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Twenty Ways to Motivate Yourself

Here are some practical tips to help you achieve this year's resolutions.

By Richard Ensman

1. Talk to yourself. Imagine there’s a little man in your head suggesting how you should lead your life each day. Listen to that voice.

2. Pay yourself for work well done. Invest a small sum of money after each professional success. Or put money aside for a special reward.

3. Complete your reports. Sketch out a brief monthly report on how well you’ve achieved your goals at the end of the month. Do the same thing at the end of the year. And then set new goals for the next period.

4. Have a personal motivational meeting. Get yourself excited by listening to some motivational speeches or taped seminars. And “psych” yourself up to pursue new initiatives in the days ahead.

5. Reward yourself. When you’ve completed a difficult task, be sure you spend time doing something you really like.

6. Set great goals. While most of today’s motivational literature suggests you set bite-size goals, there's nothing wrong with setting some truly ambitious, long-term goals. They may energize you to achieve more.

7. Ask others for help. Share your plans and ideas with other people, then ask them for their ideas. Let them know when you succeed, so they’ll maintain an interest in you along the way.

8. Organize your stuff. Don’t let yourself be cluttered by equipment, ideas and paper. Keep everything organized or filed, so you can focus your mental and physical energy on what’s really important.

9. Do your best work at your best time. You know the time of day, week or month when you’re most productive. Be sure you spend this time on your highest-priority tasks.

10. Give yourself something to look forward to. It might be the occasional weekend away, or time spent relaxing with a friend. Besides motivating yourself, this will create balance in your life.

11. Make things a game. If you like basketball, pretend that overcoming minor obstacles during the day is like making tough baskets. If you’re a baseball fan, liken your work to the game and seek out the metaphorical home runs as you go through the day.

12. Hang around “up” people. Cultivate personal and professional relationships with people who are enthusiastic and excited about life. Some of that enthusiasm will rub off on you.

13. Read motivating stories. Stop at your bookstore or library and pick up some autobiographies of people who have made it. Learn some lessons from these great masters that you can adapt to your own work life.

14. Work where you’re most comfortable. This might be a specific room in your home, or a specific part of your office. It might also mean that you arrange your desk or workspace in the most comfortable manner possible. Remember: environment influences productivity and satisfaction.

15. Use great tools. Whatever equipment you use in your work or personal life, get the best. You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll end up fostering comfort in whatever you do.

16. Take pride in your results. Boast just a bit about things you’ve done well; you can also let the media know.

17. Offer advice. Offer to help other people. Willingly share what you’ve learned over the years, and you’ll gain confidence as you help other people perfect their skills. Plus, you’ll learn new things yourself!

18. Build your work around a theme. If there’s a particular motive driving your life—say, adventure, service, exploration or learning—organize your goals and your work around it.

19. Exercise. Physical exercise stimulates the muscular and nervous systems, helps you sleep better and leaves you more energetic during the day.

20. Learn how to do things better.
Always seek ways to build your knowledge and skills. Read, attend a seminar or class, or simply sit with a wise friend and expose yourself to new ideas.

You know the time of day, or week, or month when you’re most productive. Be sure you spend this time on your highest-priority tasks.

Put a few of these simple tips into action each day and they will help you become a more productive and motivated person. And the results will show, other people will notice the gleam in your eyes and the success that follows.

Richard Ensman is a frequent contributor to He can be reached through


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