25 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself

Feeling less than motivated all too often?

I do (especially on Mondays).

Sometimes I just feel really unmotivated and wonder to myself how I can stop being so lazy?

But over the years I've found solutions to this very common problem. Here are 25 of them. Try a handful.

Let me know which ones work well for you.

I’m sure you’ll find at least one or two that do just that among these suggestions.

1. Make a deal with yourself.

Good for overcoming procrastination and getting things done. You can make the deal small or large.

You simple tell yourself something like: When I'm done with this chapter/these reports I can take a walk in the park and enjoy an ice-cream.

2. Act like it.

If you don’t feel motivated or enthusiastic then act like it.

The strange thing is that within a few minutes you actually start to feel motivated, positive or enthusiastic for real.

3. Ask uplifting questions in the morning.

Here’s what you do; every morning ask yourself five empowering three-part questions this way:

What am I ______ about in my life right now?

What about it makes me _______?

How does it make me feel?

Put in your own value in the blank space. For instance, a couple of my questions are:

What am I happy about in my life right now?

What am I excited about in my life right now?

It’s important that you really feel how it makes you feel. When I think about the last part about what makes me happy right now I really feel it.

These morning questions are great because the way they are set up makes you recognize things you take for granted and then they really get you to feel those positive feelings.

4. Move the goalposts.

Set a large and specific goal. This will motivate you much more than small goals. A big goal has a big effect and can create a lot of motivation.

5. Do something small and create a flow.

Just clean your desk. Or pay your bills. Or wash the dishes. You just need to get started.

When you have finished that small task you’ll feel more alert and ready to go do the next thing. You just to get started to get motivated.

So if you really don’t feel like doing anything, start with something small and work your way out up.

6. Do the toughest task first.

This will ease a lot of your day-to-day worries and boost your self-confidence for the rest of the day.

7. Start slow.

Instead of jumping into something at full speed start slow.

When you do that your mind will not visualize the task as something hard that you have to do fast, fast, fast. If your mind sees such things guess what often happens?

Yep, you don’t get started.

Actually getting started, even if it’s at a slow pace, is a whole lot better than not getting started at all.

8. Compare yourself with yourself.

Not with others. Comparing what you have and your results to what other people have and have accomplished can really kill your motivation as it ups your self-doubts.

There are always people ahead of you. Most likely quite a bit of people. And a few of them are miles ahead.

So focus on you. On your results. And how you can and have improved them.

Reviewing your results is important so you see where you have gone wrong in the past to avoid similar missteps further on.

But it’s also important because it’s a great motivator to see how much you have improved and how far you have come. Often you can be pleasantly surprised when you do such a review.

9. Remember your successes.

And let them flow through your mind instead of your failures. Write down your successes.

Consider using a journal of some kind since it’s easy to forget your successes.

10. Act like your heroes.

Read about them, watch them, listen to them. Discover what they did that was special and what made them tick.

But remember that they are people just like us. So let them inspire you instead of looking up at them admiringly.

11. Remember to have fun.

Or create fun in a task. Then you’ll stay motivated to do and finish it.

12. Get out of your comfort zone.

Face your challenges to get a real boost of motivation.

It can help you get started and take that first scary step outside your comfort zone.

13. Don’t fear failure.

Instead redefine it as feedback and as a natural part of a successful life. As Michael Jordan said:

“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Also, try to find the valuable lesson(s) in each of your failures. Ask yourself: What can I learn from this?

14. Do some research on what you are about to do.

Then your expectations will be more grounded in reality and you can also get good hints on what difficulties that you might run into along the way.

Managing your expectations can lower the often almost explosive initial enthusiasm. But it can also lessen the lack of motivation that usually follows when most of that enthusiasm has dissipated.

When you know what has happened to others in similar situations – what path they have walked – you can adapt and try their solutions (and personal variations of those) and your own.

This makes it easier to stop worrying. And challenges easier to handle.

Both emotionally – since you know at least some of the things that will happen and that others have lived through it before – and practically.

15. Figure out why you’re doing something.

If you don’t know or don’t have good enough reason to do something then it will be hard to get it done. Do things that you have really strong reasons to do.

If you want to do something then figure out a good reason to do it.

If you can’t find one consider dropping it and doing something that you have a good reason to do instead.

16. Write down your goals and reasons for working towards them.

Tape them on your wall, computer or bathroom mirror. Then you’ll be reminded throughout the day and it becomes easier to stay on track and stay focused.

17. Focus on the positive.

Learn to think more positively most of the time. Learn to let to go of negative threads of thought before they have a chance to take hold of you.

You might not be able to be positive all the time no matter what happens. But I think most of us can improve on our positive thinking and the results it can lead us to.

Perhaps more than you realize right now.

18. Cut down on TV.

Do you watch it too much? Watch less of what they are doing in TV-land and do more of what you want to do in life.

19. Break it down.

Break down your task or project into small steps. And just start with focusing on that first small step. When you are done move on to the next and just focus on that one.

The small successes will keep your motivation up and keeping your focus away from the big picture stops you from overthinking, becoming overwhelmed and discouraged.

It’s amazing how much you can get done if you follow this simple method.

20. Reprogram your information intake.

Program out negative and cynical thoughts from the media and society. Reduce your information intake.

