33 Ways To Get And Maintain Motivation

Being motivated is a wonderful state of your being. In that state your body leverages huge amounts of energy. Your emotional field is totally balanced, physically you’re able to climb the Everest and mentally you understand the whole Universe in a split of a second. I know you know the feeling. The good news is that you can re-create this state pretty much whenever you want. Here are 33 tips to help you get and maintain motivation. By the way, if you’re into long lists, you may also check this one: 100 Ways To Live A Better Life.

1. Ignore The Unimportant

Learning to ignore is a fantastic lesson. Much more rewarding than you think. There must be an art of ignoring and they should teach it in universities. Spanning your focus in so many areas will only weaken you. Ignoring what’s unimportant will free up energy, foster motivation and help you stay focused and productive.

2. Understand What Makes You Bored

And avoid it. Boredom is a nasty place to be. But as any other state of your being can be understood and you can identify the triggers. Once you understand that, you can safely go away from the gray zone. Takes some time but it really worth the effort.

3. Laugh More Often

Watch comedies, read comics. Throw away that ugly seriousness form your face. Laughing is a safety valve for your stress relief mechanism. It actually let it out from your body in bursts. And while you’re laughing you can still learn new stuff, like personal development lessons from Dumbo.

4. Keep A Log Of Your Breakthroughs

Do you remember when you had the first major success of your life? No? I thought so. We tend to overlook this simple habit of writing down our feelings every time we have a major breakthrough in our lives. If you want the shortest path to motivation, just keep a log of your successes. And get inspired by it.

5. Exercise

This is one the easiest and simplest way to summon motivation. Just walk out from the office, start doing some pushups, or just go for a short run around the house. It will instantly declutter your physical body. Every time you exercise, you produce endorphins. Endorphins are good.

6. Create A Custom Environment

You can’t be motivated if you work in an environment which does not represent you. Make changes, adjust, improve. Doesn’t matter if it’s about your job office or your home. Whatever the space you work in, make it yours somehow, that will lower your unconscious adaptation efforts and you’ll have more time dedicated to the actual tasks.

7. Read Success Stories

Like in other people success stories. Get inspired. Admire them (with caution, but do admire them). Reading about success will make it more available to you and will fuel your efforts towards its achievement. And of course, you can learn how to be successful too.

8. Switch Tasks

You will get bored if you work on the same projects for too long. Boredom kills motivation. Try having several small projects that you can land on whenever you feel you’re on the verge of a burn out. Not to mention that switching tasks will instantly create fresh perspectives, helping you solve problems faster.

9. Assess Your Progress

If you work constantly you will make some progress, that’s a rule. You may have the impression that you’re not going anywhere but that’s because you’re skipping all those little milestones you go through every day. Watching back with satisfaction at what you created will surely boost your energy.

10. Talk About Your Projects

With your friends or family. Let the people know you’re doing stuff. That will often make yourself aware of the fact that you’re actually doing stuff and enjoy doing it. It will also create a certain level of accountability that will most likely push you forward.

11. Avoid Energy Vampires

Naysayers, pessimists, braggers they all are sucking up your energy. Don’t get caught in such power games, avoid at all costs those energy leaks. Even if that means you’ll isolate more often. It’s better to do work in your own secluded realm than to try to resist to a diminisihing environment.

12. Write Clear Goals

Most of the time that translates to actually write down your goals, you already have them clear in your mind. But take them out of your mind, put them in a trusted system and move on. Your mind works better when it knows what it has to do not when it spends time figuring what it has to do.

13. Exercise Satisfaction

Once you finished some task, reward yourself. Give yourself a prize. No need to be a huge one, but just enough to create the habit. Look forward to it while you’re working, wait for it, praise for it. In time you’ll become addicted to this fulfillment satisfaction and you won’t stop until you reach it.

14. Accept Failure

As part of the game. Failure, like success, is just a result of your actions, nothing more. One of the biggest motivation enemies is fear of failure. Fear that your outcome will turn bad. Accept it. It may turn bad, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you’re doing. Give your best and hope for the best.

