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How to Motivate Yourself: 25 Ways to Increase Motivation

Written by Scott H Young
Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.
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Who needs Tony Robbins when you can motivate yourself? Overcoming the emotional hurdle to getting stuff done when you’d rather sit on the couch isn’t always easy. But unless calling in sick and waking up at noon has no consequences for you, it’s often a must.

For those of you who never procrastinate, distract yourself or drag your feet when you should be doing something important, well done so far! But for the rest of you, it’s good to have a library of motivational boosters to move along.

Passion, habits, and a flow-producing environment can fail despite your best efforts. In that case, it’s time to find whatever emotional pump-up you can use to get started. Whether you’re starting a business, trying to lose weight, or breaking a bad habit, learning self motivation is important for success.

Ways to Work Towards Self Motivation

Here are the top twenty-five techniques of learning that you can motivate yourself down the road to success.

1. Go Back to “Why”

Focusing on a dull task doesn’t make it any more attractive. Zooming out and asking yourself why you are bothering in the first place will make it more appealing.

If you can’t figure out why, then there’s a good chance you shouldn’t bother with it in the first place.

2. Adopt Five Minutes Strategy

Instead of exhausting yourself with work all at once, you can work towards your goals by adopting a five minutes strategy.


Start working for five minutes, then take a short break. Often that little push will be enough to get you going.

3. Move Around

Exercise brings levels of mental clarity like nothing else. If you can’t go to the gym, follow home workout videos on YouTube or stream fitness classes on apps like Peloton. If you prefer doing cardio outdoors, go for a run.

To build muscle, buy a pull-up bar or kettle bells and get to work. If you have bad joints, go for a swim in your nearest lake or ocean.

The bottom line is that there are so many fun ways to stay in shape [1] and get endorphins flowing, and it can help you learn how to increase motivation.

Get your body moving as if you were extremely motivated to do something. This ‘faking it’ approach to motivation may seem silly or crude, but it works.

4. Find the Next Step

If it seems impossible to work on a project for you, you can try to focus on the next immediate step.


Fighting an amorphous blob of work will only cause procrastination. Chunk it up so that it becomes manageable. Learn how to stop procrastinating in this guide.

5. Find Your Itch

What is keeping you from working? Don’t let the itch continue without isolating it and removing the problem.

Are you unmotivated because you feel overwhelmed, tired, afraid, restless, or angry? Maybe it is because you aren’t sure you have time or you haven’t finished your delegated tasks yet.

6. Deconstruct Your Fears

I’m sure you don’t have a phobia about getting stuff done. At the same time, hidden fears or anxieties can keep you from getting real work completed.

Isolate the unknowns and make yourself confident; you can handle the worst-case scenario.

7. Reframe Your Questions

Let’s say a problem that seems impossible to solve has you demotivated. Then, you can invest a lot of time upfront to frame the right questions.

In the Tribe of Mentors, author Timothy Ferriss encourages his readers to ask, “How would it look if this [endeavor, goal, etc.] were easy?”

In The One Thing, author Gary Keller suggests you ask yourself, “What is one thing I can do that would make everything else less important or unnecessary?”


Think about the problem you want to solve and ensure you ask the right questions. Also, consider if you have assumptions baked into your line of thinking. Remember: it’s always better to ask (the right) questions than to assume. These methods can turn a frustrating problem into an inspiring solution.

8. Get a Partner

Find someone who will motivate you when you’re feeling lazy. I have a friend I go to the gym with. Besides spotting weight, having a friend can help motivate you to work hard when you’d normally quit.

9. Kickstart Your Day

Plan out tomorrow. Get up early and place all the important things early in the morning. Building momentum early in the day can usually carry you forward far later.

Having a morning routine is a good idea for you to stay motivated!

10. Read Books

Read, not just for self-help or motivational books but, any book with new ideas. New ideas get your mental gears turning and can build motivation. Here are more reasons to read every day.

Learning new ideas puts your brain in motion, requiring less time to speed up your tasks.

11. Get the Right Tools

Your environment can have a profound effect on your enthusiasm. Computers that are too slow, inefficient applications, or a vehicle that breaks down constantly can kill your motivation.

Building motivation is almost as important as avoiding the traps that can stop it.

12. Be Careful with the Small Problems

The worst motivation killer is facing a seemingly small problem that creates endless frustration. Reframe little problems that must be fixed as bigger ones, or they will kill any drive you have.


13. Develop a Mantra

Find a few statements that focus your mind and motivate you. It doesn’t matter whether you pulled them from a tacky motivational poster or just a few words to tell you what to do.

If you aren’t sure where to start, a good personal mantra is “Do it now!” You can find more here too: Empowering Affirmations That Will Help You Be Mentally Strong

14. Build on Success

Success creates success.

When you’ve just won, it is easy to feel motivated about almost anything. Emotions tend not to be situation specific, so a small win, whether a compliment from a colleague or finishing two-thirds of your tasks before noon, can turn you into a juggernaut.

There are many ways you can place small successes earlier on to spur motivation later. Structuring your to-do lists, placing straightforward tasks such as exercising early in the day, or giving yourself an affirmation can do the trick.

15. Put Some Motivation in Your Ear

If you’re stuck in a slump, I’ve found that all it takes is one rousing speech to change your mindset. Changing your mindset is a great way to learn how to increase motivation.

The right motivational content at the right time can transform your attitude. Pop in your headphones, and do a Google search for “motivation.” There are thousands of speeches on YouTube, even mega-mixes of motivational speakers like Joel Osteen, Wayne Dyer, Les Brown, etc.


Here is a motivational talk that you can check out to improve your self-motivation.

16. Give Back to Others

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” -Mahatma Gandhi

When you’re hurting, the best thing you can do for yourself is to help others. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true.

