​So many talented people have a problem with motivation.  To me, motivation is all about mindset and seeing the big picture.  I’ve never needed motivation in life, as I’ve always set lofty goals for myself and surrounded myself around people who motivate me just by their own actions.  Today I’ll talk about some ways you can motivate yourself if you find yourself in a funk, lacking energy, or just feeling down and out.

How to Get Motivated to Work

As I wrote Amplifying Average, I went deep into my well of not only successes, but also failures, in an attempt to show people that I come from average means and worked myself into the situations I’ve been able to find myself in.  In a way, you create your own luck by taking actions like being social, memorable, and networking.  When your name is floating around the water cooler of other companies, that’s usually a good thing.  You want your name to be fresh in the minds of colleagues who could possibly refer your business, tap your expertise, or throw some projects your way.

I wrote this piece prior to looking into what the Google results showed for “how to motivate yourself” because I didn’t want to take anyone else’s ideas on how to self motivate.  What works for me, may not work for you.  However, at the core of every theory and suggestion out there lies the principle reason we work in the first place:  Our “WHY.”

1:  Know Your WHY

Why do you work?  Why do you have goals?  What is it that you seek in life?  If you don’t know this, you have a massive problem.

I’ll use myself as an example.  My “WHY” is my son.  If I work hard and create a life that allows me the flexibility to work my own hours and create my own agenda, I will never be forced to miss a school activity, soccer game, or important event in his life.  I’ll have the ability to travel and show him the world, teach him things you can’t teach in classrooms, and experience things that he only thought were only as fake as the people promoting them on Instagram.

I’d like to have the ability to send my son to any college he desires, and not only that, I’d like to have the ability to be able to visit him frequently, even going as far as having living arrangements somewhere near by, should it be a far away destination.  To me, everything else falls secondary, but I know if I create the means to have a life that allows me to do that, the rest will be worked out just fine.  Happiness is your true ROI, so find out what makes you happy, and that right there, is your WHY. To me, seeing this guy happy and surrounded by good people is paramount.


2.  Have Your Goals Directly in Front of You

You need to have constant reminders of why you are putting in the work that you do.  For me, it’s writing down the goal and having it on a post it note in a place that I’ll see on a daily basis.  Sometimes goals are financial, sometimes they are based a desired achievement, and other times they are based on simply accomplishing the simple things on a regular basis without slipping up.  For me, the latter is consistently eating healthy without going too overboard on cheat meals!

Post Your Goals

3.  Surround Yourself With Imagery

In 2012, I was sick and tired of renting and really wanted to buy a home. I went online and found a home I wanted, and printed out the main image of it and pinned it up on my computer screen so it dangled downwards and was in my line of sight every time I signed on.  I also changed all of my passwords to incorporate my desire to buy a new home.  Not ironically, in 2013 I got out of the constant grind of moving whenever an owner decided he wanted to do something else with his property and I bought my current residence and started making it my own personal mecca.  Put up photos of what you want to get out of all of your hard work, and that motivation will be in your orbit, making you that much hungrier to achieve success.

Dream Home

4:  Document Your Progress

If you take time to appreciate where you are at, and how far you have come, you’ll be more prone to continuing to stay motivated.  I found this very crucial in my own journey to lose weight.  At one point in my life I was a very unhealthy 217 pounds!  I’m sure that I weighed more than that, but I was so out of shape I never cared to look at the scale.  Fast forward to years later when I decided to get after it again and take care of myself.  The first few weeks, even months, seemed to drag on with very little gains.  However, looking back, those little gains ended up being big stepping stones in my progress to achieve my desired result.  Every month I’d look at myself, as well as my recorded weight, and see that the process was working.  Trust your process, but spend time tracking your progress along the way. This is another reason I spend my Fridays reflecting on statistics and analyzing numbers, which is an entirely new post that I’ll do on time management in the very near future.

Charting Progress

5.  Get an Accountability Partner

I hate to always refer back to weight loss, but I have some close friends of mine that used this tactic in an effort to stay fit and stay away from drinking wine during the week and it worked so well that I started using it myself.  Going a step further, a few of my Inner Circle friends, who I call “My Tribe,” have an ongoing bet to see who can hit weight loss goals throughout the long Minnesota winter.  They even have checkpoints with certain fat loss milestones that need to be made, and if someone doesn’t make their goal, they have a financial penalty to pay.  Good old fashioned gambling for the win!

The results you’ll unlock when you have someone constantly lighting a fire under your ass will far surpass the results of people who don’t have someone holding them accountable.  Try setting a goal, or staying motivated to accomplish something, and bring someone up to speed on this and have them hold you accountable.


6.  Create Checkpoints

It’s very easy to say “I want to make ten million dollars this year.”  That’s a big goal, even for the best of serial entrepreneurs out there who have done it many times over.  For the people starting from scratch, I urge you to shoot for the stars and aim high, because if you don’t execute a ten million dollar plan but come close, you still had a great result.  If you set a one million dollar plan, on the other hand, and you breezed by that goal, you simply didn’t aim high enough.

More importantly than aiming high, you need to create checkpoints.  Going from zero to anything will be a daunting task, but along the way, set up milestones you’d like to achieve, goals you’d like to get to, and points that just make sense along your journey to say “I needed to do A, before I had any chance to get to C.”

Example:  If your goal is to lose 25 pounds, let’s first try to lose 5 pounds, and then ten pounds.  Chunking off your goal into small segments will create checkpoints you can reflect on and look back to see how you got there.


7.  Reward Yourself

So you’ve been kicking ass, and taking names?  Along the way, you need to recognize your victories and give yourself a small reward as you make your way to your goal.  I normally put things out there in front of myself when I’m looking at a rare free weekend I can spend traveling. I’ll write down “if this, this, and this get accomplished, book a flight to wherever you want.  Hang out with friends.  Visit old haunts.  See something new, or just relax.”  Some sort of micro-reward that allows me to get motivated to tackle some smaller tasks that add up to clawing my way towards tackling my overall goal help me keep my eyes on the prize, because there is very little I like to do in life other than travel and be with people I care about.

On the contrary, the FOMO (fear of missing out) sets in when I don’t accomplish the weekly goal or get done what I needed to get done.  There is nothing worse than sitting out an event that is sure to be an epic time.  This motivates me to do better than next time I set a goal for myself with a prize at the end.

tim schmidt author

This is me in “the Cocktail Zone” in Nicaragua.

Getting motivated doesn’t have to be rocket science.  Lay out what you want in life, keep it around you, and reward yourself as you make steps towards achieving your goals.  With proper motivation and focus, you can accomplish anything in life.

Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, or add suggestions. I’m an open book!