The Key to Self Motivation

When it comes to leadership and motivation a leader needs to be self motivated. Motivation is a crucial aspect to leading effectively and being more productive. I have found those you can motivate themselves can also influence and motivate others. If your wanting to know the secret to motivation then read the below section:

We hear enough sighs from diabetes educators that can’t get their patients motivated to do the right things for their diabetes or health. I have news for you. Motivation is not going to strike you like lightning and motivation is not something that someone else, a nurse, a doctor, a family member can bestow or force on you. Forget motivation and just do it.

Exercise, lose weight, and test your blood sugar. Do it without motivation and guess what. After you start doing it, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it. As Harvard Psychologist Brew Brewed say, you’re more likely to act yourself into feeling then to feel yourself into action. So act, whatever it is that you know you should do and just do it.

(This section was from a Injoy audio lesson from John Maxwell where he quoted this from a medical magazine).

If you want to have more motivation then start doing the things you should or need to be doing. I have found many times when I lacked the motivation to do something but started to do it anyway, I soon started to feel more motivated. Being self-motivated means you take ownership of what you need to do and then start to do it, even when you don’t feel motivated to do it.

Here are a few common things we can start to do even if we aren’t motivated to do them yet:

Start to walk or go to a gym to get into shape.

Start preparing and cooking meals instead of eating fast food to maintain a health.

Start a personal development plan to become a better person and leader.

Start writing and networking to better build your platform.

Start attending church services or gatherings to grow and nurture your spiritual life.

Question: How do you start and stay motivated?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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44 thoughts on “The Key to Self Motivation

  1. I usually renew my mind so I actually feel like doing it, but I think you have a good point. I notice that if I can get the ball rolling in some area of my life, momentum takes over at some point. For example, if I get to the point where I’m caught up on paperwork, it’s easy to keep doing it because it’s not overwhelming anymore.

    But in those beginning stages – when it is overwhelming – that’s when I usually have to keep renewing my mind to have the strength and desire to keep going.

    • Barb,

      Clearing your mind is another great way. I’ll have to try doing that the next time I need motivation. Thanks for reading and adding to the discussion.

  2. I think one of the key things is your line: If you want to have more motivation then start doing the things you should or need to be doing. Too often we are paralyzed by inaction.

  3. To tell someone to “Do it without motivation” and “Forget motivation and just do it” can and does work in very simple situations, but not in the not so simple ones

    In actuality, we cannot and will not do anything without motivation. However, sometimes, throwing out a simplistic “Just do it!” or “Forget motivation!” works because it just happens to motivate the one hearing it. Someone hears it as a challenge, a mild slap in the face that gets their attention.

    I am a former psychotherapist, now coaching on the corporate and individual level. I am all for making things as simple as possible, but to make them too simple only makes matters worse. “Just do it” sounds like a football coach shouting out a pep talk…to whom? Already motivated players who need a shot in the arm.

    For most people who are stuck, telling them to forget motivation and just do it won’t help.

    I know most people know that, but I had to say something because of the context of this post…helping diabetes patients. Or lets talk about obese people. Does anyone think telling an obese person to forget motivation and just do it will actually work?

    As for the quote in the medical journal: medical doctors know very little about motivating their patients. They know very, very little about behavior change. And any doctor who prescribes “Just do it” is confirming that fact.

    • Alan,

      This post topic was more for individual motivation and not getting others motivated.

      I agree with you about not being able to tell your people, “just do it” or “forget motivation” it rarely works well. When it comes to motivating people I think setting the example is a great way to motivate others.

      In the context of a persons individual choices I think this principle/key can be applied. I know many times I have told myself to “just do it” and then when I was in the middle of it I started feeling more motivated and energized.

      For example, after working a long day and after my wife and son go to bed I don’t always feel like writing and often lack motivation. I have found if I just start writing I end up feeling more energized and want to keep writing.

