What Is Self Motivation? And How To Use It To Meet Your Goals

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 20 September 2022 | Published 17 August 2021

Updated 20 September 2022

Published 17 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There may be days when it feels challenging to achieve certain goals. Developing self-motivation can help give you the push you may need to accomplish a difficult task. Self-motivation can provide a sense of achievement and determination to complete more tasks. In this article, we explain what self-motivation is, why it is an important quality to possess and how you can motivate yourself to meet your goals.

What Is Self-Motivation?

Self-motivation is what drives you to complete various tasks and duties efficiently. It helps build awareness of your intent for completing tasks. Self-motivation encourages you to engage consistently until you successfully complete a task. Once you finish a task or accomplish a goal, you may feel a sense of satisfaction and pride in yourself. This enables you to complete more tasks in the future.

The rush you get when you accomplish a task is called dopamine. It moves within your neurons and helps motivate you to work toward certain goals and achievements. To function properly, dopamine needs to operate in an efficient and purposeful way. This is where your self-motivation comes in. Pushing and motivating yourself to achieve goals helps activate this dopamine and can cause you to achieve more. Scientific studies show that self-motivators and passionate people are more successful in their life than other people.

Related: Types of Motivation for Career Advancement (With Examples)

Why Is Self-Motivation Important?

Self-motivation can help you develop the drive and determination to complete various tasks and goals throughout the day. If you display high levels of self-motivation within the workplace or any other setting, it becomes noticeable that you are achieving more goals and are working hard to succeed. Strong self-motivation at work helps increase your productivity and makes you feel proud of the goals you have accomplished.

Self-motivation and the drive to achieve something can lead to self-betterment, strong and trusting relationships with different people and the opportunity to explore more activities you enjoy and are passionate about. Self-motivation is a critical component in a person's life since it allows them to perceive things in a more positive light. Everything begins to fall into order if you are able to maintain a better perspective in life. So, self-motivated people tend to be more organised and confident.

How To Self Motivate

Self-motivation can begin as a decision with the ability to quickly develop into a habit. Here are a few ways you can start practising self-motivation until it eventually becomes a routine:

1. Adopt a healthy way of living

The first important step to motivating yourself is to lead a healthy life. You need an active brain to complete activities and achieve your objectives. In order to achieve this, you should keep both your mind and body healthy. Proper psychological and physical health can boost your motivation subconsciously. These are some tips to help you stay healthy:

  • Exercise at least twice a week

  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet

  • Get 6-8 hours of sleep daily

  • Maintain work-life balance

  • Make time for recreational activities

2. Live a simple life

In the context of self-motivation, a minimal lifestyle helps minimise distractions that may cost you a significant amount of effort and time in the long run. It helps in making you mentally and emotionally relaxed and allows you to overcome obstacles and be more creative.

3. Make a list of your ambitions

You could start by making a list of what you wish to accomplish in life or at work. This aids you by enriching your self-management abilities as you strive for various goals and objectives. You may do this by sitting down and making a list of the many objectives you want to achieve. You could use this strategy to tackle both professional and personal ambitions.

The objectives that you write may be big or small. It is always ideal to start with small goals that can enrich your sense of fulfilment. Completing smaller tasks can motivate you to do bigger tasks. If the tasks are huge, break them down into smaller tasks to make them appear less challenging and more feasible.

Related: Interview Question: "Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?"

4. Create a strategy for achieving each goal

After making a list, you may consider plotting effective strategies and plans to fulfil your ambition. Create a perfect timetable and make a to-do list. You may buy a calendar and start filling in the timelines for each objective you wish to complete. Writing down an objective makes you more likely to fulfil it. If you do not reach all of your objectives as intended, keep motivating yourself to attain the remaining objectives. You may reschedule your objectives if the situation demands so.

5. Develop an optimistic mindset

It is beneficial to maintain an optimistic and positive outlook towards life, both professionally and personally. Refrain from allowing failures to overwhelm you. Instead, you may try to see them as opportunities for growth and learning. If you look at situations with positivity and optimism, you can enable yourself to identify and rectify mistakes. It is important to navigate your anxieties and process them in a healthy way to stay motivated.

6. Learn to make realistic expectations of yourself

Sometimes, your strategies may not work according to plan. You may try to learn from these situations and keep your expectations realistic in the future. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may even consider abandoning some of your goals or tasks. In such cases, you must try to refrain from negative thinking and manage your expectations well. Maintain faith in your talents and in yourself.

7. Request and provide help

You may also consider reaching out to others for help and motivation. This includes the expert support of mental health professionals. You should receive and offer motivation to maintain and improve productivity. You could ask for tips from people who have already completed tasks that you are looking to complete. This helps remove your inhibitions and allows you to gain the necessary momentum to start a task.

8. Appreciate your accomplishments

You should take the time to appreciate yourself for your small achievements. Self-appreciation is one of the best ways by which you can motivate yourself. By creating a reward system, you may encourage yourself to keep working toward your goals. For instance, you could say, “If I finish 10 tasks by this weekend, I will go watch a film in a theatre.” If you reward yourself in small ways like this, you may motivate yourself to keep working toward your objectives in order to get additional rewards.

Related: How to Include Accomplishments on Your Resume

9. Surround yourself with motivated and supportive people

Surround yourself with individuals who have the potential to help you focus on your goals. Having at least one supportive person around you can change your attitude and aid you in accomplishing a task. If you consistently surround yourself with productive people, you may tend to feed off their energy and incorporate it into your lifestyle.

10. Experiment with unfamiliar tasks

You may try to come out of your comfort zone and experiment with things that are new to you. This may be done by identifying ways to achieve objectives that are more challenging than the tasks you are familiar with. You could also learn new skills to keep yourself motivated. Coming out of your comfort zone can help you gain new experiences and perspectives.

What Is An Example Of Self-Motivation?

People often have to motivate themselves to get through different tasks and situations. For example, a student may be engaged in creative pursuits like photography and painting along with their academic engagement at school. They may or may not have the compulsion or support of their peers, teachers and parents in this regard. In the course of time, the individual may have to make conscious decisions to maintain their creative engagements alongside work.

When they manage to set apart and utilise their time for creative engagement, they may start seeing positive results and may decide to take this pursuit more seriously. At a certain point, if they manage to make a comfortable earning from the creative practice, they may consider pursuing it full-time or start a career in fine arts. Throughout this process, it is essential for the individual to focus on their objectives and engage consistently. It is self-motivation that enables this and eventually leads them to success.


  • Why Employee Motivation Is Important: A Complete Guide

  • Motivation Theories (Definition, Types And Examples)

  • Herzberg Motivation Theory: How To Boost Employee Motivation

  • Motivation at Work: How To Motivate Employees in Their Jobs

  • Your Guide To Writing a Motivation Letter (With Tips and Examples)

  • How To Write A Self-Motivated Resume (With Example)

  • Tips on How To Work Hard for a Successful Career

  • How To Show Leadership Communication Skills (With Example)

Explore more articles