Read first (then link to this page: How To Effectively Motivate Yourself  And, For The First Time, To Get What You Really Want In Life.  And be sure to look at and utilize the Motivation Contents/Links page.     


The most productive "skill"
Why does it "seem" so difficult?
There are two means to enable getting oneself to do something
We are always motivated
The effects of managing motivation beyond "getting"
The simple motivation formula
So, what works to increase the "benefits" side?

It is only through lack of skillfuness that it becomes hard/difficult/painful and a
needless struggle with willpower and self-control.  (See Willpower, Self-Control Contents/Links - and read intro material, then put it on your list for learning the elements.)

Clear this up asap - or you'll miss out on alot of life.  And master it so you'll be able to do all those things that make your life truly great, including having unconditional happiness and high effectiveness.

And, no, you don't have to settle for mediocrity and resignation just because it is considered "normal" in this culture.  You don't have to be a Gradually Boiling Frog.


Being a master of self-motivation will serve you immensely!

Motivation is associated with the idea of "overpowering" or "disciplining" oneself to "force" yourself to do something.  As such it is associated with a negative, effortful feeling.  But proper motivation actually feels good.

It is "no effort" to do something while one is feeling good and/or to do something one wants to do. 


It's only difficult if we make it so, if we make it a struggle and alot of effort (mostly fighting ourselves) and we don't learn what it takes to make it easier.

Difficult = Hard to do, involving trouble or requiring extra effort, hard to satisfy;  it is something that is hard to do, make, manage or understand (i.e. takes some effort to understand). 

We need to reduce the difficulty.  Understanding always reduces the difficulty, as one can manage something better if one has the skills, clarity, knows what to do and knows how things work.  It will also increase the odds of the right thing getting done right.

The reason why motivating ourselves is so difficult is that we are really poorly skilled at this on average.  We have let ourselves be run by the distraction of the moment and we have found some ease in that, though it doesn't work for us overall and is generally dissatisfying.  And we have so many targets that we have difficulty focusing and seeing.  Reduce those distraction and get rid of what is not really necessary in our lives and more space will be left to be filled with less effort without the conflict of being "busy".

We also need a "motivation blueprint", a way of motivating ourselves that is clearly laid out.  Without that, there is only effort and not necessarily direction or effectiveness. 


At business school, our Professor of Marketing said they are two ways to get someone to do something:

1.  To motivate them.
2.  To remove the barriers.

Then he said "People are already motivated and you cannot motivate them yourself anyway, so what is most effective is to remove the barriers."  

Of course, in marketing, removing the barriers would be to get rid of the fears and lack of understanding that would get in the way of someone buying the product.

[In my financial advising business, I focused on increasing my clients' understanding and removing any other barriers.  Trust, understanding, knowledge, handling the fears - all those created success for the client and, corresponding, for the practice.]

In psychology, the process for getting oneself to do something is the same.  Find out the barriers and remove them.


We are always motivated, the question being only motivated "to get or be what"?

   To get relief from anxiety; and finding the means to that "relief": eating, TV,
       some distraction.

   To avoid in order not to experience fear. 

   To take care of our bodies.

   To basically seek homeostasis so our bodies can operate well. 

We are already motivated by our physical systems (which includes the brain) to survive, avoid pain, and to seek things that create positive feelings (including satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness, besides eating, sex, etc.).  Thus, if we want to "sell" a particular behavior we just need to align it with the reality of how things work.  The question is:  What works to have us focus on what we truly want?


Why bother to master this?

Managing our motivation properly causes us to do "what works" to get the results you want.  The benefits to you are dramatically less undones, less clutter, not so many things in the way, not being stuck in position and feeling bad about it.  a clearing of crap,  lightenment, disappearing alot of stuff. 

The bottom line is that it will leave us so alive, so focused, so confident.  The effect on confidence cannot be overstated.  Feeling alive and not burdened with undones nor with poor opinions of oneself is priceless! 

Being rid of the demoralizing effects is priceless!  Not being the victim of the demotivator or those things that get in the way of motivation is priceless!  Living live at that level is priceless!


