One of the major setbacks people encounter when they try to implement self-improvement or self development strategies is the failure to find the motivation to make those strategies part of their daily routine. Self-motivation, or the lack of it, is what makes or breaks any and all self-help programs and campaigns.
Self motivation is what separates champions from the also-rans… winners from losers. In fact motivating self is at the heart of all self improvement/self development …and success. It could be that problems with self motivation have so far made you fail to live the life of your dreams.
Here’s a very sobering fact: 95% of achievement is linked to motivation, only 5% of success is knowledge. So what is self-motivation, and what is the key to self motivating oneself?
What is self motivation?
In simple terms self motivation is the internal drive to succeed and reach a predetermined goal. To be successful this drive should be sustained as long as it takes to achieve the goal. So, for example if you are overweight, your goal could be to lose 10lbs in one month, by working out 30 minutes each day and cutting let’s say 500 calories from your daily diet.
All of this is of course is easier said than done. Some days you will wake up and feel that you just aren’t up to it (you don’t feel motivated to continue with the program). Or you find you can’t resist an item on the menu that you should avoid to achieve your weightloss goals. And that’s why having a coach or someone to goad you to succeed is a great idea when you embark on a weightloss program – or any serious undertaking.
Here’s a great self motivation quote by Jim Rohn:
Ever wished someone could come and “turn you on”? Where exercising is concerned, I know I have!
The dictionary definition of self motivation: Dictionary.com defines self motivation as the “initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without another’s prodding or supervision. self-motivated.”
How To Motivate Yourself
This of course is the million-dollar question, how does one motivate him or herself?
In all areas of our lives motivation is a key ingredient for achieving our goals, be it physical goals, relationship goals, financial goals, emotional goals, or spiritual goals. Motivation is the power that takes you from dreaming about improving your life to actually doing something about it. Here’s what one very successful American entrepreneur put it:
When it comes to getting things done to improve your lot in life, you are the best placed person to start the engine, because you hold the ignition key… And as Jim Rohn put it, “You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you.”
At a basic psychological level, if the stakes are very high, you have the “fight or flight” response and self motivation becomes easy. So, for instance if you came face to face with a dangerous animal, most people would find the motivation to fight for their lives, or to run for it… The subconscious mind takes over and the response is more or less automatic.
But in real life, although you still have the duty to motivate yourself, you rarely find yourself in this situation where the subconscious mind runs you life. In recent years however, a number of success gurus such as Jack Canfield maintain that you should tap into the power of your subconscious mind to keep you self motivated to achieve the life of your dreams.
As the gurus put it, motivation is what separates the multitudes of people who know what they have to do to get rich, from those who are actually rich because they take these principles and put them to work, with the help of visualization and their subconscious minds. More on this later…
It all starts with knowing your goals, knowing what you want…
Find out what you really want out of life, what your personal values are. Do you want more time, more money, better health, greater self esteem and confidence, more fulfilling relationships, a different career, to set up a business, to get better grades at school, for the students, or you want to change the world?
Whatever you dream of achieving in life, be it being free to do what you want whenever you want, or to travel and see the world, or to help disadvantaged people in other parts of the world, or live a life where you have no financial worries, etc, it is very important that you know what you want in life.
Then write these goals down… literary pen and paper!
Here’s what Jim Donovan said about goals, that;
“A goal you are carrying around in your head is not a goal, it is a wish.” Jim Donovan, “The Little Book That Can Change Your Life”
And this is what J.C. Penny said about goals:
So, to proceed, goals are very important and they should be written down.
Secondly, your goals should be broken down into smaller, manageable daily goals. It’s easy to say for example, “I want to make a million dollars this year.” A better goal would be to say, “To make a million dollars this year, I should aim to make at least 20,000 dollars each week (or more specifically, $2,800 per day). It’s easier to measure your progress that way…so you can stay the course.
Michael Bolduc in “Power of Motivation” points out that much as goals are very important, “if goal-setting was the only ingredient to achieve success, everyone who set goals would live their dream life.”
So, there is more to succeeding than having goals. Goal setting theory maintains that, “Goals are most likely to be achieved when they are specific, when they are difficult (but attainable), when there is feedback showing the extent of progress toward the goal, and when the outcome is regarded as important.”