Focusing externally on making a difference in the lives of others provides you immense satisfaction, which can also improve motivation. These acts of service make your problems look and feel smaller. Most importantly, you feel more empowered to overcome any challenges you face.

17. Call Your Most Positive Friend

We’ve all heard the adage, “You are the sum of your five closest friends.” It’s true because what our peers say, affects us.

If you suffer from negative family members or peers, their cynicism will slowly infect you. Instead, drown them out. If your mother is pessimist-in-chief, tell her you love her, and then draw some boundaries. Spend more time with people that are always searching for the silver lining.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend or that acquaintance you haven’t spoken to since high school. If you don’t have anyone like that in your community, join Facebook or LinkedIn Groups for positive thinkers. Attend a virtual Meetup of like-minded individuals. Don’t overlook the importance of your inner circle as you learn how to improve motivation.

18. Find Your Creative Side

Creativity is an essential skill and will gain more importance in the future. It’s one of the few things that can’t be automated, outsourced, or offshored.


Have you ever wanted to write poetry, play an instrument, or paint? Stop talking about it and start doing it. Pull out a piece of paper, buy a starter kit online, and unleash your artistic side to break through your slump.

19. Listen to Music That Moves You

There’s never been a better time to go deeper into your favorite music genres or branch out and explore something new. Start with a “Best of” list, like the Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Use websites like SoundCloud and Spotify’s Discover feature for finding new artists. Most importantly, they can help you get out of a funk and back to being productive as you learn how to increase motivation. Achieving your goal will feel much easier with inspirational music in the background.

20. Start a Gratitude Journal

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.” -Neale Donald Walsch

Let’s take some lessons from the horrible pandemic—a simple but profound one: just appreciate everything we have.

It wasn’t our first crisis, and it won’t be the last, so let’s take heart in gratitude for the simple pleasures in life. Appreciate that satisfying meal, the roof over your head, loving friends, and family.

It’s easy to fall into the cycle of wanting more. Instead, build the habit of writing down three things you’re grateful for in your journal every day. You don’t need to list a million items. Instead, go deep into why you cherish a few people and things that mean the most to you.

21. Cherish Past Victories

Most people don’t chase their dreams because of fear. They don’t think they have what it takes—talent, resources, connections—to accomplish their goals. The best antidote is to relive your own victory story.


Think back to a time when you did something you previously hadn’t thought possible. Maybe you earned a promotion, got an A in a class, or traveled solo. If it’s been a while since you stepped out of your comfort zone, go back to your childhood.

Remember how you learned to ride a bike when you were scared, made a new friend, or asked someone out even though you were shy? We’ve all overcome fear in the past, so keep it in your mind as you learn how to improve your motivation each day.

22. Jot Great Ideas Down

You likely have dozens of great ideas each day, but life is a constant stream of distractions. We often forget about these ideas before we can give them a second thought or use them to create measurable goals.

Many comedians and artists get their best ideas in random moments—on the bus or waiting in line at the store. When a motivating idea or thought enters your mind, or you hear it outside, write it down immediately. This way, you can refer to and build on them later, rather than let them fall into the quicksand of time.

23. Disable the Distractions

The average person gets interrupted once every 8 minutes. It’s no wonder that people struggle to stay focused.

Put your phone on do-not-disturb, or shut it off completely. Do the same for your desktop apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or email. If you’re in a noisy environment, get noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. Follow the Pomodoro Method and set a timer for 25 minutes.

By reducing distractions and scheduling regular breaks, you will find yourself getting more done and going deeper into your work. You’ll thus get better results, creating a virtuous cycle of motivation.


24. Learn From History

If you’re unsure how to become your best version, follow those who inspire you. Maybe your idol is a parent or mentor—ask them about their past and discover how they grew into who they are today. Investigate the lives of famous people and find where their success left clues. Start with biographies or autobiographies.

Finding inspiration will help you learn how to increase motivation in the long run.

25. Just Breathe

The most important part of your daily morning routine should be meditation. You’re probably familiar with some of the benefits of mindfulness, such as feeling calmer and better able to handle stress by reducing negative thoughts. Through consistent practice, I also improved my mental clarity and focus.

We all have a “monkey mind” that’s always on the move, like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. All of life’s distractions consume our thoughts, even when it’s unproductive.

By meditating, we can consciously choose which thoughts to interact with. This practice gives you the mental space to operate at peak motivation and inspiration.

Final Thoughts

With all these tips I’ve shared, now you know what to do when you’re feeling unmotivated.

Find your passion and develop a positive mantra so that when the next time negativity hits you again, you know how to stay positive and motivated!


Don't have time for the full article? Read this.

How to Motivate Yourself: 25 Ways to Increase Motivation

Staying motivated is important to lead a productive and fulfilling life. If you lack self-motivation, you will not be able to excel, progress, or thrive in your life. It is important to keep your morale up and find value and purpose in your life to lead a meaningful existence.

Find Your Passion: The best thing to keep yourself motivated is finding your passion in life. Enjoying what you do makes it easier for you to stay motivated and active daily.

Overcome Your Fears: Our fears and hesitations often limit us from exploring our true potential. Overcoming your fears allows you to freely venture into your passions and interests and find motivation in your success.

Have a Daily Routine: A daily routine is another driving factor to keep yourself motivated. Having a routine to follow keeps you going without having much time to doubt or contemplate things.

Be Creative: Creativity nurtures self-motivation. Indulging in creative pursuits, for example, writing a poem, reading a book, or listening to a song, can help you stimulate your inner motivation.

Avoid Distractions: Distraction is your prime motivation killer. To stay focused and self-motivated, keep all your distractions away from yourself.


[1]Herbalife Nutrition: 5 Best Workouts to Try at Home
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