Self-Motivation Techniques

In the following you can find some excellent motivation techniques that will let you know how to motivate yourself in an effective way. First of all I think it is important to differentiate between extrinsic motivation (which comes from the environment of an individual, such as the desire to be appreciated or recognized from others and the motivational support from another person) and intrinsic motivation that is driven by the feelings, needs and goals of individuals. This article will mainly focus on motivation techniques that help you to increase your level of intrinsic motivation; the motivation that comes right from the inside of yourself, which doesn’t require external influences and can be strengthened by applying motivation methods. Nevertheless, let’s get started with the following proven motivation techniques:

Part I: Quick and Easy Motivation Techniques

#1 Music: Effective Motivation to Go

Let’s start with one of the easiest motivation tactic that allows you to increase your motivation within seconds: listening to music. Music can change your emotional state as it elicits emotions within everyone of us, from positive ones that let us feel energized or allow us to feel comfortable and relaxed right up to emotions that cause sadness and anger. The right song at the right time can do wonders in relation to your motivation and can easily be implemented as an effective motivator into your everyday life. However, it is very important to choose the right type of music, as slow ballads or sad songs might have a negative effect on your motivation. Your first choice should always be your favorite songs that make you feel happy, as you associate positive feelings with these. In case you need some inspiration to find more motivational songs you should definitely have a look at some of the Best Motivational Songs from various genres like Rock & Roll, Metal, Pop, Hip-Hop, Rap, Classic and House. In the following you can find some more motivational songs:

  • Bill Conti – Gonna Fly Now
  • Paul Engemann – Push it to The Limit
  • Queen – We Will Rock You
  • Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
  • ACDC – Thunderstruck

Figure out what types of music get you in an energized and motivated state of mind and use these songs to boost your motivation and to get motivated for the upcoming day! Music as motivator can be easily integrated into your everyday life as you can listen to it in almost every situation: when you are showering, during your ride to work or when you have a short break and need to get energized.

#2 Movies: Source of Motivation and Inspiration

Did you ever felt energized, emotionally charged and ready to take on the whole world after watching an excellent movie? The reason for this is that movies are conceived to arouse all kinds of emotions within us, regardless of whether these emotions are fear, sadness or happiness, enthusiasm and optimism. Especially after having a tough day it can be tremendously helpful to watch a motivational movie to recharge your batteries and to become energized for the next day. Here are five motivational movies that will inspire and motivate you:

1. Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is the story of a simple minded man, who views life through a child’s eye. The movie shows all the astonishing things he accomplishes in his life and how far someone can go without having limited-beliefs and despite of having to deal with a numerous of setbacks.

2. The Pursuit of Happyness
The classic rags to riches story about a man who pursues his dreams with determination and aspiration, without ever giving up; no matter how often he struggles and how worse his life gets.

3. Life is Beautiful
It’s the story of a Jewish man that is with his little son in imprisonment of the Nazi’s and uses his imagination to save his son from the cruel reality.

4. Rain Man
This movie is about a selfish man, whose father bequeathed his fortune to an autistic brother he didn’t even knew existed.

5. The Family Man
This movie is about a successful man, who one day finds himself waking up in a completely different life, which outlines the life he would be living if he had made different decisions in life than he did.

These movies are amazingly great as they encourage us to think about our lives and let us realize how valuable our lives really are. Even though it might just be a temporary feeling it can be the trigger that helps us to change our lives in a positive way and take control of our live.

#3 Books: Words that Enhance your Incentive

I have discovered for myself that reading a chapter of a book helps me to become motivated again and it often stirs my desire to accomplish my goals. Some phrases ignite enthusiasm and confidence within myself and help me to pursue my goals even more energized than before. Napoleon Hill (“Think and Grow Rich”), Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins and Jim Rohn are some of my favorite authors that motivate me with every phrase of their books/texts.

