Motivated people are not born with a special gene or personality trait that makes their dreams any easier to achieve. They are not lucky, but they are intentional and practiced. If the question of how to motivate yourself has ever arisen, the key to realizing your power may be hidden in this simple formula.
“It is the obvious equation and the ultimate secret: the deeper and longer I give attention to my ambitions and passions, the more motivation I feel.” – Brendon Burchard, The Motivation Manifesto
Your legacy rests on what you do today, just as the foundation of your dreams is built on your motivation to pursue them today. Whatever it is you want to accomplish and whatever shape your dreams take, the dilemma of how to motivate yourself to pursue those aims shows up constantly.
Moving Beyond Fear
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
As Brendon Burchard writes in The Motivation Manifesto, “The mother of motivation is choice.” We all experience negative thoughts (like doubt, worry, shame, and unworthiness), but it’s our choice whether or not we let our fearful thoughts make a home in our mind. It is up to us to let them pass through without feeding into their claims, but rather with an open mind about how their presence could serve our positive growth.
Our negative thoughts–like all our thoughts–have something to tell us, and somewhere to point us. Every experience in life can become our teacher if we choose to see it as such. In the light of this perception, we can acknowledge the teacher, listen to the message, and then let go of anything that would not serve our forward movement.
We each have a choice to replace negative thinking patterns with new beliefs that support our motivation and feed our positive momentum. Motivation is indeed in our hands, it’s a habit of practice and directed will, and it’s an active choice entangled in each life experience.
With enough time, effort, and dedication we can learn what we need to know in order to succeed in life. By choosing freedom over fear and love over despair, over and over again, we become more comfortable meeting our fears and build the confidence to walk past them.
Motivation Comes from Within
“The power within you is infinite. Plug into your higher self for a surge that will propel you to places you thought unattainable.” – Mary-Frances Winters
At the root of motivation lies your motive: a reason for action. This is your “why” for all that you do.
In The Motivation Manifesto (which this post is inspired by), the author clarifies that “motivation is summoned only from within.” A theme that resonates throughout the text is that we don’t have motivation; we use our mind to generate motivation. The motivation we experience is subject to our own direction, not to the whims of the world.
You must make the conscious choice every day to be deeply committed to your dreams, to do the work, and to stoke the fire in your heart once again.
How to Motivate Yourself: 3 Stages to Success
“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer
The secret to motivating yourself isn’t quite a secret. One glance at this “motivation equation” and it may seem obvious, like you somehow knew this all along but here it is spelled out in practical terms. This is a psychological formula for sparking, sustaining, and amplifying motivation—it may very well be the “how” you’ve been looking for.
1. Sparking Motivation
Sparking motivation = ambition + expectancy.
Ambition: We need a heightened level of desire, a clear motive for action, a resounding “why” to fuel greatness in our lives. “By deeply contemplating higher aims,” The Motivation Manifesto declares, “we energize ourselves to pursue them.” Discover your why. Know your why. Remind yourself constantly of why you want and do the things you do. Ask yourself: What do I want… A better job? A healthier relationship? A happier life?
Expectancy: We must have faith in ourselves and in the process of life. We must believe our dream is possible and that we can go get it. You must believe in your capabilities and your possibilities. Say to yourself: I expect this will happen. I have faith in myself. I can see my dreams coming true, and I know what success tastes like.
2. Sustaining Motivation
Sustaining motivation = attention + effort.
Attention: We must refocus on the positive. We must stay focused on our “why” and cultivate a beautiful, healthy obsession about it without mindless distraction. We must live in the pulse of our dreams, tending to our innermost desires with care and diligence. Review your goals each day. Journal about your desires each night. Set aside moments regularly to visualize what you want and how you will get there.
Effort: Without effort, our dream is just a dream, just a hope. Energy breeds energy. Our effort often gives us more motivation, creating forward momentum with endless potential. Keep going, no matter what, and if you can only take small steps, take those small steps. Make it clear to the universe what you want through willed attention and relentless effort.
3. Amplifying Motivation
Amplifying motivation = attitude + environment.
Attitude: Use your mind to think optimistically. To recite The Motivation Manifesto’s brilliance: “An open and positive disposition toward the world can attract people, bring joy into our experience, and channel the highest energies of the universe.“ Ask yourself: How am I energetically contributing to the world? Am I shaping my own experiences? Am I living how I wish to live? Am I open to new ideas, or have I isolated my mind? You get to choose how you’re going to show up and feel and relate to the world.
Environment: Whom we interact with matters to our mood, our attitude, and our motivation. Surround yourself with vibrant positive energy. Distance yourself from negativity, doubt, worry, and unkind personalities. We can and should still love these people, but fearful energy is highly contagious–thankfully, so is positive energy.
Motivation in Three Sentences
Spark motivation (ambition + expectancy) + sustain motivation (attention + energy) + amplify motivation (attitude + environment) = lasting motivation.
To sum up the key to lasting motivation in three sentences, The Motivation Manifesto once again doesn’t disappoint:
“Choose an ambition and, with full force, expect that it is possible and that you can make it happen. Give constant attention and committed effort to your dreams, and your motivation will perpetuate itself. Demonstrate a positive attitude as you strive for great things and take care to create a supportive environment around you that amplifies your motivation.”
Honestly and courageously look at this formula and ponder positive shifts you can make in each area. Doing this meaningful work, day after day, is the answer to motivating yourself.
You may also enjoy this post about staying creative and inspired.
- How do you motivate yourself to live your best life, whatever that looks like for you?
- What goals do you struggle with?
- Does this motivation equation resonate with you?
- What books and other learning materials have helped you embrace your dreams (whatever those dreams are)?
Please share your thoughts, insights, lessons in motivation, and experiences with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone who could use some inspiration today.
Perhaps if we stop pursuing our dreams, we can finally start living them–living in the energy of that which we most long for. In other words: Embody the shape of the life you love.