Increase "seeing" (believing, understanding, and keeping the benefits "top of the mind" to create strong 'desire'; desire is the "motivation towards").

Decrease (and eliminate) the Fears and "loss" feeling (this is the motivation "away from" doing the necessary action).

Desire minus Fears believed = Degree of motivation toward

We simply seek to shift the balance, more good (benefits achieved), less fear.


Notice that you've seen these benefits mentioned many places, but hopefully you'll now tie it into creating more wisdom and belief that each of these is effective and necessary, and not just a bunch of motivational "hype". 

We need to remove the barriers to your using these methods ( or "means to") for having us see and be motivated by the benefits.  And, of course, creating more understanding is both one of the greatest removers of barriers and the greatest creators of motivation to go toward what we say we want.

Specific, clear "whys"

Specifying what we want and naming the benefits with clarity and definiteness (including specificity) grounds oneself as to the "why" behind what we do.  (If I do this, then these are the specific benefits I will get: .)   The more clearly and vividly I see the benefits, the more I am drawn to and motivated to achieve the benefits.  This often helps putting them into a higher level position than the motivators for something less beneficial or harmful. 

"If I send in these papers, then I will get something that is set to operate on its own and which will not take any effort to maintain, other than a brief review.  It will, I think, protect me from the great downside potential I see in this market.  I will also get a completion for myself, which I haven't been doing much of recently.  I will also no longer be faulting myself - and it is absolutely necessary that I do not give in or allow myself to fault myself as the cost of feeling bad about myself hurts my morale and is an undercurrent on my life.  I will also be proud that I finished it and I'll feel effective."   That is an example.  You may want to choose which of the motivation forms that we've devised to walk you through the process of thinking that sets one up to be motivated.

If a benefit is clearer, then it is easier to "see" it and be motivated to go toward it.

Stronger, greater benefit

If a benefit is stronger, then there is more emotional impetus, of course.

One of the ways of making it stronger is to connect it to another highly motivating benefit, such as vitality and a feeling of aliveness in order to go on a diet.

Seeing the benefit more clearly

Visualizing yourself having achieved it and how you feel magnifies the motivation.

Declaring a commitment to it

Declaring both in writing and out loud that you are committed to achieving this adds strength to support following through.

Both declaration and commitment are parts of creating Power In Life

Keeping it "top of the mind" and in full view

If we remind ourselves daily by focusing on it and/or saying it out loud, it will not shuffle itself to the back of the mind, where it could get lost in nothingness.

Keep the momentum up, using helpers

Enrolling a partner,  helper, coach to remind you or to bring it up in daily or weekly conversations helps keep the motivation up and current.

As you stay motivated more, confidence and ease go up

This will have a spiraling and reinforcing effect that causes you to feel better, function better, feel more at ease, and to definitely be more confident.


The importance of maintaining a high state of resourcefulness cannot be overemphasized, as "fatigue makes cowards of us all" and strength makes small challenges small.  If one is having trouble motivating him/herself, then focusing on this general condition will actually help, even though it is not directly confronting the fear or resistance.  It is pretty simple, when you are in a low state you are susceptible and sensitized more to what is wrong and to activating fear signals (discomfort, etc.) that interfere with "getting on with it, acting on it".  Do what it takes to create that state - and motivation and resistance will be handled much better!


Clarity and definiteness and commitment 

More success, more confidence, ease, etc... a spiral...

Mental rehearsal

Fill your mind with positives, cd's etc. 

Live by a set schedule, which includes an assumed "doing" at a particular time and also "makes the space" for doing it, one can see that it fits, reduces barriers. 
review daily who you are, sacred saying, who will be in life, mission...

Get rid of the "stinkin' thinkin'" misbeliefs discover how to think and feel in a new way.


