5 Secrets to Motivating Yourself


What do you do when you’re feeling kind of blah and can’t seem to shake it?

Do you have ways to snap out of those moods and create a sense of drive and purpose?

If yes, keep doing what you’re doing (and leave a comment at the end of this post with your secrets).

If you’re like most of us, you may need a little extra help to get your mojo movin’ again.

Here are five ways to inspire yourself:

1. Focus on the Future

If you dwell on the past, or even your current problems or situation, it’s easy to get down on yourself. Why not shift gears and focus on the future?

If today is not going so well, what can you do tomorrow to make it better? When you switch your focus to the future, you begin to see the world of possibilities that are open to you. Possibilities can lead to positivity, and that can lead to hope, which is what can inspire us and lift us up when we’re feeling down.

But just don’t dream about the future. Make a plan to make the bright future that you aspire to come into reality. That process of visioning and planning and action always works to bring results.

It may not bring you that dream job right away, but you will be moving in the right direction toward it if you start focusing on what is possible.

2. Read All About it

There are so many inspirational people who have written their stories and pointed the way for all of us. And at some point they were down on themselves and could not see the way forward.

One of the greatest leaders of our times, Nelson Mandela, spent 27 years in prison, most of it in the notorious Robbin Island prison until his release in 1990 after an international campaign against apartheid and his imprisonment.

If you read his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, you will hear about his long time in prison and the deprivations he suffered. But he never gave up his hope for freedom for himself and his people.

Now that’s inspiring. And there are thousands of books that tell similar stories of remarkable courage and inner strength that can help you find what you need inside of yourself to move forward.

There are people who rose out of the slums to become millionaires and women and men who were severely injured in accidents or wars who became world class athletes. Find a story that resonates with you and draw from their inspiration to inspire yourself.

3. Find a Role Model

When we were kids we often looked up and even admired certain people who inspired us. This might have included professional football stars or famous musicians or actors.

But it also probably included someone who was a little bit older than us who seemed like they had things together. It may have even been our parents or an older brother or sister.

We closely watched what they did, and we mimicked their actions and behavior because we wanted to be just like them. Having a role model as an adult is kind of the same thing, except for the hero worship. And it too can work to help inspire us.

Find someone in your life, or maybe at work, who seems like they have everything that you want. Then ask them how they got where they are today.

They will probably be happy to talk about themselves for a few minutes, but don’t be surprised to hear them say that they were exactly where you are at one point in their life. Take their story and their success with you and use it as your inspiration.

4. Act as If

One of the best ways to inspire yourself is to start acting as if you were already successful, popular, slimmer or whatever you would like to be. This time the self-inspiration might actually come from perspiration as you take actions that you hope will lead you where you want to go.

Let’s say you want to be in better physical shape. You can start with the motivation of good health and feeling better about yourself. But what might actually get you to the gym will be acting as if you were already healthier, and a healthy person just goes to the gym naturally.

It’s a bit of a ninja mind trick, but it can work to give you that spark of inspiration and when you add the perspiration you have the formula for success. As you make better choices, your self-worth rises.

When that happens, you automatically take the actions that you know you should be doing. That’s the magic of inspiring yourself.

5. Take a Break and Re-energize

Sometimes a completely different tactic is required in order to inspire yourself. If you are feeling down, you may be just tired and overwhelmed. Try taking a weekend off, just for yourself.

If you have to go away to make that happen, take the time off. You are worth it. While you’re away or just relaxing, you can take stock of your life — the good and the bad. You can examine what is working well and what needs to be fixed.

Try to have as much alone time as you can during this respite, and listen to your inner voice. It may be telling you to slow down or change careers to fix your relationships.

Just listen. You don’t have to do anything. Sometimes the inspiration to fix our problems or embark on a new adventure is already there waiting for us to pay attention. You may already have the inspiration you need inside of you. All you have to do is to let it out.

Inspiring yourself helps you grow and change. It can also just get you through a tough task. Regardless, it’s a great skill to have. How do you inspire yourself?

(Photo Credit: Steve Wilson)

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of Change the Things You Can (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit: Change the Things You Can


  1. Moses Adetola on the 2nd October

    The first point “Focus on the future” is very important, I have identified this to be the single most important factor for growth. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Michael LaRocca on the 17th July

    This is a surprisingly good article. I really expected some “get over it and motivate yourself” advice, or maybe those were just the voices in my head again. I can use this one. And I will.

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