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The Secret to Self-Motivation

There are many, many theories of motivation most of which have been well researched and documented.  I have, over the years, studied many of these theories and have come to the conclusion that there is one very simple secret to maintaining high levels of self-motivation.

Would you like to know what it is?  Let me just say, for now, that you already posses it, it is with you all the time and you have complete control over it.  Keep reading and I’ll share the secret with you later.

Let’s start with a question.  How motivated are you today?  On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being super motivated, ready for anything, energised and raring to go.

Now I’d like to encourage you to consider what has been going on for you today.  From the moment you woke up until right now.  There are lots of things that have been going on in and around you which will have affected the rating you have just given yourself.


Ask yourself these 10 questions:

  1. did you get enough sleep last night?
  2. are you worried about something?Curiosity
  3. do you feel any pain or discomfort?
  4. how do you feel about the location you are in today?
  5. how do you feel about the people who are around you today?
  6. what is the weather like?
  7. has anything gone wrong for you today?
  8. what has gone well for you today?
  9. today, have you been able to do something that is important to you?
  10. do you have clear goals to achieve today?


Your answers to these questions will help you to identify what might be affecting your feelings of motivation today.  Clearly some of these questions reveal factors which can make you feel less motivated (i.e. lack of sleep, worry, pain, bad weather, lack of goals), whilst others reveal what tends to motivate you (i.e. being around people who you like, achievement, the opportunity to do things that are important to you, goals to achieve).

As a result, today you may be more or less motivated than yesterday based on some of those factors.

Having said that, I have met people who have experienced really tough times in their lives through ill health, relationship breakdown, job loss, bullying and other equally distressing situations.  Yet, some of those people are the most motivated people I know.  So, how does that work?

There seem to be people who already know the secret and have been using it to keep their motivation levels high despite really difficult circumstances.

The secret is…..thoughts.  The kinds of thoughts you have about your situation will influence how motivated you feel.  If you feel that there are factors outside of your control that are impacting on you then you are likely to feel helpless which doesn’t inspire motivation.  When you feel helpless to those externalMotivation factors, you enter a downward spiral where your thoughts influence your behaviour, so you begin to behave in a helpless way.  That behaviour, will mean that the external forces take a stronger grip over you and you, in turn, feel even more helpless and so the spiral gains momentum.

True motivation comes from within.

Imagine then, turning those thoughts around so that you take control of them and choose to see the opportunities that arise from the situation you find yourself in.  For example, losing your job.  That is very rarely a positive experience for people and feels as though it is completely out of their control.  So, the way to prevent that downward spiral into de-motivation is to choose a different way of thinking about it.



  • “what could be the opportunities for me now?”
  • “what does this situation give me/allow me to do?”
  • “if I was to view this situation from a different angle how would it look?”
  • “what is the one thing I can control in this situation?”
  • “how do I want to feel?”


It is not just about what you think, it is also about how you feel.  So, by changing your thoughts you can impact how you feel about a situation and that is where you re-gain your motivation.  Thinking and feeling more positively about a situation inspires that self-motivation which gives you the energy to get on with what you need to do.

My challenge to you is to pause before you get out of bed tomorrow morning, take 3 deep breaths and tell yourself how you want to approach the day ahead of you.

True motivation comes from within.

1 Comment
  1. Really helped alot, need more

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