How to Build Motivation


Trying to reach your goals, attain success, and having a worthwhile and meaningful life with a lack of motivation will be an extremely challenging task, if not impossible. Motivation comes from the word motive, which is a need that needs satisfying, or the reason for doing something. If you are able to develop and master motivation then you will be able to develop the necessary skills to attain high levels of achievement in the various areas of your life.

There are two main types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivations are those that come from within, such as doing something because it is enjoyable, interesting, rewarding, or satisfying. It usually relates to challenge and personal growth. Extrinsic motivations are those that come from outside, such as money, trophies, praise, or other external rewards.

Outlined below are three tips to help build motivation.

Tip 1: Self-discipline

Self-discipline means to train and control oneself and one’s conduct, usually for personal improvement. Here are three ideas related to the development of self-discipline, which should help to increase motivation:

Habits – Going from feeling completely unmotivated and having a major lack of self-discipline to the complete opposite isn’t going to happen over night. It is better to develop good habits and build upon them, whilst minimising and eliminating any bad habits we may have. These can include how much sleep we get, our diet, our exercise regime, and what we do in our spare time.

Focus – When we are faced with a task or challenging ourselves to grow, we can either focus on all the doubts and fears we have, we can focus on the challenge itself, or we can focus on all the benefits and rewards that may come from achieving it. Sometimes a subtle shift in our focus from the negative aspects of a task to the positive outcomes is all we need.

Just do it – Often, the best way to get started on a project, or to face a fear is to embrace a ‘just do it’ mentality. The following motivational video featuring actor Shia LaBeouf epitomises this idea:

Tip 2: Goals

It is difficult to stay motivated if we do not have inspiring and worthwhile goals, or perhaps none at all. Also, turn your goals into SMART goals, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound.

Specific – This means to have well defined, clear, and easy to understand goals.

Measurable – Does this goal have specific criteria that is measurable as you progress towards it?

Attainable – Is it a realistic goal that is possible to achieve given your circumstances, skills, and resources?

Relevant – Goals should be relevant to your overall purpose, or life mission. Is it worth the time and energy? Is now the right time? It is related to other goals?

Time-bound – Aim for a clearly defined timeline, including start date and target date.

Tip 3: Depression

Depression is quite possibly the number one killer of motivation. When a person feels depressed, they have low energy, they can’t sleep as well, they have little hope for the future, and they lose interest in things they once enjoyed. Being self-motivated normally can be challenging, but when you are feeling depressed it becomes considerably more difficult.

Here are three ideas to help alleviate this problem:

1) Self-care – self-care includes attending to both your physical needs as well as your emotional needs. It means making sure you get enough sleep, eating the right kinds of food, and setting aside time to assess your emotional wellbeing and relax when needed.

2) Exercise – Exercise has been proven to help with depression, because it releases endorphins, and can give you a sense of accomplishment. Going for a walk, jog or run in nature can also help, because spending time in nature has also been shown to be good for both your mental and physical wellbeing.

3) Self-esteem – Trying to raise your self-esteem is a good way of combatting feeling depressed. There are numerous ways of increasing self-esteem, including: identifying and challenging negative beliefs, focussing on your strengths, working on your weaknesses, challenging yourself to try new things.


“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” ~ Lou Holtz

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” ~ Zig Ziglar

“I’ll always use the negativity as more motivation to work even harder and become even stronger.” ~ Tim Tebow

“When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation.” ~ Arsene Wenger

Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.” ~ Les Brown

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” ~ Mario Andretti

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