Get back your inner drive: ideas to increase motivation

Best-selling author Denis Waitley said: “Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence.” Another word for drive is motivation. Long-lasting motivation can be hard to maintain. Problems, boredom and lack of energy… can strike all of us. Gaining structure in our lives, and having regular routines and good work habits, are just three of many ways to boost motivation — that inner drive that makes us feel alive!

When your get-up-and-go has got up and gone, as the saying goes, get it back using the tips below.

  • Discover your passions, if you haven’t already. Passion promotes enthusiasm and motivation. Get passionate about what you’re doing. Do enjoyable pastimes in your spare time, especially if your job is mundane. Do, or find, a job that you’re passionate about.
    “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill
    “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso
  • Overcome fears. Fear destroys creativity, concentration… and motivation. Deal appropriately with fear to live the life – and achieve the goals – that you desire.
    “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain
    “When I stopped being prisoner to what I worried was others’ opinions of me, I became more confident and free.” – Lucille Ball
  • Set clear, specific and achievable goals that excite and inspire you. Start with small goals, if necessary. Over time, increase the size of your goals as you improve and get more motivated, if this helps.
    “The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.” – Denis Waitley
  • Break-down large tasks into smaller and more manageable ones. We can feel overwhelmed – and lack motivation – if we think our goals are too big and too far off in the distance.
  • Create a timetable. Include the times that you intend to do the tasks. Print it and look at it daily to remind yourself of what you want/need to do. Write in your diary and/or calendar…, in advance, the specific times, or the amount of time, that you’ll devote to the task.
    “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
  • Start with quick and easy tasks, before doing harder jobs. This can give us a sense of achievement, so help keep us motivated.
  • Get into a regular routine. Get to bed, wake up, start work… at regular times. Routines provide structure, and get us into good habits that can enhance motivation and productivity.
    “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn
    “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed.” – Tony Robbins
  • Set alarms to wake-up, start tasks, end tasks, and so on.
  • Use a timer/stop watch to track exactly how much of the task you’re doing. Record the times, and monitor your progress over the days/weeks/months….
    A person I once knew used this technique (among others) often. She was one of the most disciplined and self-motivated people I’ve ever met, and one of the highest achievers in her field.
  • Focus. Focus on what’s important and urgent, and what needs to be done now.
  • Imagine (visualize) how you’d like to be, and what you want to achieve — feeling motivated, finishing the tasks on time, and so on. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, thoughts are creative. What we often think can come to pass (if the thoughts are realistic…). So often imagine positive and achievable end results that you desire.
  • Avoid self-criticism. This destroys motivation, confidence and self-esteem, and makes us feel bad.
  • Use positive self-talk instead. So after you do something that didn’t turn-out as good as you hoped, rather than thinking: “That was the worst job I’ve ever done! I am a loser! I am awful!” think, for instance, “That didn’t turn-out as well as I had hoped. I’ll find out how to improve, and I’ll do better next time.”
    Winners believe in themselves. They think positive thoughts throughout the day every day. Think like a winner. Think “I will do well”, “I can achieve my goals”, and “I am the best”, instead of “I might…” and “Maybe one day I’ll…”, and so on.
    “In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
    “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan
  • Praise yourself when you complete tasks, see improvements, and so on. To boost your spirits, when appropriate think things such as “Good job!” and “I’m improving!”
  • Get a general health check. See if there might be one or more physical reasons for your lack of motivation.
  • Get your hormone levels checked. When particular hormones are out of balance, we can feel unmotivated. For example, an underactive thyroid gland can make people feel tired and unmotivated.
  • Get your vitamin and mineral levels tested. A lack of iron, for example, can make us feel too tired, unmotivated, and present symptoms similar to those of ADHD.
  • Have your adrenal glands tested to see how well they are working. If our adrenal glands are over-stressed, we can develop adrenal fatigue. This can cause chronic fatigue and other symptoms. For more information check out, for example,
  • Find out if you’re sensitive to any foods and/or food additives. These can cause many unwanted symptoms, such as poor concentration and lack of motivation. Avoid the ones that badly affect you.
  • Have healthy eating habits. What we eat and drink affects our motivation, concentration, memory, and more. A healthy diet, with enough B vitamins, iron, and other nutrients, is essential for maintaining motivation. So, for instance, eat plenty of fruit, veggies and omega-3 fat. Eat low amounts of sugar, junk food, artificial additives, and trans fats.