15. Use Affirmations

Like writing down your intentions, your goals, your current status. Affirmations are a very powerful tool, hugely underrated. People find it awkward to write self-directed messages and read them out loud. News flash: you’re doing this all the time, unconsciously. So why not doing it consciously? Start with a morning phrase.

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16. Play Games

Impersonate people. Imitate animals. Pretend you’re Sindbad the Sailor. Playing challenging games will relax your mind and at the same time will gather more resources from secret sources. A good motivation is always blended with joy. You can start with a simple game like how to get from a to b in 5 random steps.

17. Say “No”

Say “no” to distractions, to trolls, to depression. Exercising “no”‘s is liberating. Too often too many commitments are making your life a continuous chore. Limit your promises and only get into things you really want to finish. Once you do that, go to a mirror, smile and start to politely exercise your “no”‘s.

18. Look For Positive People

Sadness, whining and complaining doesn’t play well with motivation. On the contrary. But positive, optimistic, energetic people will always shift your vibration in the right direction. Search them, find them and become their friend. Sometimes all you need to get motivated is to be surrounded by shiny happy people.

19. Difficulty Is Part Of The Game

Learn to work under pressure. Some things are more difficult than other. Accept that fact and focus on doing what you have to do not on your feelings of dissatisfaction. Difficulty is often what makes things worth  doing. No sweat, no glory. Whenever I feel something is going to be tough, I’m usually more motivated to do it. The reward will be higher.

20. Create Personal Challenges

Personal challenges are short term goals, usually from 15 to 90 days. Like starting to exercise, or creating a habit from scratch in 15 days. Using personal challenges strengthen your inner power the same way exercising is strengthening your muscles. The more you do, the more motivated you feel to do even more.

21. Choose Positive Motivation

Whenever you lock in your motivation, do your best to keep it on the positive side, which is rooted in service. As opposed to the negative motivation, which is basically rooted in fear. Negative motivation works just the same, only it lasts significantly less than positive motivation.  Here’s why.

22. Release Your Guardians

You do have guardians and some of them are pretty nasty. They won’t let you do your stuff. The bad thing about your guardians is that most of the time they’re working at the unconscious level, really difficult to interact with. Just accept, acknowledge and let them go. You will be much better off.

23. Enforce Your Personal Mission

You gotta have a personal mission. If you don’t, go find one fast. Reinforcing your personal mission at certain intervals is surely one of the greatest motivators of all. It’s like looking on a map and seeing at any moment where you are, how much do you have to go and which path you have to chose.

24. Spend Time Outside

If you can do something creative, like gardening or landscaping, even better. But it’s ok even if you don’t. Spending time outside of your box will clear the air inside. When you get back, everything will be fresher and shinier. And something fresher is always a nice motivator.

25. Keep A Clean Inbox

That’s one of the few GTD concepts I still use and it proves to be a great motivator. A clean inbox helps a smooth thoughts flow. A smooth thoughts flow let me be in the moment without any hidden burdens. Being in the moment is usually all I need to actually start doing things.

26. Don’t Aim For Perfection

It will soon drain you out. Aiming to be better is the real game. Perfection is a dead end, nothing really  happens after you reached to it. Accepting that you can be better instead of perfect leaves some room for growth. And that means you have a reason to do more. And that’s what we usually call motivation, right?

27. Do One Thing At A Time

Multitasking is a myth. Even computers processors aren’t really doing multi-tasking, that’s what we perceive. Instead they have a single frequency and several parallel buses managing information, faking a multi-tasking activity. Multitasking is creating internal conflicts, both in humans and in computers. You end up spending more time solving those conflicts than actually working.

28. Keep A Source Of Inspiring Readings

You’re not always completely down, most of the time you’re just averagish, just one sentence away from your best shape. Be sure to keep around a list of inspiring readings. Quotes, blog posts, ebooks, whatever works for you. You can start with 100 ways to live a better life, for instance.