      This same principle can be applied to anyone’s life to help them start feeling more motivated in doing something. Does that make sense?

      How long where you a psychotherapist before entering into the coaching field? I ask because I have a BS in Human Development and have primary worked with youth in the social service field and am now trying to find a job that allows me to better us my strengths and passions in leadership.

      • Hi Dan, just saw your reply. I was in private practice for about 12 years before transitioning to coaching, consulting and speaking. Let me know if I can be helpful in any way with your career considerations.

    • Rob,

      What type of running plan do you have? I’m getting back into running. I have started off walking/jogging 3 times a week and plan on working up from their. But I’m also behind on my desired goals.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • I’ve been doing Couch to 5K. I actually got pretty far (running 20 minutes without stopping), but I’ve gotten really busy. I think the best way to make it work will be to work out in the morning instead of trying to fit it into the evening, but it’s never worked out so well when I’ve tried working out in the morning in the past.

        • It sounds like you know what to do and just need to start doing it. They key is to get into a routine of running even when it’s difficult. Keep with it bro!

  4. I’ve found having a measurable goal and to mark off progress to be excellent motivators.

    Such as

    Run a 25k
    Write blog posts at least 3 times a week
    Lose X amount of pounds

    By listing the goals, I could see them. By measuring them, I could see progress. That was the best feeling in the world and moved me forward.

    • Great point Joe. Having “measurable goals” is so important. I have similar goals as you do,

      Walk, jog, or run 3 times a week
      Have at least 3 posts published each week. 2-3 of my own and one guest post.
      Lose weight and eat healthier.

      Thanks for sharing some of your goals and how you stay motivated. Keep it up bro!

  5. Hey Dan!

    This is so timely. Today, I record my podcast and motivation is the topic of focus! I agree with the principle that you share here. Half the battle in getting motivated is to get moving in the right direction. That said, I think there are still a number of things we can do to increase the likelihood that we will get motivated to accomplish things.

    For example, being clear on why you want to do something and what your desired outcome will look like can keep you motivated to reach that outcome. Removing self-limiting beliefs that keep you from pushing through to the finish will also keep you motivated. Creating a small easy to achieve goals can allow the snowball effect of accomplishment keep you pushing forward to more (that whole getting started thing).

    All that aside, I completely believe, that lasting motivation can’t be found in external sources. The only person who can get you to do things is you. Of course when you allow yourself to be led by the Spirit and help yourself stay the course, staying motivated becomes a lot more likely.

    Have a great weekend, Dan!

    • Marlee,

      Looking forward to hearing the podcast on Monday. You should post a link to your site so others can listen to it on Monday.

      You shared some great and wise thoughts. I think it’s so important to “be clear on why you want to do something and the desired outcome.” This can be great motivation to accoplish it. Great point about, ” creating small achievable goal”, Its often those small wins that lead to the bigger ones. Thank you for adding more valuable content to the discussion.

      I will have a great weekend. You do the same!!!

  6. Great post. I have found my motivation from doing. I spent too much time trying to find the right people, the right formulas and the right motivational talk to motivate me to action. They became an artificial stimulus. It wasn’t until I started doing the things I needed to do that I felt the motivation to move forward.

  7. To contemplate the consequences of not doing something sometimes is motivation enough to get a person going. It really is a matter of answering the question to yourself; “If I don’t do this, am I willing to live with the consequences that could be a, b, or c”?

    I also think that training a young person, by making them do the things they dread, and not just in sports, is something that trains the potential leader to face the less than glamourous issues with a determination those who lacked the training suffer from.

    Huge subject, hard to capture the essence in a post or a comment. Good job.

    • Floyd,

      Great thoughts. Thinking about the consequence if not done can be great motivation.

      I think your advice about “training a young person” is right on. I believe it can build character in the person. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  8. For me it was recognizing the areas in my life that I needed to change and I got up one day and changed them.