It becomes impossible to follow through on your plans and goals if you cannot create within yourself the necessary commitment or willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve those goals.
And the key to making and keeping your commitment is to link unbearable pain to not following through. When you are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed then you will know you are committed enough to follow through and to stay motivated.
Setting goals that you can follow through with is one part of how to self motivate, and we’ll delve deeper into it in another guide. But first, there’s more…
Self Motivating How-to: Leveraging Yourself
Most of us have had goals we failed to follow through. If that is you, you need to leverage yourself to find the motivation you need to achieve these goals. You should begin by writing down your answers to these questions:
What do you think has so far stopped you from having this goal?
What would your life be like if you had this goal? List all the great feelings and benefits if you already had achieved this goal in your life.
What are you presently missing out on by not having this in your life? What pain are you experiencing because you do not have this? What are your family and loved ones missing out on?
If, as we have seen, associating pleasure to achievement causes success, then to succeed we must learn to associate pleasure to what we want. And so, when you couple an association of pleasure to achievement with an association of unbearable pain to failure you become highly self-motivated.
What this means is you are going to be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. And this is the self motivational secret to achieving success.
Quote: “What a person believes about their capabilities influences their motivation and, as a result, determines the instigation, direction, effort and persistence of their future actions.”
Don’t let pain be the reason why you want to people change. Visualizing the life of your dreams and keep that commitment to change alive is the better option.
Still, pain a lot of the time is the reason why people change. Getting flunked grades make you realize that you need to study, and so you somehow self motivate and put in more time and effort with your studies. Debts remind you of your inability to look for a source of income. Being humiliated gives you the ‘push’ to speak up and fight for yourself to save your face from the next embarrassments.
Many times it’s a bitter experience, or a friend’s tragic story, or watching a great movie, or reading an inspiring book that motivates you to get up and get just the right amount of commitment you need in order to improve yourself…
Pain is a great motivator. Another big motivating factor is reward. So, next we’ll look at other ways to self motivate including visualizing your success and repeating affirmations to yourself.
How to self motivate with visualizations
Motivating self with affirmations
This sub-topic has been developed into a mini guide: Taking Self Motivation to bed – How to Succeed While You Sleep (With Personal Affirmations|)
Self Motivational Quotes to Keep You Focused & Committed on Your Goals
One of my favorite quotes for self motivation comes from Vinnie Rege:
If your goal is to become a multimillionaire this should be a great quote as it is. But you can adapt it to suit any goal you have in life. Are you a student looking to improve your grades? Then you should look through the list of the top ten students in your class or school every day, and if you are not in it, commit yourself more to your studies…I hope you get the idea.
Are you looking to improve your marriage? Then do something every day to make your marriage enviable… you do have a list of enviable marriages near you, don’t you?
Whenever you have goals, it goes without saying that you will have to take action to realize your goals. And so, here’s a cute quote from Thomas Edison. Remember the guy who succeeded on the 10,000th try to create a light bulb that worked?
There’s always an opportunity to change your circumstances, but it takes commitment – and commitment is dressed in overalls. And you have to try:
And lastly, a very hygienic recommendation;
In his book “The Success Principles – How To Go From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be” Jack Canfield highly recommends listening to motivational audio every day, to help keep you committed, motivated, and focused on your goals. Motivation, like bathing, should become a daily activity.
Next steps on Your Journey to Success
Motivation alone is not enough to propel you forward to success, whatever your goals. As Jim Rohn said in this quote,
”Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.”
Motivation is necessary to maintain your drive but by itself it isn’t enough. You need action, you need to drive yourself, you need preparation, you need to be passionate about what you are trying to achieve, and you need execution and hard work. You also need positive focus, being able to concentrate to get things done. You need to know how to overcome frustration along the way, and how to overcome limiting beliefs. You also need perseverance and persistence.
Motivation is like the light at the end of the tunnel: hope and a destination you hope to make, but to get there you still have to slog and work at getting there.
The links in the paragraph above point to additional resources, if you should need them to stead you on your path to self motivation and success. For now just bookmark them… and make sure you watch Brian Tracy’s self motivation video below.
I also saved the best for last. Here’s a self motivation video by one of the best motivational philosophers, Brian Tracy.