29. Put On Some Good Music

Just let it there, floating around, don’t turn the volume knob. Just enough to recreate a pleasant atmosphere. Music speaks to areas you can’t control with logical tools, yet is so powerful that can completely shift your mood in a second. The only thing better than silence is good music.

30. Don’t Fall Into The Productivity Trap

It’s not how much you do, but how much of it really matters. Doing stuff just for filling up notebooks with tasks won’t make you feel motivated. On the other side, whenever you’re doing something that matters, your planing and organizing activities will just flow.

31. Keep Your Life Lenses Clean

Your camera objective may be blurred but you don’t know. This is why you get the same picture again and again, this is why feel stuck and can’t seem to see any progress. Sometimes all you have to do is to clean up your lenses. It takes a little bit of courage but it’s worth the trouble.

32. Clean Up Your House

I know you need motivation for that too, but believe me, it’s a fantastic way to clean up your internal garbage. Cleaning up your house is not a chore, it’s a necessity. Your action paths may be clogged the same way your floor is sticky. And most of the time unsticking the floor will open your mind again.

33. Stop Reading This And Get To Work

It was fun reading it, I’m sure. But it won’t get things done in your place. Inspiration is a good motivator, but don’t abuse it. Now, that you are all energized, it’s time for you to get back to work. Of course, you can bookmark this post for future motivation sessions, but for now, just go back to work. (Oh, but if it happens to still have some free time – and a hard time getting up in the morning – you can try this one: 33 Ways to Start your Day. )

Just a short reminder that this post is also available as an audio file too and it’s only $2.99 (or more, if you feel generous 🙂 ). Just make your choice below:.

95 thoughts on “33 Ways To Get And Maintain Motivation”

  1. This post has got my mind on full attention, I now know I need to re-assess and start from point one. Using these tools I know I can reach my destination successfully.
    Thank you so much for this post.

  2. You do have guardians and some of them are pretty nasty. They won’t let you do your stuff. The bad thing about your guardians is that most of the time they’re working at the unconscious level, really difficult to interact with. Just accept, acknowledge and let them go. You will be much better off.

  3. Really a great compilation. Thanks forr that. And really a great idea of conferencista mexicano to translate it. I am thinking of translating it to German as well if that is ok for you. Of course I would put a link to the original english text of yours.
    Regards, Garry

  4. Great compilation Dragos!

    I’m really thinking to post a translation in spanish in my blog. Would it be ok?

    Of course I will give credit to you and the original link, but I mean, appart from giving you the credit, would you spect something else?

    Vicente Campos

    • By all means, Vicente, feel free to do it, as long as you keep a link back to the original! After you finish, let me know and I’ll put a link to your translated article as well. Thanks 🙂

  5. Good Post, I particulary liked Number “13. Exercise Satisfaction”
    I would say Number “23. Enforce Your Personal Mission” is the most important one, so maybe it should be the last one on the list 🙂

    Thank you for sharing

  6. These are great ideas, and nice and succinct.
    In the category of number 1, I also try to think of “diminishing returns”–when you are working on something but each hour is less and less productive.
    This is a post I will read more than once!

  7. that was owsum.i realy got lot of motivartiion from this….u did a great job buddy..now m going to prepare myself for the upcoming challenges…..thankx

  8. New for me are #2, Know What Makes You Bored and #8 Switch Tasks. Both are great advice for any professional. Thanks for a great post!

  9. I find this sort of thing very helpful. I linked to your page so others can find it. I look forward to browsing the rest of your site! My fiance and I are both striving towards developing ourselves, and I feel like your site can be a HUGE help.

    • where exactly is the contradiction? switching tasks means changing them frequently, avoiding multi-tasking means doing one thing at a time. Looks to me that they are perfectly complimentary to each other…

      thanks for stopping by, anyway (love your name, btw 😉 )

  10. Hi Dragos,

    I read ure blog on “to have” and “to be” from 100 ways to live a better life and this one too is soo motivating.

    I am following u on twitter and not to forget mmm i am on FB too,thanx for confirming me as ure friend.

