100 Ways to Motivate Yourself

100 Ways to Motivate Yourself
by Steve Chandler
Career Press 2004
ISBN: 1564147754

I love all the many wisdoms in this book... really too many to quote here without infringing copyright, but I will try to be selective and only choose my 'favourite' favourites. One of the ways I judge a book is by the pondering it inspires. Reading 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself definitely spawned many great ideas which I now practice on a regular basis.

Table of Contents and Reader Reviews at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Visualize your death - then get over it and start living

"Without being conscious of death, you can’t be fully aware of the gift of life. Yet many of us keep pretending that our life’s game will have no end. We keep planning to do great things some day when we feel like it… Confronting our own death doesn’t have to wait until we run out of life. In fact, being able to vividly imagine our last hours on our deathbed creates a paradoxical sensation: the feeling of being born all over again – the first step to fearless self-motivation."

Focus on being motivated

"Most of us tend to lose our focus in life because we’re perpetually worried about so many negative possibilities… When you focus on being a happy and motivated person, that is who you will be."

Blitz your tasks in one fell swoop

"In her book, Brain Building, Marilyn Vos Savant recommends something similar to simplify life. She advises that we make a list of absolutely every small task that has to be done, say, over the weekend, and then do them all at once, in one focused action. A manic blitz. In other words, fuse all small tasks together and make the doing of them one task so that the rest of the weekend is absolutely free to create as we wish."

Push your own motivational buttons

"From now on, make it a personal commitment to notice everything that pushes your buttons. Make a note of everything that inspires you. That’s your control panel. Those buttons operate your whole system of personal motivation … Go through all of your music and create a “greatest motivational hits” tape for yourself … The more you know about how you operate, the easier it will be to motivate yourself."

Start slow and easy

"There isn’t any job that can’t be handled if we are willing to break it down into little pieces. When you’ve broken a job down, remember to allow yourself some slow motion in beginning the first piece. Just take it slow and easy. Because it isn’t important how fast you are doing it. What’s important that is that you are doing it … By accepting that you’re going to do your task in a slow and lazy way, there is no anxiety or dread about getting it started."

Activate your happy brain chemicals

"Don’t keep trying to go outside yourself searching for something that’s fun. It’s not out there anywhere. It’s inside. The opportunity for fun is in your own energy system – your synergy of heart and mind. That’s where you’ll find it… Get into those energizing chemicals in your system that get activated when you laugh… or sing… or dance… or run… or hug someone. When you’re having fun, your body chemistry changes and you get new biochemical surges of motivation and energy."

No to TV, yes to Twitter

"When you are watching television you are watching other people do what they love doing for a living. Those people are on the smart side of the glass, because they are having fun, and you are passively watching them have fun. They are getting money, and you are not… Today the growing fascination with going online is an improvement over television, especially if you interact. Communicating inside thoughtful chat rooms and sending and receiving email both grow the brain. Television does the opposite."

Use your comfort zone for rest only

"Our society encourages us to seek comfort. Most products and services advertised day and night are designed to make us more comfortable and less challenged. And yet, only challenge causes growth. Only challenge will test our skills and make us better. Only challenge and the self-motivation to engage the challenge will transform us. Every challenge we face is an opportunity to create a more skilful self. So it is up to you to constantly look for challenges to motivate yourself with. And it’s up to you to notice when you’re buried alive in a comfort zone… Use your comfort zones to rest in, not to live in."

Challenge your fear

"Fear kills more people than death. Death kills us but once, and we usually don’t even know it. But fear kills us over and over again, subtly at times and brutally at others. But if we keep trying to avoid our fears, they will chase us down like persistent dogs. The worst thing we can do is close our eyes and pretend they don’t exist… The world’s best-kept secret is that on the other side of your fear there is something safe and beneficial waiting for you. If you pass through even a thin curtain of fear you will increase the confidence you have in your ability to create your life."

Ritual self-starters

"Doing something is what leads to doing something… Make up little rituals for yourself that will act as self-starters. They will have you in action before you ‘feel like’ getting into action. Rituals always override your built-in hesitation so that you can get yourself motivated in a predictable, controllable way."

Why inspiring movies make us cry

"This is my theory: We weep for the winner inside of all of us. In these poignant moments, we cry because we know for a fact that there is something in us that could be every bit as great as what we are watching. We are, for that moment, the untapped greatness we are seeing. But we get tears in our eyes, because we know the greatness isn’t realized. We could have been like that, but we aren’t."

