Self-motivation: This is how you achieve all your goals

Selbstmotivation: So erreichst du all deine Ziele

The mountain of tasks is growing and you find it more and more difficult to motivate yourself to get all your tasks done? Defeating your weaker self is not always easy, but you can use a few methods to find your self-motivation.

In order not to do everything at the last minute and to continue having fun at work, self-motivation is the be-all and end-all. It takes practice to be able to motivate yourself permanently. In this article you will get all the important information about self-motivation. We answer the most important questions and give you the best tips to keep you motivated.

the essentials in brief

  • With the help of self-motivation, one manages to cope with uncomfortable tasks and achieve desired goals more easily and with more motivation.
  • There are some simple methods to practice finding self-motivation.
  • Everyone knows the secret of self-motivation for themselves. The set goals should have a meaningful meaning so that the achievement of the goals is worth striving for. This is the only way to make it easier for everyone to motivate themselves.

Background: What is self-motivation and how do you manage to find self-motivation?

In order to achieve the desired performance and to be able to reach the set goals, self-motivation is crucial. In the further course of the guide we will explain why self-motivation is so important. We will go into the most important questions about self-motivation and answer them for you.

What is self motivation?

Self-motivation refers to the ability to accomplish one or more tasks not through external compulsion but through one's own will in order to reach the desired goal.

There are two types of self-motivation:

intrinsic motivation extrinsic motivation
Motivation source: fun and passion Motivation source: Desire for reward
Achieving the goal out of personal interest Achieving the goal through external stimuli

Intrinsic motivation arises out of itself, whereby the set goal is achieved out of personal interest or out of passion. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is motivated by external stimuli, such as a reward (1).

What methods exist to motivate yourself?

With the help of simple methods you can learn to motivate yourself. These are listed in the following table:

method execution
In vivo positive method Think of your role model and let the positive energy work on you.
In vivo negative method Use your fear purposefully to reach your goal.
success situation Keep reminding yourself of situations in your life where you were really good.

In the following, the individual methods are described in more detail, so that you can decide for yourself which method could help you in particular to find your self-motivation.

  • In-vivo positive method: A very simple method to help you motivate yourself is the in-vivo positive method. Here you imagine that you are your role model. This role model can be someone you find very positive or maybe your manager whose work you really appreciate. Put yourself in this person's shoes and let the positive energy work its magic on you.
  • In Vivo Negative Method: Imagine very clearly what could happen if you don't reach your goals. Use your fear purposefully so that you can reach your goal. This method helps familiarize you with the consequences of looking at a very negative experience.
  • Success situation: Keep reminding yourself of situations in your life where you were really good. This will help remind you that if you have a goal in mind, you can do anything. In particular, this method is helpful as soon as you are faced with a difficult task.

Why is self-motivation so important?

Self-motivation is particularly important in order to keep moving forward in life. Motivating yourself is not only essential in everyday work. Above all, it helps to overcome existing hurdles in interpersonal areas. Because at the end of the day, people work to achieve the goal. With self-motivation, people manage to master tasks and activities a little better (2).

Self-motivation is the key to more energy and drive.

Life doesn't always go according to plan and sometimes unloved things have to be done. It is particularly important to find self-motivation so that you can carry out activities that seem exhausting at first glance. In order to achieve your goal and to tackle everyday tasks more easily and with more motivation, self-motivation is crucial.

What can you achieve through self-motivation?

In particular, self-motivation helps you to achieve your goals. The path is the goal and this path is not always easy. When you're going through a phase where your personal life isn't going quite the way you'd like, you need to be able to rely on your own motivation. (3) Self-motivation is essential in order to be able to master uncomfortable tasks more easily. Because a lack of self-motivation can lead to depression during difficult times (4).

Self-motivation helps you to go through life enthusiastically and in particular it gives you the courage to keep going despite difficult phases or setbacks in order to reach your goals.

How can you increase self-motivation?

It's a great step forward when you discover the right method for you to find self-motivation. In the further course, we will present you with a strategy to further increase your existing self-motivation.

increase self-motivation

With every further step forward, you increase your self-motivation and reach your goal faster. (Image source: Gerd Altmann / pixabay)

With the help of the following strategy, you will be able to increase your self-motivation.

  • First step to increase self-motivation: It is particularly important to have a clear head. As soon as you start a task, you shouldn't have thousands of things floating around in your head. In the first step, you increase your self-motivation by really only focusing on one activity. Thoughts like "I still have to..." or "Maybe I should..." create chaos in your head. Most of the time, these very thoughts are the reason why your motivation is not so high. Therefore, the first step to increasing self-motivation is very clear: focus on the task at hand and clear your head (5).
  • Second step to increase self-motivation: Your goals should be as realistic as possible and preferably not formulated too high. Break down your tasks into small steps so that your goal is divided into small successes. This is how you get to your sense of achievement faster (5).
  • Third step to increase self-motivation: Use your sense of achievement as a drive for your next success. As soon as you have completed a task, your brain releases the happiness hormone "dopamine". This happiness hormone has a great effect on your self-motivation. The more experiences of success you collect, the higher your self-motivation will be. Conversely, the more motivated you are, the more successful you experience. Enjoy the feeling of satisfaction as soon as you take another step. This helps you all the more to promote your self-motivation (5).

How do you achieve lasting self-motivation?

You need a lot of practice to stay motivated. It is particularly important never to see giving up as an option. In the following we have summarized a list of pros and cons for you. This informs you how to remain permanently motivated and which mistakes in reasoning lead to demotivation.

