation and Ping Pong Studio are very good at making you think twice about your life situation.

Very powerful, paradigm shifting stuff.

This one gives me goosebumps:

One of my favourite videos is “Mindshift”. This is an inspirational video about how your thoughts and feelings create the world round you. How your mindset affects every aspect of your life and how one of the most profound things you can do is to change it.

Hopefully by now you’ve taken away some great tips on how to motivate yourself!

Now:

Moving on to some other factors that affect your level of motivation…

Confidence: 

Confidence affects every part of your life. In terms of self-improvement i’d say its the number one thing people should be working on. Everything becomes easier when you’re fully confident in yourself, your abilities and the value you provide to people.

In my own opinion, confidence stems from many different areas:

  • The thoughts you think. What you think about yourself will have a huge influence on your overall confidence level.
  • The experiences you have in life – Life experiences give you broader perspective and understanding of things which in turn breeds confidence and assurance.
  • Identifying your insecurities and overcoming them – This can be a difficult one for a lot of people but this needs to be done in order for you to be fully confident in yourself. I won’t go into the details of how to overcome insecurities here, but one of the main parts of it is research, which brings me onto my next point.
  • Gain wisdom by doing research into the self – You might have heard of the ancient greek aphorism “know thyself” or the Socrates quote “the unexamined life is not worth living”. These quotes point to an understanding of our true nature. You should know and understand who you really are at your deepest core. Know that you are not your thoughts, feelings or emotions. Learn to dis-identify from negative thinking – become the “silent watcher on the hill” and realise that you are the awareness that shines through, not the ego that you think you are. This will take you into different states of consciousness, the world around you will completely change as you operate for a different state of mind.

Dealing with fear and finding your driving Force: 

Fear is one of the biggest things that control too many of our lives.

Identify what fears are affecting your life and GO DO IT. Ignore how you feel inside. This is obviously harder than it sounds but the bottom line is, its the simplest way to overcome your fears.

What drives you to do what you are doing? is it that you have a passion for it, is it something that fascinates you?

Is it the end goal that motivates you to complete the mundane day-to-day tasks? Or is it your current shitty situation motivating you to take massive action so you can change your circumstances?

Your driving force is what makes you take the required steps to achieve your goals.

For someone who truly wants to change. They will find a way. No matter what.

Too many people make rubbish excuses though. I don’t have the time, money or I cant do it.

That is the story they tell themselves and they believe it so in turn it becomes their reality. They are a victim of their own self-created circumstances.

Too many people make significant life choices based on fear disguised as practicality.

So step up. Rise up above your pain and don’t let fear hold you back. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Break through the barriers of the comfort zone you’ve created for yourself. True growth and all the good stuff in life is found outside your comfort zone.

We’re all in this together. I still struggle with many of these things myself and i’m still learning everyday. If we want to achieve our crazy goals we need to keep taking relevant action and keep hustling.

I’ll leave you guys with one of my favourite motivational videos i’ve recently come across on youtube. All about becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Check it out:

  • It’s a fact, procrastination is a real bitch and I have fallen to its wiles on more than one occasion. Every single time though I’ve found that it was always an illusion. The job or task that I was I was always putting to one side was never as hard as I had made it out to be. Once I made a start on whatever task it was trying to avoid I was kicking myself for taking so long to start it in the first place.

    A brilliant post as always.

    • Procrastination sucks. It is the one thing that has stopped so many people from achieving their goals. Yeah you’re right Peter – I’ve had the same experience also. The task is never as bad as its been made out to be in the mind and I find that when I start something I generate motivation through the momentum I have!

  • I liked the 8th point (Get up and do it ). You are right, most of the time we just make plans and do nothing except overthinking. We have to stop thinking and start doing.
    Amazing post, Thanks for sharing.