    I have been overweight for all of my life, so about two years ago I made a conscious decision to start working out. Once you start something, you are more motivated to do it. I think what helped me is knowing that while I’m still young, now would be the time to change the things in my life that needed to change.

    I think the problem with most people is their desire to change starts with a spark, but nothing continues to fuel the fire to continue. They either don’t see the results they want or they don’t receive the feedback they want immediately.

    It definitely helps having support along the way and this is one area that I am currently working through.

    Great post, Dan.

    • Julie,

      What a great personal example. Thank you so much for being willing to sharing it.

      I think that “spark” can often come from outside sources rather than an inside choice. Listening to a motivational CD about losing weight or anything else can spark you to change but it’s only after you make the inward choice and determination to change that will fuel you to accomplish the desired goal.

      Thanks for reading the post and commenting.

  9. I am now doing my personal strengths finder now to truly see which areas I am an effective Leader. I did the Jim Rohn personal development year long plan and I’m always looking to improve my Leadership skills. As I learn it motivates me to keep sharing with others and as others grow it motivates me to continue. This post makes you think. Thanks Dan.

    • Lincoln Parks,

      It’s great to hear your doing the strength finder test. I think it will really clarify your personal strengths and talents.

      I think if a person wants to be a successful leader and/or blogger then they must be growing and learning. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tyler,

      That’s a great factor to being motivated. Spending time with God can really allow you to get spark motivation (as well as so many other things). Thanks for stopping by and reading.

  10. I love that quote by that Harvard psychologist – you are more likely to act yourself into feelings that to feel yourself into action. How true!

    To stay motivated, i mostly just do it (in the early days of developing a new habit). I also give myself a break so that i don’t start resenting the very thing am trying to get into e.g when i first began exercising, i was doing 6 days strength/core. But i soon bored, tired out a little bit. Nowadays i try to alternate with running, walking and give myself a few more days off.

    • Ngina,

      Same with me, it’s so true.

      That’s great you have the “just do it” mindset. I think you hit on an important point about taking time to rest. I think a day of rest a week is key to being and staying motivated. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  11. Love this, Dan!

    I’m reminded of a time several years back – when I had a bunch of weight I wanted to lose. Except I wasn’t really motivated to do it. One day, though, I just “did it” – got out there and exercised. And it took a few times of doing this – even though I really didn’t “want” to do it – and then, all of a sudden – the motivation was there (along with progress toward my goal)! And it felt great!

    So, thanks for the reminder. I have something else that’s been hanging there – and I haven’t been motivated to do it. It’s time to just forget about the motivation and go out there and do it!

    • Lance,

      What a great personal story and example of this principle. Glad you took the initiative and started.

      Thanks for stopping by to read and sharing. I appreciate it.

  12. “act yourself into feeling” – I like that. I’ve noticed that this is true in my own life as well. There’s a point where motivation becomes self-sustaining.

  13. Dan, as you allude in your post, it just about doing it. I guest posted a couple of weeks ago on motivation. It’s about getting accustomed to a task and sticking with it regardless of our feelings.

    • Brian,

      Great additional points. I think saving money is such an important aspect to a persons future. The key is to start even if it’s a small amount of money. It’s what my wife and I are doing. Those small amounts over time really start to add up.

      Thank you for reading and sharing.

  14. E+R=O.

    Events + RESPONSE = Outcome. The only thing we control in life is our RESPONSE to what life brings our way. And our RESPONSE is the variable that determines our outcomes.

    Great reminder, Dan.

    • Kent,

      Great equation. Thank you so much for sharing it. It’s why our actions and attitude needs to be positive no matter the situation. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Great post! Self motivation is not just feeling good and sitting at a corner and doing nothing. Doing what you want and what you ought to do will give you an additional self worth.

    • Michael,

      First off it’s great to hear from you. I hope your doing good.

      Great point about it creating “self worth.” It’s totally true. Thanks for stopping by and reading.