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6 Powerful Strategies to Boost Your Self-Motivation

Motivation is a crucial factor in improving our productivity, achieving our goals, and reaching our full potential. However, sometimes we find ourselves lacking the drive and enthusiasm needed to stay focused and productive.

The language we use for our inner self-talk significantly impacts our motivation levels. The way we speak internally can either empower or hinder us. By consciously choosing positive and empowering language, we have the ability to reshape our perception of resources and obstacles, increasing our motivation.

Reframing our internal language to strengthen motivation is especially important when we experience stress and when we perceive a loss of autonomy.

Stress Kills Motivation

When we perceive that our obligations exceed our resources, we experience stress. Our brains don’t care if this is true only that we perceive it being so. Stress demotivates us because it causes the brain to burn excessive amounts of energy. This demotivation results in lower productivity that puts us further behind resulting in more stress. The cycle then repeats.

Consider three options to break the Stress Cycle:

1. Tell yourself you have all the resources you need. Shift the negative perception of inadequate resources to the positive perspective of sufficient resources. Replace, “I don’t have enough time” with “I have all the time I need.” The complement to this approach is reflecting on your perceived obligations and letting go those that aren’t your responsibility.

2. Feel your body’s response to stress. Bring the stress to awareness and tell yourself you don’t have time for it. Acknowledge your feelings without letting stress get in the way. “Stress, I see what you’re trying to do, but I need to stay calm and conserve energy. I don’t have time to get stressed right now.”

3. Move. Stress is a physical response to a psychological threat. Movement stops the stress response by signaling your brain that you are taking action. Go for a brief walk. Do a few knee bends at your desk.

Choice Invigorates Motivation

When we lose a sense of agency, a sense of autonomy we lose motivation. We give up when we believe we have no choice to act on our own behalf.

Consider these three options to transform negative inner self talk with the positive language of choice.

4. Replace “Should” with “I want to”

The word “should” is the language of obligation and burden. It kills motivation. Replace statements like, “I should have done a better job” and “I should be more patient” with “I want to do a better job” and “I want to be more patient.”

5. Replace “Need to” with “Like to”

“Need to” excuses ourselves from taking responsibility for something. Replacing “Need to” with “Like to” infuses us with choice and puts us in control. “I need to stay at the office longer” becomes “I’d like to stay at the office longer.” Hear how that sounds and decide what you really want to do. The choice is yours.

6. Replace “Have to” with “Choose to”

“Have to” language wrecks our motivation. “Choose to” is the language of choice and empowers us. “I have to go grocery shopping” becomes “I choose to go grocery shopping.” “I have to do my laundry” becomes “I choose to do my laundry.” Feel the difference?


Change is hard – but not impossible! We can re-wire our brain to enhance our motivation. When feeling stressed remind yourself you have all the resources you need. Replace “Should”, “Need”, and “Have” with “Want”, “Like” and “Choose.” Focus on one word for the next 60 days. Every time you begin saying “Should” replace it with “Want.” After 60 days, focus on replacing "Have" with "Like."

You have the power to shape your reality through the words you choose. Embrace this power and watch as your motivation levels increase while your sense of calm and well-being flourishes.

I'm happy to walk this path with you if additional support is helpful. Schedule a coaching session with me and let’s get started.

Keep thriving!


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1 Comment

Tommy Smith
Tommy Smith
Oct 16, 2023

Great post! I've really been struggling with motivation lately and this post helped me realize that it is likely due to being bogged down by stress! I've found my new daily mantra! "I want to! I like to! I choose to!"

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