Motivation Starts With You

Jun 10, 2016 1 Min Read


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Have you been in a situation that when you sit in front of your laptop to work on something, you end up checking your Facebook posts or googling the latest gossip on your favourite star? Or watch your laundry hamper turn into a mountain from the initial molehill, simply because you were procrastinating getting those clothes washed?

I am sure we have all been in such situations at least once. We are, after all, only human.

To get you moving, what you need is a special nudge called motivation.

Why is motivation important?

Motivation at work

Motivation is very important in one’s life, especially at the workplace. Why do you think so? It’s because you spend most of your time at work and work environments are goal-oriented.

Deep down, we all acknowledge the fact that we would not attempt to do anything at all, if not for a push that keeps us moving forward.

Get your emotions right

In their book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, brothers Chip and Dan Heath stated that emotions are an essential part of executing any plan: Focus on emotions. Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people (or yourself) feel something.

How do you make use of your emotions to motivate yourself?

1. Get positive

Did you know that we procrastinate the most when we are in a bad mood?

Research has shown that happiness increases productivity and makes one more successful. What do you think military heads teach their new recruits in order to toughen them mentally? Certainly not for combat, but optimism.

How do you instil the feeling of optimism within you? A research by Teresa Amabile from Harvard found that nothing is more motivating than progress. Hence, one way optimism can be embraced is through the positive events and the progress that you have achieved in all your meaningful work.

2. Rewards

Being rewarded feels really good and everyone loves it. It also works well for motivating you.

It does not have to be rewards from external parties. You can reward yourself too. So, treat yourself to something whenever you successfully complete a task in your to-do-list.

3. Peer pressure

Peer pressure helps more than it hurts, hence being around people whom you want to be like will make what you should be doing far less taxing than you expected.

One of the analyses of The Longevity Project, a study conducted over many decades involving more than 1,000 people about who lived the longest, was this:

The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path of change.

In a way, this element could act as a good motivator for you.


At its essence, your act of not being able to stay fully committed is where demotivation stems from. There are various reasons as to why this happens:

Motivation at work1. Feeling undervalued

You have put your best foot forward and have done a good job, but when you feel that your efforts and dedication are not acknowledged or appreciated, then you may soon slow down on the energy bit and your commitment towards your role will deteriorate.

Now when this happens, you need to step up. There could be a communication breakdown between your superior and yourself. Address this by speaking with your supervisor and raising your concern about feeling unappreciated. If the situation persists and you feel that you are genuinely undervalued, then perhaps the time has come for you to move on.

2. Lack of autonomy

All individuals want to be given a certain level of autonomy when it comes to getting things done. Let’s admit it, we thrive on it.

All human beings have a decision-making centre that needs to be put to use. Studies have shown that this decision-making centre in the brain is underdeveloped in people who have depression and that if you practise using this part of the brain with making decisions, depression often clears.

In his book Drive, author Daniel Pink writes about a research that says having the autonomy to decide on what we do, with whom, when we do it and how we do it, while attempting creative work is core to igniting and sustaining motivation, creativity, and productivity.

Align the amount of autonomy you have with regards to the goals you have been trying to pursue. Are there times when you feel restricted? Try to think of ways for you to slowly introduce more autonomy in your work. If you have a superior to report to, then discuss with him/her and try to request for more autonomy in specific areas of your work.

3. Surroundings

If you are surrounded by passive, pessimistic people who always run you down on your ideas and ambitions, then you are definitely bound to get demotivated. You may have a great opportunity ahead, but the messages from these people may just make you lose confidence and trust within yourself.

You may let go of valuable opportunities in life, due to the lack of motivation created by this unhealthy surrounding.

So, surround yourself with optimistic and positive people who are always there to motivate you. Being around such people is an instant boost that will empower you to take on any challenges or roles given to you. Ensure that your surroundings consist of realistic people as well who can be tactful in explaining things to you if your goals starts to get too fluffy or just impossible with your current circumstances.

Parting thoughts

You are the best motivator for yourself, hence, step up and start today. Do not procrastinate any longer. Self-motivation is the essence to ensure sustainable success.

Try this!

Here are some simple methods for you on how you can stay motivated at work:

Take a 10-minute break for every 50 minutes of work. Use this 10 minutes wisely. During this break, you can try doing the following:

    • Read something interesting – Anything from a blog post or short article. It helps.
    • Visit the pantry – Make a cup of coffee, crack a joke with a colleague or simply wash your cup.
    • Clear your table – Arrange your disorganised table and you may be surprised to find your mind instantly
    • If you have any other ways which you deem relevant to occupy your 10 minutes, go ahead and do them. Try all of them and list down the ones that motivate and re-energise you at the end of the break. Do these effective things and stay motivated at work!

Here is something for you to try at home:

  • Simply spend two minutes before going to bed to list down all your achievements for the day. It could be anything from a major accomplishment at work to a minor, personal one, like getting your watch fixed after putting it off for two months. Write them all down and you will be surprised at how many you can come up with.

Food for thought

Without realising it, you will be spending each day accomplishing something, and by just being aware of that, you will be prepared to tackle larger things the next day. Isn’t that motivation already?

As the saying, “Charity begins at home” goes, Prema believes that a positive change can take place only when we step up and take that first step by ourselves. She loves the fact that the Leaderonomics Digital Learning platform provides an avenue for people from all walks of life to gather valuable insights that will enable them to grow in their professional and personal domains. For more Career Advice articles, click here

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This article is published by the editors of with the consent of the guest author. 

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