Part II: Powerful Motivation Techniques

#4 Goals: Pure Motivational Power

After discussing the motivational aspects of music, movies and books it is time to bring up the big guns that will allow you to boost motivation and peak your incentive. The following motivation techniques are by far more powerful than #1, #2 and #3 combined and will help you to maintain the motivation for a longer time, but also require more efforts in order to be established. One of these powerful motivation techniques is to set yourself goals, as they help you to nurture your motivation in an effective way and will remind you the reason you put so much effort and hard work into the pursuit of your dreams. A wisely chosen goal that you really want to achieve allows you to do “whatever it takes” until you have accomplished it, which will increase your stick-to-itiveness and will enable you to reach even the most ambitious aims. However, it is essential that YOU have chosen your very own goals, without letting yourself getting influenced by friends, family members and your partner. Inherited goals that your environment constrained upon you will have no motivational benefit for your life at all, as you will most likely not have the boundless ambition to accomplish these. Therefore it is important to associate positive feelings with your aims, without threats, consequences and constraints. As a side note: the more excited you are to start pursuing your ambitious goals the more motivated you will become.

#5 Rewards: Ignite the Desire

By holding out the prospect of rewards for the accomplishment of my goals I stimulated and motivated myself to achieve even the most ambitious aims and visions without giving up. I consider for myself the process of linking a reward with the requirement of accomplishing a goal to be one of the most effective motivation techniques that I have integrated into my life. By rewarding yourself for achieving an aim you can teach your mind that you will get rewarded (= positive feelings) when you made huge efforts that resulted in the accomplishment of one of your goals: [effort = accomplishment = reward]. By holding out the prospect of a reward you can ignite the desire to accomplish your goal in order to receive the reward. This can be most effective when you try to achieve very ambitious aims as it allows you to develop perseverance and the attitude to do “whatever necessary” until you accomplished the goal. In order to maintain the effectiveness of this motivation technique you will only have to comply with these two rules: 1. Never reward yourself if you haven’t accomplished your aim. 2. Adjust the reward to the goal: The more ambitious your goal is the more exciting your reward should be.

#6 Visualization: Peak Motivation

Once you have set yourself some ambitious goals and have held out the prospect of a reward for their accomplishment you can finally make use of visualization techniques that will let you peak motivation. Visualizing is definitely not rocket science, but for some it might take a few attempts to increase the effect of visualization. All you need to do is to imagine yourself achieving what you desire to achieve, e.g. the accomplishment of a goal. The more intensive you can imagine yourself experiencing all the pleasure and excitement the higher will be the benefit from a visualization, as our mind is not able to differentiate between a real situation and an experience we just visualized in a really intensive way. Make sure to choose a comfortable and quite place where you will not get interrupted when you visualize. To increase the motivational aspect of visualizing you need to imagine the accomplishment of your aims as realistic as possible from the first person perspective.

#7 Vision Board: Self-Motivation the Easy Way

I have already mentioned that goals are pure motivational power, but something that will even increase the positive effect of having goals is to create a vision board that includes all your aims, dreams and visions. Furthermore, having a vision board can help you to keep your goals in mind, which is necessary as they won’t no longer motivate you as soon as you have forgotten them. Your vision board should include photos of all the goals, aims and dreams you desire to accomplish and be placed in a location where you can have a look at it at least once a day. Preferably you should place it in front of your office desk, home desk or wherever you need to get motivated the most. A vision board will help you to maintain and strengthen your incentive as it will be easier for you to associate excitement and enthusiasm with a bunch of pictures rather than a list of plain emotionless words.

#8 Needs: Know your Motivational Desires

Accordingly to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs everyone of us has unsatisfied needs and desires (from basic to complex ones) that influence our behavior, whereas satisfied needs do not. As soon as we have satisfied basic needs, such as hunger and thirst we focus towards the satisfaction of the next level of needs, such as safety and health which is followed by friendship and love and thereafter comes the desire for recognition and achievement until we have reached the highest level of needs: self actualization. Maslow’s hierarchy consists of the following five needs that are listed from the most complex to basic ones:

  1. Self-actualization (morality, creativity)
  2. Self-esteem needs (achievement, confidence)
  3. Love/Belonging (friendship, partnership, family)
  4. Safety needs (security of oneself, the family, property)
  5. Physiological needs (food, water, breathing)

Hierarchy of needs

To use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to get motivated you need to be able to identify at what stage of the pyramid you see yourself and match your goals and activities towards the satisfaction of the needs in this particular stage. Professional supervisors make use of Maslow’s hierarchy as well, by motivating their employees accordingly to their individual needs, by providing securities (e.g. job security, health insurances) and by letting team members satisfy their need for acceptance and respect from others.

