When I ask people about their priorities for Self-Improvement, motivation is very often near the top of their list. After all, what’s the use in having ideas, plans and goals if you can’t get started and keep going? Hopefully this will help…

getting motivated

photo credit: Nick Webb (licence)


Since turning my life around after two very debilitating bouts of depression (see my About Me page), I have developed a range of strategies to re-motivate myself when things get tough. In fact, I have too many motivational ideas for just one blog post, so today I will be focussing on ‘quick fixes’: instant tricks and hacks you can use to get yourself going without any prior preparation.

(In my next two posts I’ll focus on advance planning to maintain your motivation, and potential problems to avoid when guarding your motivation. )

Personalise your strategy

We are all wired differently; what motivates me might not necessarily motivate you, and vice-versa. So be prepared to pick through the following ideas and focus on those that resonate with you. Hopefully there will be something for everyone!

14 Tips & Hacks

Remember: all these Self-Improvement ideas are quick fixes when you need an instant burst of motivation. None should take more than 5 or 10 minutes and some can be just a few seconds. These are methods to motivate, not excuses to procrastinate!

As part of your overall Self-Improvement strategy, you may need a more intentionally-structured approach too: I’ll talk about that next time.

  • get over yourself
    This is the one we never want to hear, so I’ll get it out of the way right at the start! Put bluntly, we sometimes just need to get over ourself and get the job done. Perhaps we’re just being lazy, or selfish, or childish. It happens. Yes? Just do it.
  • visualise success
    If you can’t get into an important task, try spending 60 seconds vividly imagining what life will look and feel like once that task is done, and done well. There is evidence to suggest that your subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between a real event and a visualised one. So you’ll get at least some of the satisfaction right away…hopefully enough to give you enough motivation to start.
  • consider your WHY
    It’s often easier to move on a task when you have a compelling reason why to get it done. Take a moment to think about why the task is important, who will benefit and how it fits into your bigger picture.
  • stand/sit tall and open
    As I explained in my Be Taller, Faster And Happier post, your posture can affect your mindset enormously. Sit up or stand up straight, open your hands and arms, welcome the world and see how much better you feel! This boost of positivity can help set your task in motion.
  • move!
    Get your body moving. Exactly how you choose to do this will depend on your location, circumstances and your physical abilities, and take care to stay within your limits. Anything from a few seated arm-stretches to a lightning sprint up and down a few flights of stairs (I wish!) can re-energise your ‘get-going-ness’.
  • eat a healthy snack
    If there is food nearby (when is there not?), grab a snack, preferably something healthy that will provide instant energy. For me it’s a banana every time. A tricky task often looks more achievable the other side of a banana!
  • chocolate!
    If weight-loss is part of your Self-Improvement, this one may not help! But the feel-good brain chemicals connected with eating chocolate can stimulate and motivate considerably. Just don’t overdo it!
  • drink coffee
    Much has been said about the benefits and dangers of drinking coffee. I suggest a balanced approach: getting too reliant on coffee is unhelpful, but the occasional espresso ‘hit’ might be enough to shift your sluggishness on a task. Use with caution!
  • take a shower
    If it’s practical, why not jump in the shower? I use a tingling mint and tea-tree body wash that helps me shower mindfully, stimulates my senses and energises me. Feeling clean and fresh is also a great personal boost (and others may thank you, too…)
  • make a fresh start (as many as you like)
    As I explained in my New Year post, there is no limit to the number of fresh starts you can give yourself! Don’t wallow in the fact that you haven’t done all the things you intended to. Just clear the decks and go again. And again. And again…
  • call a friend
    A quick chat on the phone to a trusted friend or loved one can be just what you need to re-energise your day. But make sure you choose wisely: speak to someone who will feed you positive energy. Put a strict time limit on the call, too!
  • work for just 5 mins
    Does the task look too daunting? Make a commitment to work on it for exactly 5 minutes and set a timer. Promise yourself you can stop after that if you want to. More often than not, you will just keep going. I’m not sure why the first few minutes of a task seem the hardest to tackle, but they so often do. If 5 minutes doesn’t work for you or your circumstances, try 10, or 3, or whatever.
  • do a quick tidy-round or de-clutter
    Provided you’re not just procrastinating (again!) a tidy-up of your desk or work area can bring some clarity and a feeling of readiness for the task. And if it doesn’t work, at least you got things tidy!
  • do a “brain-dump”
    May be you don’t feel like you have a clear enough idea of how or where to begin? Set a five minute timer and brainstorm or mind-map all your thoughts and ideas. Getting things out of your head and onto paper (or screen) can clear your mind and help you focus on a good starting-point.

How About You?

What gets you instantly motivated? Do you have your own instant fix? Please “Leave a Reply” below so that others can benefit from your wisdom!

To our continued Self-Improvement and success!

David Hendra
The Self-Improvement Guy