Actually, we are dealing with a much broader slice of life than just how to motivate yourself to do a particular thing.  This also applies to all of what you do in life.  If you do these, you'll get more done that you want to get done, you'll reap more benefits, and you'll feel better about it all.

the general ones
the specific ones 
Get rid of the opposition, the negative debater... See Intelligent Optimism

Increase the instruction on how to get there (implementation)
Stop the fatigue and the blood sugar gyrations Sick, pain, not feeling good, lack of energy - fatigue makes cowards of us all.  - keep blood sugar even etc. so not so motivated to take care of that! 

Increase the opposite to cancel out the negative feelings - Endorphins, so not feeling so much bad, so not distracted by bad,

drop unnecessary worry as it doesn't work.  draws away attention, attention, fears go up

debunk the "what we lose" side - like time, or pleasure

defuse the fears - dispute, nothing works,recognize , rewrite

Get perspective "Delayed gratification" involves force and struggle,  ing oneself to give up - being adult... something now.  It's more of getting a bird's eye view, taking into account all the days, versus just now. 

Improve the estimate of the costs and see the benefits more clearly - inaccurate estimate of the costs, not seeing the benefits

Fill the competing needs

Eliminate the distractions using your psyche energy -other things drawing you away, things that don't have actual payoffs, the need to relief from anxiety fear (vs. knowing you're ok)

Decrease likelihood of it not getting done (not getting it done is a demotivator, lose self esteem, etc.


Fun, reward system Often a factor is that one doesn't want to do something because one feels deprived.  (modify the "records" that say you are being deprived) see can have fun soon enough, see reward
of a separate nature

filling up  the good feelings side so less vulnerable to fear 

Increase ability:

        Meditation. - This increases the ability of the higher brain to exert intention
             more easily and strongly.
        Habit management..habit, set times, see can have fun (develop ability to
             see it

Get rid of having to have willpower...

Increase the ability to do it right -it takes more motivation to go through something that is more difficult because not done right.
Lower resistance to time factor.  Use the Timer Tool:  5 minute timer...
dechunk into easier pieces...
any negative thought is a demotivator, any powerful declaration or reminder is a motivator helper.
Increase functioning of low functioning character "muscles", wimpiness
     Low Frustration Tolerance


Will you invest 10-15 minutes a day?

See:  Why We Do What We Do

Back to top

In construction, to simplify...and/or elaborate in certain areas to give it more flesh...

Miscellaneous notes for possible use
a demotivator is not a valid term, it is just motivation to take care of something else.

The prospect of positive feelings are the motivators, if you recall.  Actually, those are related to chemicals underlying them.  change the chemical balance so feel don't need to take care of the discomfort. 
stupid beliefs about what a payoff is - like in happiness!
dropping artificial rules have to follow to get something we think we have to have
   two parts, does it work to get what we think we need, do we really need it...
We have so many targets that we have difficulty focusing and seeing.  Reduce those
If one is rushed, upset, one is unpowerful, as the body is trying to seek homeostasis.  We're just mechanical beings (what one very successful trainer used to call "mechanical assholes", despite the seemingly derogatory noun, he was literally correct and perhaps that helped drive the point home. 
get clearer on the penalties of not doing it...and make it sweeter not having those, create a substitute in your mind

The form

Is it worth it to use a form?  If it gets the result....feels like too much effort...but how much would it save?   seems so ridiculous.... but if it is effective...

What do I want? 

What is in the way? 
     I have a vague feeling of wanting to comfort myself and do something mindless

     What harm will doing this cause to me?  Actually?
     It won’t cause any harm, but while I am doing it I am thinking unpleasant thoughts, I want distraction….

    I must spend the time anyway.
   I will feel better about myself = value of 4
   I will avoid anxiety

What will it take to make it?

I commit to ….

I declare I will do this.

I will use a partner to

Reward as I go
   Acknowledge myself in writing

Keep a high state of resourcefulness, start early

Does my other activity have a good payoff or a bad one?

How reduce the resistance?
     I will dechunk by doing it in segments of ___ minutes

Having a time where you can "step out" of the normal, to get things done and not feel deprived...what tell self....

