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How to Motivate Yourself to Massive Action

Photo by Sara Lando
It's the action behind the attraction that makes the wish come true

Powerful motivation comes in understanding that you can achieve anything you truly desire in your heart. It is the knowledge that you are destined to fulfill your every goal, which drives you to change.

The decision is the first step towards change. Regardless of the decision, every change requires some form of action. Do you find it challenging at times to motivate yourself in taking action? Sometimes, I catch my mind making excuses, and occasionally I ‘succeed’ in avoiding the action all together. Here are some pointers I have personally found helpful in motivating myself:

  • What & Why?“Start with the end in mind.” To achieve a goal, it’s important to define clearly what that goal is. How do you know when you’ve achieved it? Define a measurable end. Once you have your goal, it’s important to understanding the Why – why you are doing it? Ask yourself what are the motivating factors behind it? For your family? For your kids? Why? Why must you succeed?
  • Break it down to small achievable tasks – It is very easy, and human, to be overwhelmed by the sheer effort and energy involved in achieving a big goal. Especially if the goal consists of many unknowns or a long-drawn process. We tell ourselves it’s impossible or it’s too much work, and then we give up even before we take any action towards a goal. I’ve found it very helpful to always split the main goal into several milestones. Then breaking each milestone into a series of steps to achieve that milestone. For each step, break them down further into smaller, measurable and achievable tasks that can be achieved in a few hours or less. This will make the goal appear manageable. Achieving one task after another builds confidence and momentum, and before you know it, the end result will be in sight. Personally, I feel rewarded and more motivated just by crossing tasks off with a black marker as I complete them.

  • Take a Small Step – Even the smallest first step will help create momentum towards change. “Start doing the thing to have energy to do the thing” -Bob Proctor.When I heard this, a light bulb went off in my head. So now, whenever I don’t want to do something that I know will help me. I would trick myself into thinking ‘I’m just gonna start it, it’ll only take a few minutes.’ And once I start it, I typically will finish the task. I have this quote written on a cue card, taped on the wall across from my bed, serving as a daily reminder.
  • Rewards & Celebration – Give yourself small rewards for each completed step or task. Then celebrate when you reach each Milestone! I use ice-cream, Chai, reading and internet browsing time as rewards for myself. Look back at what you’ve done, enjoy it, embrace it, and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done! I like to exaggerate this step by doing a “happy dance“: very silly moves I do, that tend to make other people (and myself) laugh. This way, my body moves, I’m smiling and my mind will create positive associations with achieving milestones to being happy.
  • Pain vs. Pleasure – Have you noticed that you are more inclined to avoid pain, than to gain pleasure? For example, we all know the benefits of eating healthy and exercising, but this benefit alone often is not enough to motivate us to action. But, if your doctor tells you that must live a healthier lifestyle or in 6 months you will contract a life-threatening illness, you are more likely to make the change. Here’s a visualization technique I picked up from a Tony Robbins ‘Unleash the power within’ seminar:
    • Visualize yourself in 5 years without taking the actions to reach your goal. See yourself in pain. Do this for a minute, and then intensify the feeling. Feel the heaviness on your back. Do this for a few minutes, and then relax.
    • Now visualize yourself having achieved your goal. What do you look like? How are you celebrating? See and feel the benefits it’s provided. Now, let that feeling intensify. Do this for a few minutes as the feeling intensify some more.
  • Inspiration – Being around motivating people really helps to inspire us into action. People who are consistently aligning their decisive actions towards their goals. Being around these people can be infectious, and their energy will impact you. If you don’t have such people in your life? Get a cd or dvd of a motivational speaker. Just listening to an outstanding speaker’s voices, can create enough energy to pump you up. I recommend, “Anthony Robbins“, “Les Brown” and “Bob Proctor“.

What do you do to motivate yourself? Please share your ‘secret’ in the comments!

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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40 thoughts on How to Motivate Yourself to Massive Action

  1. Great one Tina! This is POWERFUL.

    Thanks for reminding me of how important ACTION is. I love all the steps shared in this article and I have no choice than to subscribe to your feed to receive more of this powerful articles.

    BTW, I am inviting you to my Group Writing Project.

    I will love to have your article featured. ;)

    Have a GREAT day.

