Self-Motivation: 5 Easy Steps to Help Reach Your Goals

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If you want something bad enough, you can achieve it. To reach your goals, you need to be motivated. But, self-motivation is not easy, it takes a lot of discipline and determination.

What is Self Motivation?

Self-motivation is having the drive and enthusiasm to achieve something without the supervision or influence of others. You take matters into your own hands, completing the tasks you’re presented with. It’s most certainly not a black and white concept; it’s far from simple.

When you’re more self-motivated, you feel more accomplished, reaching your goals. It’s a great skill to have, as it can dramatically improve your quality of life. Once you understand the power of self-motivation, you can positively change many aspects of your life. It plays a huge role in career development, productivity and even job satisfaction.

Find Out What Motivates You

This may seem obvious, but we are not always conscious of what motivates us. Our motivations change throughout our life. As our needs change, our goals change as well. There are two types of motivation:

  1. Extrinsic: This motivates people due to a reward or because it has to be done. This may be for money, good grades, or power.
  2. Intrinsic: This motivation is based on love and passion. It’s something that you would do for fun, your personal interest, or a personal challenge.

We are all motivated by different things, which change throughout the course of our lives. The majority of tasks throughout life have a combination of both motivators. For example, one individual may be working solely to pay their mortgage, having no satisfaction. This would be pure extrinsic motivation. Another individual may love their work, feeling highly satisfied. Their house is paid off, and they buy what they want when they want. This would be pure intrinsic motivation.

The majority of people fall somewhere in the middle. They need to work to gain money, but they do feel a sense of fulfilment. Although most of us work for money, we still feel job satisfaction or enjoy the social aspect of our career.

5 Easy Steps to Help Reach Your Goals


When it comes to self-motivation, there’s a strong correlation between our goals and achievement. If you set goals, you will have something to work towards. We all want to achieve things of value, this is what drives us and gives us self esteem.

Our goals are crucial in terms of the direction we take, the way we spend our time, and the resources we use. When goals are set, it’s easier to measure your progress. Keeping your goals defined and current, is the best and most powerful way to keep yourself motivated.

If you put your priorities in check, there is no reason why you cannot achieve the life goals you dream of. If you look back at the age of 50, perhaps you will no longer be a figure skater. If that was your dream since the age of 10, you could have reached your goals if you put your plan to action. If you are self-motivated and the goal is achievable, there is nothing stopping you.

Once you choose your goals, you can then create an action plan. How do you plan to reach those goals? You want to be a nurse? Okay, start writing out your action plan. What education do you need? Who do you need to speak to? Are there apprenticeship programs available? Use the resources available to you. Don’t look back and think ’I wish I did that.’ You were able to all along. If you were self-motivated, you would exhaust all resources. Self-motivation and hard work will allow you to reach any goal.

When choosing your goals use the SMART technique:

1. Make your goal specific

S is for SPECIFIC. This will allow you to know exactly what it is you’re moving towards. For example: I want to publish a book in the next two years.

2. Make your goal measurable

M is for MEASURABLE. That way you can see the progress that is being made. In terms of publishing a book, break it down into deadlines. Next month you may approach various authors, getting advice. You will want to have your storyline completed, and the first chapter written. Once this is achieved, you can check it off. What’s next? Move towards your next deadline. This will help you stay on track. It will also keep your motivation levels up.

3. Don’t make your goals impossible

A is for ATTAINABLE. Make sure you can reach your goals. Each sub-goal may take a lot of effort, but you should know that they are possible. Millions of books have been published. This is something that is highly attainable. If you are weary of the publication process, that does not mean it’s not attainable. You need to reach out, ask for help if needed.

4. Create relevant sub goals

R is for RELEVANT. You will more than likely need to reach multiple sub-goals to reach your main objective. Make sure each goal is relevant to the final goal and to your life. The obvious sub-goals would be writing the content for your book. But, there are also other relevant goals to keep in mind. Do your research, speak to experts in the field, and keep yourself motivated and determined. As long as you stay on course with your pre-planned goals, relevancy will not be an issue.

5. Set deadlines

T is for TIMED. You need to set deadlines and timeframes for each goal. Once again, you need to be realistic, but you also need to push yourself. If you have a set date in mind to complete sub-goal one, you can maintain a high level of motivation without being overwhelmed. Once that sub-goal is achieved, you’re one step closer.

Once again, you may need to do some research. Maybe you’re writing about current farming practices? You could use the first three months to interview people in the industry, get yourself out there and gain real-life perspective. Write out a timeline and cross off each objective. If you find that you’re moving too slowly, either reassess your timeline or push yourself even harder.

Staying Motivated

Life isn’t always black and white. You may be thrown some curveballs, but do not let this discourage you. You need to keep your motivation levels high:

  1. Knowledge is Power: The information you obtain is key for your success. The more you know, the better. Read up on your goal, talk to people with expertise, and study up on what needs to be done. If you are continually learning, you’re keeping yourself curious and motivated.
  2. Seek Out Positive People: If possible, try to avoid negative people. You do not want to hear that you cannot do something, just because that person doesn’t believe that they can. You know yourself and what you’re capable of. It is much easier to stay motivated if you are around other positive people. If you encounter a setback, that’s okay. Treat it as a learning experience and move forward.
  3. Just Do It: Procrastination can be your worst enemy. Get going on your first sub-goal, always moving forward. As mentioned, sub-goals allow you to break down a potentially overwhelming target goal. Reaching each sub-goal will keep you motivated and confident. Also, finish what you start. Don’t let your tasks get scattered and unorganised. Finish one task before you start on a new one.
  4. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses: You know what your strengths are, so use them to your advantage. Throughout your journey, you may uncover new strengths that you didn’t even realise you had. Build on your strengths, as they will allow you to achieve great things. Everyone has weaknesses, we’re all human. Work at your weaknesses, there’s always room for positive improvements.
  5. Take Risks: Within reason, take risks. If you fail, you can pick yourself back up and learn from it. To achieve great things, sometimes you need to leave your comfort zone. This can be the biggest barrier for people. They do not motivate themselves because they feel like they’re not comfortable with where they want to go. Believe in yourself and push forward.

Put the wheels in motion and stay MOTIVATED. Without your own personal motivation, you are left with an idea. With motivation, that idea can turn into reality. Let yourself achieve great things, work on your self-motivation levels. Believe in yourself and you will reach your goals.

What tricks do you use to reach your goals? Your thoughts and comments below please…

See Also: How to Motivate Employees to Increase Productivity

This article was originaly published in September 2014.