    33 Ways To Get And Maintain Motivation,helped me a lot to be motivated esp at the current situation ..i really needed this…

    Keep posting gr8 wrks,love reading them.

    Shristi Ale(Nepal)

  11. I second the tip on music.
    Somehow those sounds go right to the feeling level & change ones feelings by a kind of resonance between the two.
    Jolly sounds make one jolly.

  12. Thanks for this list. I think it’s awesome. I’m going to print it out and past it up on the wall in front of my desk – there is never any excuse again to not be motivated 🙂

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  14. These points can help to looser to achieve there targets. There are guys looks for these types of motivational matters. Finally, thank to share.

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  19. I wasn’t even motivated to make it through the whole article! I need help!

    aha only joking. Good article. I enjoyed it thoroughly! 🙂

  20. Great post Dragos.
    I really believe in creating good habits to achieve your goals. http://www.goalhappy.com lets you log your progress in creating daily, weekly and monthly goals and you are also able to share your progress with friends so that you get extra encouragement in sticking to your goals!

  21. Excellent post! We do ourselves and the world around us a disservice by not completing our personal, professional and spiritual missions. Your tips are wonderful. I touch on the subject in my latest blog post as well: http://mindadventure.com/2009/12/being-complete/ –blessings, rob white, Author of “180”
    .-= Rob White´s last blog ..180 Book Reading – November 20th, 2009 =-.

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  23. Dragos, this is great stuff. Achieving balance is tough sometimes, and I don’t always take / spend the time for the “other stuff” like exercise or reading a good book. If I compared my daily activities to eating, it’s like I might eat broccoli only for three straight days, and then eat meat for a day, and then eat bread for three days. Is my diet balanced over the week? Yes. Is it optimally balanced? Probably not.

    Multi-tasking is a myth, yes, but the way I used to operate in younger years looked very close to multi-tasking … I could get a heck of a lot of stuff done in short timeframes. Now I need to focus, and if I try to multi-task I end up thrashing.

    One thing I might add to the list: Write a book. I am so motivated, now that my first is out, to do the second (and third and fourth) …

    Joel Schnoor (nutuba)

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  25. Excellent post! Some pretty amazing tips on how to keep oneself motivated. It becomes really important in these times to stay motivated and not be taken off by the negative noise and distracting comments of other people. Perseverance and staying focused right on our goals is the key to success. Keep up the great work!
    .-= Vijay – Your Health Supplements Guide´s last blog ..Vitamin Supplements =-.

  26. Exercise is a key one for me. The more I exercise, the happier I am. Without getting my body flowing, toned, moving, etc. I feel that I haven’t taken advantage of such a great gift.

    Dave Damron
    .-= Dave – LifeExcursion´s last blog ..ManvsFat : Adam Baker Kicking Ass by Losing It =-.

  27. Great tips! They are all so good, but the one that stick out to me the most was # 26 Don’t Aim For Perfection. No one is perfect so don’t try to be. I think it’s important to do what you can and try to be better and not perfect like you said.

  28. I used to have a fair amount of trouble getting motivated. In the last few years this has almost entirely gone – now I’m constantly motivated. This change is down entirely to having implemented many of the points on your list (though I didn’t know about your list then – I’d have got here faster if I had!). I recommend anyone feeling unmotivated picks one or more of the items to start with and then just keeps at it for as long as it takes. It’s well worth it.

  29. Great post. I have been feeling not so motivated the last couple of days and this post has sparked me to write a post myself about being motivated and also now decided that I have to change this now. We need to motivate each other! Thanks again for this post.
    .-= Elandre Potgieter´s last blog ..Be Motivated =-.

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  33. No 32 Clean up your house – I this love section because I generally think our home & environment reflects our state of mind. When my house is in a mess I most likely will be all over the place.. Looking for one thing or the other. Great list you have put together thanks for sharing..

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  35. Great list! Overcoming my desire to achieve perfection was quite the task. I think one important thing is to realize that it is indeed an issue. Many perfectionists think they are doing things the best way, so it is great that pointed out how demotivating the trait of perfectionism can be. The long term results are rarely good.
    .-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog ..6 Ways to Escape Your Regrets =-.

