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Ten Key Steps to Motivate Yourself

Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It's the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. So figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and start being who you want to be.

Look at yourself and determine who you are? Answer the following questions:

QuestionYes No 
You have a strong desire to accomplish something important  
You have a strong motive to achieve  
You are more motivated to avoid failure  
You don’t worry about what others think  
You feel that setbacks and obstacles as part of the game  
You always give your best effort  
You always give your best effort  
You always take responsibility for your actions  
You believe that your success is dependent on your initiative, effort, and persistence  
You feel that you can always improve your performance  
You see demanding tasks as challenges or opportunities  
You view a failure or setback as another step in the process  
You view tasks that require effort are fun  
Do you like to track your spending, food eaten, steps taken, or calls made   

If you have more yes’s than no’s, you are a naturally positive individual that lives a motivated lifestyle.

Do this exercise designed to reveal insights about what drives you. Below you will find a matrix with “Passion” on the X axis and "Confidence" on the Y axis.

In the upper right quadrant puts an activity for which you have high passion and high confidence; in the upper left quadrant affix an activity for which you have high passion and low confidence. In the lower quadrants you place an activity for which you have low passion and high confidence, and one for which you have low passion and low confidence. It becomes clear that those activities in the upper right quadrant are ones we spend considerable time doing. Practice results in mastery and confidence, and confidence reinforces our passion

High Passion High ConfidenceHigh Passion Low Confidence





Low Passion High ConfidenceLow Passion Low Confidence






The upper left quadrant includes things we say we want to do, but usually don’t do, or things we have just started learning. We lack confidence because we haven’t spent time practicing these skills. Whether the activity is singing, skiing, or learning a new language, there is something holding us back from getting fully engaged. It is only by ramping up our commitment to this task that we will put in the time and effort required to pull it into the upper-right quadrant.

Those items in the lower left quadrant are activities we don’t have any interest in pursuing. We are neither passionate nor confident about them. These are great things to outsource to others who enjoy these tasks. Alternatively, if these are tasks that we need to accomplish, there are ways to reframe how we think about them. We can focus on the outcome as opposed to the process, find ways to make the activity more pleasurable or plant rewards along the way.

The final quadrant includes items for which we have high confidence but low passion. This is the most interesting square since it includes items that we have already mastered but don’t enjoy doing. One option is to probe why we aren’t motivated. For some things, we give up on pushing ourselves once we reach a minimum level of skill or get bored with the repetition.

It is up to each of us to actively decide which items we want to have in each quadrant, and to determine what percentage of our time will be spent pursuing tasks that fall on one side of the matrix or the other.

To move from the left-hand side of the matrix toward the right-hand side requires an increase in confidence. The only way to increase confidence is with actions: practicing skills leads to mastery and confidence. And, to move from the lower half of the matrix to the upper half requires an increase in your drive. The only way to increase your drive is to change your attitude. This might mean making a pursuit a priority, throwing off anxiety that the goal is out of reach, or giving yourself permission to fail on the road to success.

We each control our attitudes and our actions and thereby are a master of our own motivations.

 But how do we improve our motivation?

                      Think Like Those You Admire - Think about what they would do if they were in your position. 

  1. Forget Money - If you love what you do, the money will come eventually and on your terms! 

  1. Forget Fear – Fear puts a glacier where there is only a puddle. Mentally push it aside and it will be conquered. 

  1. Forget toxic Relationships – You make the same amount of money, do the same things, are as motivated as the closest five people around you. Look closely at your relationships and see whether or not they are moving you forward or holding you back? 

  1. Forget Complacency - When you’re comfortable, you stop achieving. You hit a plateau and you stagnate. When complacency prevails, enlightenment dissipates. 

  1. Forget the Word “No” - Say “yes” more. Saying yes will get you out of your bubble and living life the way it’s meant to be. You will meet new people and have new experiences.

  2. Stop overthinking - By recognizing and ultimately accepting the unpredictable nature of life, we can stop overthinking and overanalyzing, and start living more in the present moment. This helps to open the mind up to the possibilities of today. 

  3. Try anything. Do something. - When you take action and start doing things, you begin to feel better almost immediately. Instead of thinking about some far-off place in your head, full of uncertainty, you will be working on something that is really certain: your actions.  

  4. Follow your inner voice -  just let go. I let go of all evidence and started following my gut.

  5. Believe in yourself - No longer suppressed by someone else’s ideas of the way things “ought to be,” I continued on my newly discovered path. The more I focused on my own voice and the voices of encouraging friends, the more I grew to believe in myself.  

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