  2. I just tagged you in my latest post. I’d appreciate it if you would look at it and tell me if the topic resonates with you. If not, just regard it as link love. :)

  3. Thanks Adebola. I will let you know once I have the article. I appreciate your encouraging words. :)

  4. Jean, your reply follows.. I also posted on your site:

    “I no longer feel lost but at home in the universe. I’m convinced that would never have happened if I hadn’t spent a lot of time alone…exploring”

    This stuck with me most. I’ve gone through the same discovery and understanding about my self through forcing myself to spend time alone, mainly because it was a fear and I wanted to fight it. But through this process, I discovered something much more precious… finding myself. As a result, I can love people and things more deeply and no longer bound by that fear. I mentioned from Alex’s blog that I used to have date nights with myself. This is particularly useful when you are in a relationship. I will talk about this further in a detail post in the future on what I did during date nights and how it changed me for the better.

    Here’s an article on dealing with fears where I share a similar story of becoming a photographer.


  5. A simple but powerful message about motivation.

    Breaking down a task to smaller parts is a good tip as often a task seem beyond us and we do not pursue it further.

  6. Thanks John for your comment. I agree. I sometimes forget this when my mind is clouded. It’s a reminder to myself as well.

  7. Hi Tina,

    I really love your quote “It’s the action behind the attraction that makes the wish come true”.

    Makes me wonder if that is directed at any ‘Law’ in particular?? ;-)

  8. Hi Tina, great post! I have a post on goal setting (A millionaire’s 9 question guide to goal setting) that may complement your entry. =P

  9. Hehehe.. I love that quote too. I got that from one of the coaches from the Anthony Robbins Company.

  10. Thanks. I will check out your link. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Wow, interesting writing.

    I really like your blog’s design.

  12. Thanks Marko. I appreciate it. A lot of love went into designing this blog. :)

  13. Armannd

    A truly powerful article. Not just the tips that you shared, but also the way you wrote them! It’s simple and straight to the point, no fluff talk. And that is very refreshing!

    I sense the beginning of a *great* blog here. :)


  14. Hi Armannd, Thank you so much for your feedback and encouraging words. A lot of love went into this article and I’m glad the response is positive. Thanks for making me smile. :)


  15. Hi Tina, my server was down yesterday. The link should work now.

    Anyway I read some of your other articles. They are very good. Lol… you are truly the “shiny” new kid on the block. =)

  16. Hey Tina, =D I came here to say hello and have a look at your website. I must say your blog posts are very inspiring. =) Great site, too! =D

    For me, the hardest thing to do is taking the first step. It’s the first plunge I try to avoid because of the sheer immense of anticipated work which comes running my way. Oddly, it feels okay when I’m fully immersed into my work. But the fear of taking the first step usually sets me back a lot. =(

    The pointers are simple, yet I don’t follow them everytime. Maybe I should start doing it little by little. =\

  17. Hi Frolicsome Kid,

    I hear you, taking the first step is tricky. I have mini struggles in my mind sometimes… it just wants to push it out in the future. Just the sheer thinking about the tasks, I find that our mind blows it up so big that we end up not doing it, labeling it to be ‘too hard’. And once we start doing it, then we find that it’s actually quite easy and doable. :)

    Don’t fear! I think what you’re doing is great.. and that is to recognize that you have this pattern. The first step to change is recognizing how you are currently behaving and deciding that you want something different.

    I don’t follow them every time as well. Our minds are so powerful. :) I suggest to write the points down, and then start doing it little by little. Take baby steps. Be conscious of what you’re doing as much as possible. I wish you success!

    Let me know how your progress goes. I’d love to hear about them.

    Take care, Tina

  18. I’m a BIG ‘pain/pleasure’ believer and was happy to see you addressed it in your post! Just came across your blog from Zen Habits. Your posts are well thought out and beneficial. Great job!

  19. jd

    Hey Tina –

    I’ve found that one of the most important things I can do is learn to enjoy the process and to reduce friction.

    For example, when I would focus on the pain of my workout, my workout sort of sucked. When I reframed it that resistance made me stronger, I then welcomed the pain — it was my growth. It sounds simple, but that mindswitch was powerful.

    I find that reducing friction is another key for results. For example, I purposefully bought a camera where I could quickly pop the memory card in and out of my computer. I knew keeping the friction low was important, otherwise, I wouldn’t take as many pictures as I do.

    I think the practice that’s helped me take the most action is that if something is tough for me, then I do it daily until it’s a routine. I tune and tweak it until it gets easier. I use checklists as part of the process too, similar to how figher pilots become trained to be world class — a practice I learned from Flawless Execution.

  20. I think your perception and your framing of whatever you’re doing determines your motivation to take action. If you think in terms of what you want to do, instead of what you must do, it completely changes everything. Start phrasing things in terms of wants, instead of musts.

  21. As a reward for taking small steps, I acutally congradulate myself aloud. This gets me into the habit of self-motivation. I do it so I can reward myself verbally not because of outside influences. So far its working well for me.

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