  36. I just came through the summer from hell due to a health crisis and frankly I’m just starting to settle in again. My goal is to reestablish a regular and more frequent posting pattern.

    I strongly identified with all the items on your list except for two, simply because I’ve never employed them. They are 4. Keep A Log Of Your Breakthroughs and 20. Create Personal Challenges. Thanks for the great tips.

  37. Great post. Personally, I liked your tips on creating a conducive environment, keeping a clean inbox, getting outside, getting exercise, and using music to get in the right frame of mind. Thanks for the ideas!
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Get Rid of Quitting Once and For All =-.

  38. Dear Dragos, I think this is your BEST list ever. I really like this one. There are some powerful things here that I’d not thought of in this way, like…understand what makes you bored. Wow!! I think that is AS important as knowing what thrills us. I think from an early age we are all taught that we are NOT supposed to express boredom. As if something were the matter with US if we are bored and we are just supposed to “buck up and bear it”. That is old thinking incorrect thinking. We MUST acknowledge what bores us and stop doing that which bores us OR find creative ways to change the doing of it so that it’s fun. Thank you so much for this delightful list. 🙂
    .-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..Bizarro Week =-.

  39. A big motivator for me is twitter.

    What I’m seeing on twitter is a lot of people talking about passions. I am quickly reminded that there is a stream of greatness flowing constantly – it just keeps going. Knowing that these people are constantly finding things, writing blogs, shooting photography, inspires me to keep going too.

    I need to talk about my projects more to people I know. In person. I am usually quiet about it but I agree that talking about it would be awesome.

    I fully agree with cleaning too. it has a huge effect on my gf and I. I’m about to take some time off from work to try and get my life under control. I plan to come back to this list often I am sure.
    .-= Scott Webb´s last blog ..6 Reasons Why Every Student Should Blog and How it Can Help In and Out of School =-.

  40. Dragos, I like lists that surprise me. In any list there are always elements that we are familiar with, but are there any surprises? Sometimes, as in this case the answer is YES! Every one of your 33 tips are valuable, but here are the ones that I especially liked: #2. Understand What Makes You Bored, #8. Switch Tasks, #13. Exercise Satisfaction, #17. Say “No”, #24. Spend Time Outside, #27. Do One Thing At A Time.
    .-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..Validation, Approval, and Happiness =-.

  41. You have created a great list for motivation.

    I especially like #32. This is so important and has many benefits. When you live in a clean house basically free of clutter, you have less work to do.
    When you de-clutter your mind you free your self of stress and can be more productive.
    There are a multitude of benefits of cleaning out stuff no longer of use which only uses up space and energy.

    Great post!
    .-= Bunnygotblog´s last blog ..Earth’s Own Little Universe =-.

  42. Dragos, Great post as usual and something I definitely need from time to time. Hard to pick out the especially useful things from such an extensive list … but I like the last one. Just stop everything else you’re doing and get back to it.

    Have you read ‘Flow’ … a very good look at the subject.

    PS Is there a reason that you’re keeping all the Twitter comments as blog comments? I like to read the comments as well, but not when they’re hidden away among a stream of Tweets and ReTweets – I just went straight to the bottom of the page to the comment box.
    .-= Ian | Quantum Learning´s last blog ..The secret of happiness =-.

    • Thanks for removing them! That makes it so much easier to read all the great comments!
      .-= Ian | Quantum Learning´s last blog ..The secret of happiness =-.

  43. Great post as always Dragos. I can’t agree more with #30. It’s not how much you do, it’s what you do. Stumbled.
    .-= Karlil´s last blog ..The 4 Steps Guide To Achieving Your True Focus =-.

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  47. Keeping a success log is great idea i have always done this and it’s a great way to inspire yourself if you’re feeling depressed or unmotivated
    .-= Faramarz – Anxious Candy´s last blog ..Hyperventilation and Successful Breathing =-.


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