  • Focus on yourself
  • Always go one step further
  • Use every day as a new chance
  • Compare yourself to others
  • stand still
  • Getting stuck in the past

In the following, we will describe the points that will help you to motivate yourself permanently:

  • Focus on yourself: Comparing yourself to other people only makes you doubt yourself. The more you compare yourself to others, the more demotivated you become over time. It is therefore very important at this point that you only pay attention to yourself. Your biggest competition is yourself, everyone else is irrelevant to you (6).
  • Always go one step further: Just as important, giving up is not an option for you. As it is in life, not everything goes as you imagined. From time to time obstacles can arise that demotivate you. In order to be able to motivate yourself permanently, it is particularly important to keep going. If there are things that prevent you, try to ignore them and focus on the next step (6).
  • Use every day as a new chance: Let your past remain in the past. Your past is a big factor that prevents you from staying motivated. Try to see every day as a new opportunity and make the most of it (6).

What is the secret of self-motivation?

The secret of self-motivation is determined by you. You actually achieve the highest self-motivation when your goal has a special meaning for you. You must see the greatest sense in accomplishing this task in order to reach your goal.

The secret of self-motivation

Only you know the secret of self-motivation. Whatever goal you have, it must have meaning for you. (Image source: Jen Theodore / unsplash)

If your goal is worth striving for, you will find it easier to find your self-motivation. For this reason, it is essential that you know the meaning of your goal. Only then will it be a success (7).

What tips are there to motivate yourself?

Now the most important background information on the subject of self-motivation has been clarified. Nevertheless, you need some tips on how to conquer your weaker self. Below we will introduce you to the most effective tips.

Tip 1: Do it first

Start your task as early as possible. We particularly recommend this tip to you. Because human willpower is limited. The more tasks you plan to do that cost willpower, the less you can concentrate on your project. For this reason, there is nothing wrong with starting the activity as early as possible (8).

Tip 2: Visualize your success and NOT your goal

One particularly helpful tip is to visualize your success. Don't visualize your goal. Because many people tend to have already visualized their goal too much. According to some studies, imagining getting a new job or passing an exam leads to poorer results (9).

According to psychologists, the reason for this is that positive visualization makes most people lazier and therefore less prepared. The brain has already adjusted to the fact that the desired goal has been achieved (9).

For this reason, we recommend that you visualize your successes. Imagine your intermediate steps and try to develop strategies how you would act in difficult phases. With the help of this tip you can also prepare yourself much better internally.

Tip 3: Distribute rewards more often

In order to stay motivated, you could treat yourself to a reward in between. Because rewards give you new strength. It is important that you reward yourself after reaching the goal. You can make this tip a permanent ritual. This will give you the drive to reach your goal with more motivation.

reward yourself

Research results indicate that rewards in particular increase motivation and thereby improve work performance. According to the research, people who received rewards more frequently continued to enjoy and be motivated at work (10).


Small gifts like chocolate have a positive effect on self-motivation. (Image source: Luisella Planeta Leoni / pixabay)

In particular, small gifts like chocolate trigger a release of dopamine in our brain. This leads to you becoming happy and continuing to stay motivated (11).

Tip 4: Physical activity

Physical activity has a strong impact on your emotions, which affects your self-motivation. For this reason, it is important that you actively give your body exercise (12).

In the table below we have summarized several physical activities:

Physical activity execution
power pose Stand up straight with your legs apart and place both hands on your hips. Then you consciously look up with your eyes and your head and breathe with a calming breathing technique . Hold this pose for at least 2 minutes. This increases your testosterone level by 20 percent.
Short relaxation exercise Sit in a quiet place for 5 to 15 minutes and do any relaxation exercise you like. This leads to muscle relaxation and relieves stress.
Walk in the countryside Going for a walk in the fresh air in nature helps you to get rid of burdensome and stressful thoughts. It also increases your self-motivation when you surround yourself with the color green.


In summary, the drive for self-motivation always lies within yourself. It is particularly important to set a goal in mind. You have to find out for yourself what motivates or demotivates you in order to reach your goal. Motivating yourself is just a matter of practice.

Finally, it should be said: Try to find the golden mean! It is a good thing to have a great ambition in order to be able to achieve the desired goal as quickly as possible. However, you should be careful not to neglect yourself. You need a balance so that you can remain permanently motivated.


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  2. Eccles JS, Wigfield A. Motivational beliefs, values, and goals. Annu Rev Psychol 2002;53:109-32. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135153. PMID: 11752481. Source
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  5. Deci, Edward L.; Ryan, Richard M. The self-determination theory of motivation and its implications for pedagogy. Journal of Education 39 (1993) 2, pp. 223-238 Source
  6. Stritzelberger R. Permanent self-motivation - incl. online work aids: Do your best for what is really important (Haufe textbook). (2016). Source
  7. Chicken G, Backerra H (2003). Self-motivation FLOW - Instead of stress or boredom. ISBN-10: 3-446-41246-8 ISBN-13: 978-3-446-41246-0 Source
  8. Baumeister, RF; Bratslavsky, E.; Muraven, M. & Tice, DM (1998). Ego Depletion: Is the Active Self a Limited Resource? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74.5: 1252-265 Source
  9. Fredrico L. Narvacan, Niño & Evangeline, Atienza-Bulaquiña & D. Evangelista, Lucille. (2014). Effects of Visualization on Academic Performance of College Students. International Journal of Information and Education Technology. 4. 156-160. 10.7763/IJIET.2014.V4.389. Source
  10. Manpower GmbH: Population survey on work motivation 2018, Frankfurt am Main: facts office GmbH, 2018, p. 5 Source
  11. Hatier, Daniel et al.: How motivational profiles relate to psychological health and well-being?, Third World Congress on Positive Psychology, 2013, p.11 available at tp:// 2014/05/SY-22.5-Hatier.pdf Source
  12. Zimbarda, P.G. (1995). Psychology. Berlin: Springer. Source
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