#9 NLP: Subconscious Self-Motivation?

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the study of how the mind works that encompasses neurology, language and programming; the three most influential aspects that are necessary to let a human experience something. NLP can also be used to peak performance and boost motivation within a few seconds. In order to increase your level of motivation you can apply so called “reconditioning techniques” to establish emotions, such as desire and enthusiasm towards an action and attach these feelings with your goals, which will subconsciously increase your motivation. When you have read the points #4 and #5 you will notice that having goals that are linked to rewards is very similar to this NLP technique, without going too much into detail of the human mind. However, NLP is a study of its own and would go beyond the scope of this article, as there are many important things to consider when exercising NLP techniques.

Part III: Smaller Self-Motivation Techniques

#10 Envision what could happen

I’m not fond of using pain and threats as motivator, but sometimes it can be helpful to envision the negative consequences of not taking action, in an impartial and emotionless way. Doing so will let you realize what you could miss out by not starting to do what needs to be done, which is a great help whenever you lack the motivation to get started. However, it is important not to get your emotions involved with this technique (such as: if you do not exercise you will look ugly, etc.) as this might trigger painful emotions and cause self-constraints, which are huge obstacles when it comes to self-motivation.

#11 Curiosity and Interest

You might have noticed that you felt committed to tasks that you were interested in and that you had the burning desire to accomplish these tasks/goals, as soon as possible. Curiosity and interest are some essential factors that will automatically increase your motivation towards certain activities, tasks and goals. This is only a natural reaction as you associate positive emotions towards these objectives and tasks. Nevertheless, this also means that you might lack motivation whenever you are confronted with something that you are not interested in at all. Luckily you can change this: whenever you are confronted with tasks and objectives that you aren’t interested in you should try to establish curiosity in the very task you dislike. As soon as you are curious about something the interest will follow. In case you are facing some problems in establishing curiosity and interest in something you can also try to visualize the positive outcome and the rewards when you finish a task or accomplish a goal. This will redirect your focus from the task you dislike towards the positive aspects of its outcome as soon as it is accomplished.

#12 Make a Commitment

Talking with someone about your plans or even committing to someone will help you to get started and will provide you an additional boost of motivation as it becomes difficult to change your plans or to put them off without consequences.

Part IV: Extrinsic Motivation

#13 Your Social Environment

All the motivation techniques discussed in Part I, II and III focused on intrinsic motivation hence what you can do to establish and strengthen motivation. However, there is also one external factor that effects your motivation (extrinsic motivation) that you have a slight influence on: your social environment, the people with whom you surround yourself (friends, co-worker, partner, etc.). All these people can have an effect on your mood and your motivation. Just remember how awkward or nerveless you felt the last time you spoke to someone who had a really pessimistic attitude and a lot of negative mindsets. Compare this to how energetic and fortunate you felt the last time you hang around with some of your best friends and had a great time with them. The more energetic and motivated people you surround yourself with the better and motivated you will feel, compared to being surrounded by pessimists or people that complain about everything.

#14 The Environment you are living in

Besides your social environment the environment you are living in can have an influence on your motivation as well. This starts from the room you awake in the morning, to your office or the place you work and the house or flat you are living in. You will notice that a lot of distractions in your room will also complicate the process of getting motivated to start doing something, so as a general rule of thumb we can say that: the less distractions there are in your environment the higher is the possibility to become motivated.

I hope you liked the above named motivation techniques, but please bear in mind that these techniques will only develop their full effectiveness when they are integrated into your daily life.

The following articles might also interest you:

The Secret to Peak Motivation
How to Get Motivated to Study
Ultimate Motivation Techniques