    Avoid too much caffeine. Although it can cause energy bursts, which can increase motivation, afterwards energy lows can follow. Excess caffeine can also cause anxiety, among other problems.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise boosts energy, motivation and health…, and reduces stress, anxiety, depression…. Even just 15 minutes of exercise three times a week is better than nothing, if you’re starting out. If you are new to exercise, or have stopped for a while, check with a relevant health professional about which exercises are best for you, before you start exercising.
  • Get enough sleep. Most adults need about seven to eight hours sleep every night for good health and high energy levels.
  • Have enough breaks. In your breaks, do things that boost your energy, such as listening to uplifting music, being around positive people, and exercising. But, on the other hand, if your lack of motivation is caused by burnout, for example, you might like having more relaxing breaks.
  • Make time for fun. “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” – Dale Carnegie
  • Put up motivational sayings, posters, quotes… around your home/workplace, and look at them often. Read motivational books, blog posts….
  • Listen to motivational speakers on YouTube…, motivational CDs, and inspiring music. Watch motivational videos, and so on.
  • Remember the benefits of completing the tasks. Write down the benefits and look at them daily to remind yourself of the good things that can happen when you finish the jobs.
  • Reward yourself after completing a task. Rewards give you something to look forward to, and something to strive towards. They don’t have to all be big either. Small rewards could include, for instance, a cup of your favorite coffee or herbal tea, and watching a DVD.
  • Limit how many jobs that you have going at once. Don’t take on too many; it’s better to finish one job and do it well, than have many that are incomplete.
  • Limit distractions, and deal with them appropriately when they occur. Maybe wear ear plugs when studying, reading…, to reduce background noise. Turn your mobile phone onto silent while you work. Have message bank on your phone. Politely and assertively limit the length of conversations (face-to-face, Facebook, phone, and so on) that are irrelevant to your tasks and/or waste time.
  • Persist through tough times. Even if you work at a slower rate than usual, often this can be better than stopping the task altogether.
    If you must have a break, however, do so. Illnesses, injuries, downturns… affect most of us at some stage. But get back on track and into a regular working routine as soon as you can.
    “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
    “After a storm comes a calm.” – Matthew Henry
    “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” – Oscar Wilde
    “‘Use the difficulty’, that’s my philosophy. If you can use it a quarter of one percent to your advantage, you’re ahead.” – Michael Caine
  • Make yourself accountable to somebody. Request that this person regularly checks how you’re going with the task. Once a day or once every few days might be good.
  • Don’t live in the past. Use the past to learn lessons from, but don’t dwell on past experiences too much. It will reduce motivation. See a relevant health professional if your thoughts are obsessive/upsetting you too much. Read credible information on the Internet, in books, and so on, if necessary.
  • Have a comfortable workspace that you want to work in. Make it clean and tidy. Get rid of clutter.
  • Don’t always wait for motivation to strike you before you start a task, because it might not come. Start the task regardless of whether or not you’re motivated. Your motivation can increase as you do more of the task.
    Let’s use exercise as an example. Even if you don’t feel like exercising on your exercise days, exercise anyway (unless there’s a very good reason not to exercise, such as a severe injury). Shortly after starting to exercise, you might find that you get more motivated, and want to continue exercising. I sometimes feel unmotivated just before I start my exercise sessions, but soon after I start them, I don’t want to stop.
  • Keep learning. We need regular mental stimulation to keep motivated.
  • Copy the relevant habits of people who are motivated and successful, and have succeeded in your field. If they can be highly motivated winners, so can you.

“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.”
– Tony Robbins

written by Nyomi Graef

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4 Responses to “Get back your inner drive: ideas to increase motivation”

  1. Mariam says:

    Thank you for this quick and easy to grasp concepts. I feel like I am somewhere in an undefined space with lack of imagination for my future and I am trying to get back to my true self which is full of happiness motivation drive and ability to make positive changes and experiences for myself and all beings I come in contact with.
    It is so great that there are people and professionals out there who live to provide this aid for those of us that it really matters to.

  2. Nyomi says:

    Hi Mariam,

    Thank you for your very kind comment. I hope you find happiness and motivation soon. Keep searching, you can find the answers that you want. I’m glad my article helped.

    Best wishes,

  3. Energy levels are also very important in maininting positive surroundings around us..well wriiten and explained… Thanx for sharing!!

  4. Sometimes I feel like I lack the motivation necessary to become successful, so these idea on how to stay motivated are really helpful. Keeping healthy by getting enough sleep and exercise is a good start, but I really like the idea to listen to motivational speakers. It can be hard to make myself read a book, but watching a video is so easy. I’ll remember this the next time I feel like procrastinating.

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