Then program in positive news and entertainment, more of your own thoughts and useful information such as personal growth podcasts and books. Be selective and keep it positive.

21. Make use of your creativity.

Take out a piece of paper. Write at the top of the page what area in your life you would like to have more ideas about. Perhaps you want ideas to earn more money or become a healthier person.

Then brainstorm until you have written down 20 ideas on that topic. Then try for 10 more.

Not all ideas will be good. But some will.

And as you make use of your creativity you not only discover useful ideas. You also discover just how creative you can be if you try and how motivating and great that feels.

22. Find out what makes you happy.

Then do that. As much as you want or can.

23. Listen while you're on the move.

Build your own small library of motivational/personal development tapes. Listen to them while you are driving, riding the bus or your bike, while you are out running or walking.

Take a peek at my recommended personal development products if you are looking for a good place to start.

24. Think outside your box.

Don’t imagine the future from the box of what you have now. Just because your mind is in box of previous experiences doesn’t mean that’s the limits of the world.

Your possibilities are much larger.

Create the future from the now and from nothing rather than your past to experience bigger changes with fewer limitations than you would if you created it from what you can see from your box.

25. Make each day count.

We don’t have all the time in the world. So focus on today and do the things you really want to do.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Personally, if I really need an extra push to get going on something I’ll set up a mini reward/contingency system. Basically, I’ll take something I really want to do and then not allow myself to do it until I’ve completed my task for the day. For example, if I’m looking for a job and procrastinating about it, I won’t let myself use the computer or watch TV until I’ve handed out five resumes that day.

    If you pick the right motivator, it can be quite effective in forcing your hand. Exerting this kind of leverage over yourself works well for things that make you a little nervous too.

  • Another great list!

    I have recently discovered that combining the idea of immediately doing any 2-minute or less job that right in front of you with your #5 (“Do something small and create a flow”) creates great personal momentum AND a big feeling of accomplishment. When you string several of these fast jobs together, you really get in the flow of things, and when you look back, you can see a lot of results for your efforts. Sometimes that even translates into energy to tackle something big right then and there.

  • I’ve been using comparison and it’s indeed a good way of motivating ourself. Recording past achievements and comparing it with the present gives us an idea of how much we can actually do.

  • Mitul Desai

    Best way to get motivated is to have discipline in life. Have discipline in what we do and suppose to do. Accountability is also key factor in personal growth. Person also must need to have teachability so that inside door is open for more useful information from others.

    However all above ways are excillent. Get master on it. You will make it in life.


  • Great list. I remember that i used to have fun doing some of my task and it was great. I don’t know why the fun slowly died. Probably because of too much concentration which kills our imagination.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Anonymous

    Great list, really interesting.

    Since I’m a stickler for these types of things, it should be “peek” instead for “peak” on #23.


  • Chris: That´s a great way to get yourself to do things and something I have used quite a bit myself.

    TheWriteJerry: Thank you for sharing. Stringing together small tasks is a great way to create a flow and I have experienced pretty much the same thing as you using that technique.

    Alan, Mitul Desai and Fran: Thanks for your comments.

    Anonymous: Oops, I´ll fix that. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    fine and usefull

  • Hi All,

    Honestly a good collection has been done to set it on our desktops as a daily working manual / handbook.

    Keep reading week on weeks & see its miraculous results when put in to practice, you will just grow stronger & greater than before, on self analysis.

    Likewise, given an option, we can plan out & share / put up our own good- thoughts of the day,from our daily unique experience in handling peoples, environment & every subject we touch upon, for the betterment of our brethren.

    Keep it up,

    [email protected]

  • Dean

    you havnt failed in life until youve killed yourself

  • anna

    I am 27. I spend long hours thinking of times that have passed and regreting things that I didnt do. I am trying to get out of this habit, but till I stumbled on to your blog, I was trying feebly indeed. Will keep you posted on how I fare.


  • Flair

    GROAR! This – is – great.

    I’ve been digging through your blog, taking notes on already more than a third of its contents and what is more important = putting it to use for more than a month right now. Everyday. Took the Challenge, went through audios, jumped in to recommended books, followed the links. Some I studied when I delved in everything related to “influence”, “manipulation” and “negotiations”, which was more complex, as it needed more than one person.

    I omitted what was more important. ME.

    I made Self-Improvement a part of my day. Practising what I learned here, I went within “me”. Since otherwise I would be “just a reader”, I gave myself time to react to your blog. Though my enthusiasm is not as it was on the first day, definitely this comment is more honest than a quick reaction.

    Thank you.

    You noted (not once) that you cheer yourself up and gain energy by cheering up other people. Well Henrik, you have an influence greater than you think on other people. Hope that thess few lines will give you a boost ;)

  • Jacky

    Quite useful. Much obliged.

  • Beverley


    I was feeling in a very low place suicidal in fact. But your articles have made me feel much better about myself and life.

    Thank you.

  • I like making a deal with myself. When I was trying to write my graduate thesis, I would tell myself that if I just wrote one sentence, I could go to the beach but usually after I wrote one sentence, another one just came along and I ended up writing quite a bit. Every once in a while, I did go to the beach but mostly, it worked out.