Motivation: The Key to Achieving Goals

How do I motivate others is a question I am often asked by young and senior leaders alike, to which I typically reply, so how you motivate yourself?

While desire, determination and discipline are central to achieving goals, none of them are possible without motivation. So what exactly is motivation and how can you motivate yourself? Here are 10 things you can do to ensure you achieve your goals.


What is Motivation?

Simply put, motivation is the reason or reasons behind people acting or behaving in a particular way. They can be either internal or external, or a combination of both:

Intrinsic Motivation Extrinsic Motivation
Motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself. It doesn’t rely on any external pressure. Motivation that is driven by external pressure like competition, recognition and threat of punishment. Carrot or stick.


Factors that Influence Motivation

In order for us to understand what we can do to motivate ourselves and others, we also need to understand what factors influence motivation:

Direction Effort Persistence
What is the goal? How much effort is required? How long will it take?



Here's an example of how understanding motivation and the factors that influence motivation can be used to help you achieve your goals. My wife and I have a 18-month old baby boy, and I need to get healthy so that I can be there for him. 

Intrinsic Motivation Extrinsic Motivation
Get myself healthy and fit. Make me feel better about myself. Concerned about my son's future and being there for him.


Direction Effort Persistence
Lose 20 kilogram Healthy diet and exercise 1 kilogram per week = 20 weeks


Tips to Motivating Yourself

1. Define Your Goal

What is it that you want to achieve? What is the reason? By when do you want to achieve it? How much effort will be required? How will your life be different when you achieve it? These are five very important questions, as they will help to clarify what your goal is, and the importance of achieving your goal.

Please note that it is important the goal is challenging but realistic.

2. Chunk It

Time and distractions are two of the biggest reasons why people fail to stay motivated. With this in mind you should break your goal into bite sized chunks (mini goals) and and focus on achieving them one at a time. Dedicate a little time each day or week to working on achieving each goal.

Mini goals should be evenly spread so that you have a constant stream of little successes.

3. Visualise It

I'm sure you've heard the saying, out of sight out of mind. You need to visualise your end goal and all the mini goals in-between. This could be done by way of a inspirational posters and quotations to a gantt chart on the walls. is a great source of classic motivational posters, but you might find that making your own has more meaning.

4. Celebrate Achievements

Attach rewards to your mini goals and celebrate whenever you achieve them. Don't blow this out of proportion... Ensure that the rewards are on the same level as the achievements. Treat yourself to a gold class movie ticket or a nice mean etc.

Ensure that you keep a journal of all your achievements and how you felt.

5. Create a Buddy/Support System

Staying motivated on your own is tough. Find someone or a group of with whom you can share your goals and reason or reasons behind them. Preferably they are people with similar goals, or people who have an interest in you succeeding.

Organise regular checkins with them and likewise for yourself.

6. Make it Fun

I can't stress this one enough... Find ways to make achieving your goals fun. If it feels like its hard work, the chances are you will put off and procrastinate about doing it.

7. Stick to your Schedule

Easier said than done, I know... Make every effort to stick to your schedule. If you have to skip one task once in a while that is ok, just ensure you don't skip two tasks in a row. Then it becomes a slippery slope to defeat.

A buddy/support system will be of great help in this area.

8. Join Special Interest Groups

People with similar challenges or interests can be a source of inspiration for others. Look for special interest groups which who you can share your experiences and learn from their experiences.

For example, there are a lot of special interest groups for technopreneurs and startups.

9. Avoid Analysis Paralysis

Unfortunately too many goals are never realised because of over analyse and planning. I'm not saying don't analyse or plan, just be careful you don't spend all your time analysing and planning when you could be achieveing.

A good sounding board would be helpful here!

10. Nike

It's better to try and fail than fail to try. Just do it!


There you have it... Ten really useful and very doable tips to help you get and stay motivated, and whilst the list is by no means exhaustive, it's a good place to start.