De-Mystifying Self-Motivation: How do you Develop It?

Self-Motivation: Motivated to do or achieve something because of one’s own enthusiasm or interest, without needing pressure from others.

External pressure plays a significant role in helping us attain our goals. When we have a boss demanding results or a client asking us to turn in a project, producing results is a given. But what happens when you’re just starting out and you have no external pressure pushing you towards achieving a result? What happens when you are the leader, and are accountable to no one?

That’s where self-motivation comes in.

Imagine running a 2Km circuit after months of binge watching Netflix. Your muscles are weak, your lungs are not very strong, and your heart cannot sustain intense movements. You can feel your thighs burn as your breathing starts getting static and heavy. What seemed like a simple enough endeavour now seems impossible.

Your health is in no imminent danger, so there’s no external pressure.

How in the hell are you going to finish the run? Is it fine if you stop partway? After all, you’ve come a long way from sitting on your couch; it’s the effort that counts.

So what do you do? Do you stop or do you finish?

The answer to this question depends on your ability to self-motivate. Now, let me be clear:

1. You should not be attempting a 2Km run after months of inactivity,

2. Failing to self-motivate on one occasion does not mean inability to self-motivate on others.

But a pattern of letting things figure themselves out as opposed to fighting for your goals, is a recipe for disaster. It is imperative for you to discipline yourself up to a point where self-motivation is natural…a reflex.

As an entrepreneur, freelancer, or any other type of professional, your success is heavily dependent on the consistent effort you put into your work, regardless of whether or not you see results. This effort is driven by self-motivation.

So how exactly do you develop self-motivation if you are not born with the trait?

Well, to place internal pressures on yourself, you will need to set strict but achievable goals and outline the steps you need to take in order to meet them. Create a disciplined routine that involves you carrying out predetermined steps in a predetermined amount of time.

Eventually this routine will transform from a chore you must do to an activity that you enjoy doing.

Self-motivation and discipline are intertwined. A disciplined person has the ability to set internal pressure upon themselves and respond to it. This is self-motivation.

Once you’ve developed the habit of running 2Km every morning, motivating yourself to increase your circuit to 3Km should not be a problem. The same thing applies to entrepreneurship. If you have the discipline to engage with 5 new organizations every day, it won’t be a stretch to motivate yourself to pitch to 5 organizations daily. If you get into the habit of writing for 20 minutes each day, motivating yourself to churn out several pieces of well-written content on a weekly basis should be simple enough.

Discipline reinforces your self-motivation and allows you to pursue goals that seem out of reach for most people. If you’re serious about attaining XYZ out of life, self-motivation is key. Position yourself to develop this trait.


Written and published by Davina Ngei — Moderator on Strategic Social Networking. Many thanks for reading, and be sure to check out Strategic Social Networking Community on Google+ to connect with tens of thousands of IT professionals online. You’re also welcome to follow Strategic’s brand page on G+ for the latest industry news.

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