Self-Motivation for When the Going is Tough


We’ve all been there – that situation when, despite your best efforts, the road is rocky and you are increasingly worn out from the effort… and the light at the end of the tunnel is probably an oncoming train.

Many people enter a project or start working on a goal with an unconscious self-defeatist attitude! It’s not that they lack motivation, it’s that they’ve predestined failure by not having the self-esteem necessary to follow through on a goal. They say, “I’ll try” – which implies, “I will work until it’s too hard, or too uncomfortable, or too scary, or too whatever… and then I’ll say that I tried and it will be okay to quit.”

NO! Wrong attitude!!

How can you get past this slump to the success on the other side? No matter what your business or personal goals are, you CAN motivate yourself to keep going – and more importantly, to keep giving your best. You CAN learn to persevere even in the face of “obvious” defeat. Most goals are, in fact, abandoned just shy of success.

Success is in the mindset. We are, all of us, naturally lazy and prefer to take the path of least resistance. When an obstacle comes up, it’s easier to give in and say, “not this time” or “it wasn’t meant to be.” But is that going to move you toward your goals? Of course not.


The problem with writing an article on self-motivation is, there is no one perfect way to motivate everybody. Depending on how you perceive the world; your level of self-esteem; your beliefs about your goals and many other factors, you will have to come up with your own secret formula for motivational success. That said, here are some tools you can use. Try one, try them all, and NEVER GIVE UP.


1: Small steps are better than giant leaps.

Be realistic in your goals. Unrealistic expectations (usually related to rigid timelines) set you up for failure before you even start. Any business takes time to grow; and taking a business from zero to a million requires time and a plan. Set measurable, ever-increasing goals that you use as stepping-stones to success. Break your goals down into small, daily actions and stick to your plan. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And then another, and another. One step at a time is all you need to focus on. Think about it: what would you rather do: be overwhelmed into inaction-paralysis by a huge goal, or have a small daily action to take care of? Which is more motivating?


2. Instead of a to-do list, make a “Daily Hit List”.

These are tasks that are important for your goals; and do these before you do anything else that day. Set aside 10-30 minutes of laser-focused activity and get these important things out of your hair. Feel the satisfaction of having moved another step forward. If there’s time to “do it all,” great. If not, at least the important things have been done.


3. Do not allow yourself to quit.

You’ve probably heard the old cliché, “winners never quit and quitters never win.” It’s true! But don’t keep banging your head against the wall using the same techniques to problem-solve, when they aren’t working. Be innovative! When you’re up against an obstacle, use meditation to help you visualize alternative outcomes and innovative solutions. When you attack a problem head-on using logic and reasoning, you may not come up with a solution – but if you engage your imagination and creativity, you’ll be absolutely astounded at how clever you really are.


4. Talk about your goals with supportive people.

They will hold you accountable, cheer you on, give you ideas and mentor you. The more you talk about your goals, the more real they become in YOUR mind, too, and the more valuable information you will get as people love to share their knowledge.


5. Hold yourself accountable.

And also expect 100% effort and dedication from yourself. Your goals are your dreams, right? Why wouldn’t you give 100% to yourself? Do not doubt yourself and do not fear. All it takes to vaporize fear and self-doubt is taking action! Having a plan with small, incremental steps makes it EASY to take action. Action leads to confidence, higher self-esteem, and forward momentum!


6. Intense visualization.

Use two or three intense visualization sessions every day to keep yourself fired up about your goal and to maintain a positive mindset. Take 2-3 minutes, find a quiet place to close your eyes and intensely visualize SUCCESS in your goal. That’s all it takes! Your mind will mobilize to find the “how” – that’s its job – and your only task in visualization is to give the command that this is what you want.


You are both your greatest ally and your worst enemy. When you think about your goals, which are you? Be your greatest ally and choose right now to take small steps forward every single day, rain or shine. As Albert Einstein said, “Nothing happens until something moves.



Inspired by Wayne Hartzell’s blog on



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