What does motivation mean?

Even when the prize is big and we have a huge guaranteed payout at the end of it, for instance, weight loss, wealth, a promotion, your own business, sometimes we STILL need more self motivation to achieve the goal.

What’s wrong with us? These things can bring us better health, freedom from the 9 to 5, wealth to improve our standard of life or that of close ones. But at the end of the day we are a vehicle that needs constant fueling… 

What motivates you?

Will power and motivation are the two fuels that drive our minds toward our goals. Unfortunately, just as with oil and petrol, once these things run out, so we too run out of momentum and even start rolling backwards.

Will Power fuel :

If you climbed in your car at seven am and started driving, by five pm or thereabouts, you would run out of petrol and grind to a halt.

So it is with will power. Start your day at seven am trying to resist smoking, eating bad food, or some other thing, and you could get through the entire day on will power, but by five pm, your will power is severely depleted and your chances of caving dramatically increase.

How to increase willpower - 3 ways

  1. Sleep is the equivalent of filling up your tank, so - get a good night sleep.
  2. Stressful situations draw heavily on our will power so - avoid stressful situations.
  3. Anchors stimulate craving which requires lots of will power to resist – avoid anchors. 

Examples of anchors for a smoker:

Times of day – This might be morning break, lunch time etc.

Environment – in the car, at the pub, the dinner table (after food), the bedroom

People – other people you smoked with will trigger subconscious thoughts of smoking

Self Motivation fuel :

A well-maintained car can run a year between services without an oil change, but run out of oil and your car will grind to an almighty halt within four minutes.

So it is with self motivation. Start a big project with lots of motivation and you could go for a long period of time. But get overwhelmed, stop believing, or lose sight of your goals and everything grinds to a halt when your tank has zero motivation.

How to increase self motivation - 3 ways

Example: writing a novel:

  1. Overwhelm - nothing corrodes your engine more than getting overwhelmed, chunk your goal into smaller segments such as chapters, and focus on only one at a time. 
  2. Towards - magnify the attractiveness of the outcome by imagining the prestige, fame, wealth. For the smoker, better health, longer life, increased taste and smell etc.
  3. Away – magnify the undesired things you will be leaving behind, lack of money, long hours at a day job, lack of achievement. For the smoker, smelling of smoke, yellow nails, the possibility of cancer etc 

The latter towards and away examples are the main ways we motivate ourselves. Either we are motivated toward a desired goal, or we are motivated away from an undesired situation. And of course, we can combine both towards and away motivators.

Desire + Pleasure = more self motivation

The quitting smoker has a desire, but may find it hard in the beginning to find any pleasure from quitting since it is the very thing they are quitting that gives the pleasure.

Only later when they begin to experience the benefits of not smoking (if they can get to that point) will they begin to experience pleasure and be further motivated.

For the budding novelist on the other hand, the natural pleasure they gain from writing, and a desire to write the book must compensate for the less tangible outcome motivations, there is no certainty of fame or wealth for instance.


In the end, whatever your outcome goal, be it health, wealth, happiness or something else, be sure you do it for yourself first. Using somebody else as your main motivator is often a recipe for certain failure.

L I F E   C O N F I D E N T ' S


The Shyness & Social Anxiety Breakthrough Program


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