Finding Internal Motivation


I would like to think that I’m a fairly motivated person. I mean, I went to grad school, completed a practicum, while working full time and achieved high honors. However, let’s be honest for a moment. At some point, our motivation is going to waver and possibly even fall. A few weeks ago, my business coach gave me the challenge to blog 30 blogs in 30 days. The first week was a piece of cake! The second week was less amazingly easy. But today, has not been a stellar day. Some health issues have complicated life. Isn’t that true for everyone? Don’t we all have experiences where we have great plans, hopes or desires and then some complexity of life gets in the way? How do you overcome the dropped motivation? How do you motivate yourself?

I think some people respond to different types of motivation better than others. For example, I don’t respond well to being guilted, manipulated, or shamed. That’s the quickest way to shut me down actually. The other technique that I don’t respond well to is someone yelling at me or badgering me into doing something. That’s not effective on me either. If those philosophies work for you, that’s wonderful for you. However, they don’t work for me. For those of us who need to find internal motivation I offer the following suggestions:

  1. Act as if: There’s a lot of truth behind the philosophy of acting as if. From a variety of different perspectives this is a very powerful technique. Let me explain it to you for a moment. If you want to have a certain job, act as if you already have that job. Get dressed as if you have that job, act as if you have that perfect and wonderful job. If you want to be a better partner, act as if the transformation has already happened.
  2. Visualization: No matter what your goal is this is a very powerful technique, because it helps to program your subconscious mind. Once your subconscious mind is on board with your goals, it will be that much easier to achieve them. I typically recommend my clients to see, feel, smell, hear, taste, and experience their goals having already come true with as much detail as possible.
  3. Start before you are ready: This has been a huge paradigm shift for me personally. I’m a wee bit of a perfectionist, so I like to have everything in place before I begin. How much has that delayed your progress or your success? Start now. Do one simple thing every day to catapult you into your success.
  4. Make it fun: I understand that fun looks differently for everyone. However, for me when I begin to experience stress or resistance the best thing for me to do is to put on some music and breathe. Other times I will put a funny movie or television show in the background. There is no right or wrong way here, you have to find a way that works for you.
  5. Handwritten lists: For years my husband has kept a little notebook with him in his pocket that he would constantly write notes to himself. These notes included: things that he needed to accomplish, reminders to himself, etc. I have recently returned to the paper written notes. From a subconscious mind perspective, keeping hand written notes helps program us for success.
  6. Remove the resistance: The term resistance is futile comes to mind every time I experience this. For me, rather than resisting something, I move with it. That was a complete paradigm shift. When my mind starts to wonder now, I allow it to do so in a limited capacity. I want to engage in an example for a moment. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Does it have candy or fruit in it? Where’s your favorite place to get it from? No, I do not ever want you to think about that flavor of ice cream again. What are you thinking of right now? So how would it be different if I suggested that you thought about that ice cream for three minutes and then switched your focus? My experience is that what we resist grows stronger.
  7. Celebrate the victories: I’m not talking about throwing a street fest every time you get out of bed. But seriously, if you set any type of goal and then achieve it, why not celebrate it? Why not celebrate yourself? I think everyone likes to feel validated, special, and appreciated. Can you think of a better way to motivate yourself than celebrating your successes?

Jenn Bovee, LCSW is a spiritual life coach and therapist. Jenn offers in person session as well as distance session. Learn more about here at: