Ten Strategies for Getting Motivated

  1. Make a commitment: Commit yourself by making a plan, writing it on the calendar sharing your plan with another person.
  2. Calendar or day book: Write tasks and activities down on a wall calendar or small day book. Carry your day book with you, and look at it frequently. Check things off when completed.
  3. Think of all the resources available to you: Who and what might be able to help you to follow through with your plan or commitment? What creative ideas can you think of to get around obstacles? Ask for help if you need it.
  4. Be open minded to new ideas: Recognize that trying to do things the same old way may not be working for you. Listen to how others are getting things done. Try the suggestions of others.
  5. Visualize the positive benefits: Think about all the positives you will get from following through with the task of activity. Imagine the sense of accomplishment you will feel later.
  6. One step at a time: Break activities down into manageable steps, to avoid feeling overwhelmed. It is easiest to get started if you remind yourself it is OK to just do the first step.
  7. Action before interest: Remember that the feeling of being interested in an activity often sets in after starting an activity, not before. Get started on something no matter how you feel, and the interest will come. Try activity even if initially you feel tired, bored, nervous or uninterested.
  8. The buddy system: It is often easier to get moving when you have the support of a friend with whom to face a challenge. Go to a new activity with a friend or supportive family member.
  9. Keep your expectations realistic: What are your expectations for yourself when trying something new? Keep them realistic. Do not aim for perfection. Expect to feel nervous. Expect to make mistakes. Expect it to be difficult.
  10. Do the five times test: When joining a new activity, club or class do not make a decision quitting until you have attended at least five times. It is not fair to judge the merits of something until you have given it a fair chance. That’s five times!

What motivates you (survey)

Different things motivate different people. Your motivation may be low right now, but by identifying what tends to motivate you, you may find some ways to move yourself forward.  Have a look at the list below and check off items that apply to you. It is not a complete list, so add your own ideas.

  • Doing my best
  • Others depending on me
  • Being encouraged or complimented by others
  • Seeing the positive result of my actions
  • Being around positive people
  • Proving something to myself
  • Proving something to others
  • Feeling of accomplishment
  • Last minute pressure
  • Wanting independence
  • Seeing my children happy
  • Conflict
  • Money
  • Enjoying a sense of pride in my actions
  • Having to meet a deadline
  • Learning new things
  • Enjoying the challenge
  • To avoid the pressures caused by procrastination
  • To avoid criticism from others
  • To avoid feeling guilty
  • Getting encouragement from others
  • Reward motivation
  • Internal focus of control and personal mastery

Select one of your motivators that were checked from the list above… Now develop a plan for using this to enhance your low motivation. For instance, “getting encouragement from others” is one of your motivators, consider asking a friend or family member for this type of support in a particular area where you need a push.

See if you can make a plan for any of the other motivators that you checked.


Getting motivated: It is easier when you have a support… Illustration: Megan Jorgensen