Possible articles:

Staying Motivated
Maintaining your motivation to create is actually a long-term endeavor. Starting out can be tough, but with discipline and consistency you will eventually reach a point where staying motivated only requires minimal daily maintenance—a simple matter of learning to make the right choices at the right time.Maintaining motivation requires paying attention to your behavior, listening to your instincts, and learning how to encourage, bargain, and even trick yourself into being creative.
Set yourself up for more success than failure by being realistic in your goal setting. Small, bite-sized tasks at first. As you get more and more successes under your belt,
Each creative success you have in that location will train your mind to be creative within its boundaries.
Find your cycle
Just as your body has optimal times for sleeping and eating, there’s also an optimal time when your body is at its most creative (and, unfortunately, least creative).
Explore your options and find the tools that allow you to create what you want to create, and get the best ones you can afford.

milestones: Seeing just how far you’ve come can be an excellent motivational tool. If you don’t stop every so often to see where you were a couple months ago, and where you are now, do it—

hit a wall:  Get out of the house
              see what others in your industry are doing. It may provide inspiration, and at the very least will give you an idea of what the standards are for excellence in your particular industry (
    Seek external stimulation,Whether it’s a museum, the center of town, or the biggest damn waterfall you’ve ever seen, there might be something out there to push you back into a creative mode.
   Seek internal stimulation,I often go running to help give me ideas
    Keep a sketchbook or notebook,Ideas—good or bad—need to be recorded. No one can remember them all. Writing down an idea for long-term storage might just free up some room in your brain to tackle new problems. What’s more, you now have a library of ideas
      Work through it
While it may seem counterintuitive to force yourself to be creative, often it can work out for the best.
       Give yourself obstacles
Set a time limit, refuse to use a certain tool, make yourself take a more difficult direction—often these obstacles lead to some pretty exciting results.
        Remove unnecessary obstacles
We sometimes set unnecessary limits on a project, which hinder our ability to solve the most important problem. If you feel you’re too restricted while trying to solve a creative problem, it can often help to reevaluate the restrictions, and see if some of the unimportant ones can’t be stripped away.

Staying motivated form for trombone players
Stay motivated.

Discuss what you learn.  Chart your progress.  Reward yourself.  Take time for fun (rejuvenate).

Motivation board - Posting images on a whiteboard or the like.  (Outside resource)


Why We Do What We Do

Motivation While Learning - Launching The Motion And Maintaining The Momentum - Life is alot easier with learning, especially "life learning".


Althought this fits under Behavior Management, and perhaps people management, I set up a separate links page:

Motivation Contents/Links 
- Use this as a reading list.

Also see Behavior Management Contents/Links

Also related

Procrastination - Conflicting motivations...

Sabotaging Self - Not really, need a change in perception

Managing The Mind

The Structure Of The Brain

We are all "motivated", but the question is "by what?" and "is that of the most value?"

All motivation is based on choosing what we think is of the most value at the time, in the moment.
We do it poorly.  (Observe TV, weight, persisting problems, etc. and etc.)
Deciding what is of the most value overall is a skill to develop.
Keeping that value in mind and comparing it to short term alternatives is also a skill (and a procedure/practice) to develop - a truly vital skill (one that we don't do well either!)

Once we have those in place, choosing and motivation are easy - and the results are great! 
"When I speak, people will occasionally say...'Zig, I loved your talk, but for me, motivation doesn't last!'

I always tell them...bathing doesn't either. That's why I recommend it daily."
                                                                                                      Zig Ziglar

"Waiting for motivation is like waiting for a street car on a street where there are no tracks - it is a useless hope and a figment of the imagination.  You are already 'motivated' to do what is good for yourself, you need only clear away the barriers and the lack of knowledge - and, then, you'll experience a life that is beyond your former wildest imagination!"
                                                                                                      The BuddhaKahuna
Most people have given up on trying to motivate themselves to get more value out of life.

The problem is not "about them and their character", but about the proper use of the effective ways to motivate human beings.  This is a skill that can be learned by anyone.  All they need do is begin the learning process and then complete it, so that they can enjoy all the benefits!

Coming soon (email me if you are interested in having me prioritize this):

Learning And Implementing The Skill Of Motivation.