10 ways to motivate yourself

Do you struggle with motivation? What can you do if you lack the desire to do anything or get things done?

We all have moments where we need help getting motivated, life throws curveballs and it can be a little difficult to overcome them at times. I’ve certainly had my share of demotivating experiences. Here are 10 ways I motivate myself when I need it.

10 ways to motivate yourself (1)

1.) Affirmations 
The affirmation/quote that has gotten me through many hard times, especially my divorce and homelessness was “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” ~Carl Jung.

I have affirmations everywhere – on my mirrors, in my wallet, on my screensavers for various devices and I repeat them to myself, with conviction. I select affirmations or quotes that resonate with me or inspire me and change them every few weeks. The Carl Jung quote has stuck with me for years though.
I share some affirmations and quotes I like regularly on my Facebook page and twitter too.

2.) Physically see your dreams
I used to have in mind my dream home and that was something I was working towards with my business and income. When I felt unmotivated to work or save I would look it up online or attend open homes of the properties similar to what I was after.

I found this physical reminder helped me refocus and get motivated again. If you can, physically look at or touch whatever it is you are going after/dream of/working towards and imagine yourself there.

3.) Attitude of gratitude
Our thoughts and mindset our often underrated when it comes to finding motivation. When struggling with any difficult aspect in my life, one of the most useful actions I can implement is to write a gratitude list. It has taken time to get used to doing it and I tend to stay in a funk for longer if I don’t do it. Once you put it into practice you can do it mentally whenever something challenging happens that slows your motivation.

To do it, get out a piece of paper. Think about what is happening right now that has demotivated you, what is going on in your life then at the top of the paper write “Reasons I can be grateful for … (whatever issue you are facing…)
Then underneath that, list out the reasons you could be grateful for what is happening, lessons you can learn from it and what positives might or are coming from it.

To give you an example, in 2012, after leaving my abusive husband I came home to my new home which we had moved into that week to discover I had been robbed of everything including my underwear. I freaked out, then sat down and wrote a list like this:
“Why I can be grateful I got robbed”
– We weren’t home, so my daughters and I were not in danger and they do not know it happened
– I am insured and can now replace everything at no cost. Replacing bad memories from certain items I owned, I won’t have to wear clothes bought by him/for him (meaning my ex-husband).
– It was just stuff

You get the idea. I managed to list 10 reasons to be grateful/lessons to learn/positives that would come from it. This helped me get on with things, lodge the insurance forms and cope day to day. When I felt overwhelmed I pulled out this list and read it.

I lost a lot in that robbery – jewellery such as my mothers, my grandmothers and great grandmothers diamond rings, jewellery given to me at the birth of my children, specially made items etc. However, it’s just stuff. My kids and I were safe. Stuff is replaceable. I haven’t replaced my jewellery though.

4.) Exercise
Exercise helps me to clear my head, gets my blood pumping, gives me great ideas and enables me to cut through whatever it is that is going on in my head to get back on track. Try going for a run, doing a gym class, swimming at the pool, anything that gets the blood and endorphins pumping will make you feel good, energized and refocused.

5.) Life review
Do a complete review if you haven’t done it before. Review your goals, look at how far you have come not only how far you have to go. Despite my accomplishments there are many times I have felt I was failing or was not successful.
List some of your accomplishments, no matter how small, work out your values and see if how you are living is in line with them. If it’s not, it’s hard to get motivated!
6.) Motivation wall
My motivation wall includes my vision board, quotes and affirmations, my goals including graphs tracking my savings for certain goals and anything I find motivating. I found this more effective than the vision board on its own.

7.) Talk to someone
Counsellors, friends, being part of a mastermind group or even talking to online friends/acquaintances in private Facebook groups can be helpful to get you motivated and back into whatever you were doing. I have a few groups on Facebook I have found to be very supportive. Alternatively, create your own group or a mastermind group who help each other.

If you have someone who knows about your challenge, when you feel like giving up, they can help you see how much you’ve achieved or why you will achieve it and shouldn’t give up.

8.) Read
I read blogs relevant to whatever I am lacking motivation in. If it finances I will go to my favourite finance blogs, or I might Google finance blogs and see what comes up.

9.) Help someone else
Volunteering where possible or doing random acts of kindness is a great way to not only help the community but also feel good. You should help others out of the kindness of your heart not just to make yourself feel better. Helping others takes your mind off your own problems, gives you a different perspective and you often meet interesting people.

10.) Time out
Sometimes you are simply burnt out. You have been doing too much for too long and need to step back, take a break and look after yourself. I do this regularly and will go somewhere that has no internet connection sometimes or at the very least will switch off my devices and go do something I enjoy. Getting completely away from it all is confronting at first, you feel like things will fall apart without you there, but it’s liberating once you get into it. The world won’t end because you took some time-out.

What tips do you have to motivate yourself?

*Originally posted May, 2011. Revised and re-published 12 May, 2016


  • Jake

    this is a wonderful article. At times I find myself stuck and I hit the wall when it comes to me being motivated. I workout but I think I will use those visuals to "keep my eye on the prize."

    Thanks for the post.

  • overamillionorbust.blogspot.com

    Needed motivation myself today…peeked a look at my 'motivation book' and found some new motivators to paste on. Thanks

  • katiegirl

    Sometimes I just need some time-out. Do something completely different, relax and deliberately forget about my goals.

    And then when I'm relaxed and least expect it, I have a really great idea, that gets me excited all over again.

  • Dee

    If I need to get back on track, I sometimes look over my spreadsheets to see how far we have come, or check out a new finance book or magazine from the library. That usually does the trick!

  • Lisa

    thank you for visiting my blog, I really enjoyed your motivation article. Just what I need at times to get me started is reading different ways to get motivated, look forward to coming back for more.
    have a wonderful day!

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