Practice active relaxation

"There is a huge difference between active relaxation and passive relaxation. When we play video games, play computer games, play cards, work in the garden, walk the dog, go into a chat room, or play chess, we are interacting with the unexpected, and our minds are responding. All of these activities increase personal creativity and intellectual motivation. They are all active pursuits. Active relaxation refreshes and restores the mind. It keeps it flexible and toned for thinking. Great thinkers have known this secret for a long time. Winston Churchill used to paint to relax. Albert Einstein played the violin. They could relax one part of the brain while stimulating another. When they returned to workday pursuits they were fresher and sharper than ever… Most of us try to deaden the mind in order to relax. We rent mindless videos, read pulp fiction, drink, smoke, and eat until we’re foggy and bloated. The problem with this form of relaxation is that it dulls our spirit and makes it hard to come back to consciousness… When we find ways to link thinking to recreation, our lives get richer."

Practicing what you learn

"I bet that if this were a foreign language that you had to learn you would set aside a certain amount of time each day to review it, to read it out loud, and to make certain you learned it. I bet you’d buy tapes or CDs for your car and even arrange small study groups. So the real question is this: Is mastering the art of motivation as important as learning another language?"

Keep your goal visual

"Because the subconscious mind only communicates with vividly imagined or real pictures, it will not seek to bring into your life anything you can’t picture… Without advertising our goals to ourselves, we can lose sight of them altogether. "


"The main rules of the brainstorming session are 1) there are no stupid ideas – the more unreasonable the better – and 2) everyone must play… Brainstorming works so well because the usual restraints against stupidity are lifted. It’s okay to be unreasonable and far out… What most people in business don’t realize is that this powerful technique can be used by an individual, alone with himself or herself… Your only objective is to have 20 ideas scrawled down within a certain short amount of time. If you do this for a week you will end up with 100 ideas! Are all of them usable? Of course not, but who cares? When you began the process you probably didn’t have any usable ideas."

Move your body!

"Your brain stops working after you sit in a swivel chair for 20 minutes. Keep the body moving around so the juices will run to the right places. It’ll be good for the brain! If you sit in that chair too long all of your brainpower will be in your shoes. You cannot keep your mind active when you body is inactive."

The circle game

"Draw 4 circles. These are your planets. Label the 1st circle with one of your lifelong goals. Call it “Lifelong Dream”. Label circle 2, “My Year” What do I need to do in the next year to be on track for circle 1. Label circle 3, My Month” and enter what you need to do this month to stay on track. Label circle 4 “My Day”. What do you need to do today to stay on track.

When you study the irrefutable mathematical truth contained in this system, a strange feeling comes over you. You realize that all four circles are ultimately dependent on the success of just one circle: The circle labelled, My Day.

Then you get the strangely empowering sensation that you have just proved on paper that your day and your life are the same thing. There is no future other than the future you are working on today. Your future is not stranded out there somewhere in space…

By drawing these simple four circles you can create your universe anywhere, anytime... Each time you do it, your universe gets closer to you. Each time you draw the circles you are hit with this revelation: There is absolutely no difference between succeeding today and having a successful life. "

Do something badly

"We’re often afraid to do things until we’re sure we’ll do them well. Therefore we don’t do anything… Don’t let this happen to you. If you’re not motivated to do something you know you need to do, just decide to do it badly. Add a little self-deprecating humour. Be comically bad at what you’re doing. And then enjoy what happens to you once you’re into the process."

Take a walk

"There is something about walking that combines opposites. Opposites: activity and relaxation. (This very paradox is what creates whole-brain thinking)… This combining of opposites activates the harmony I need between the right and left brain, between the adult and the child, between the higher self and the animal. Great solutions appear. Truth becomes beauty."

Become the problem

"Whatever type of problem you are facing, the most self-motivational exercise I know of is to immediately say to yourself “I am the problem”. Because once you see yourself as the problem, you can see yourself as the solution. We shut down creativity when we declare the source of the trouble to be outside of us. However, once we say “I am the problem”, there is great power that shifts from the outside to the inside. Now we can become the solution."

Increase your goal tenfold

"Take a certain goal of yours and double it. Or triple it. Or multiply it by 10. And then ask yourself, quite seriously, what you would have to do to achieve that new goal… If you seriously look at an outrageous goal, it will open things up for you creatively that wouldn’t have opened up if you stayed looking at (your original goal)."

Find your perfect vision

"There’s nothing more motivational to flip your binary switch to “on” than a clear vision of what it is that you really want. What do you want to bring into being? It doesn’t matter what that vision is or how often it changes. It only matters what that vision does. If your vision isn’t getting you up in the morning, then make up another one. Keep at it until you develop a vision that’s so colourful and clear that it puts you in action just to think about it."


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