Advice:10 ways to motivate yourself

By , published on 6th December 2010

Running your own business does not mean you are always going to feel motivated. At times, the tasks will seem too daunting and distractions will be too tempting. What’s more, no one else is going to motivate you if you’re the boss. Here’s how to motivate yourself:

  1. Set daily goals – if you plan what you want to get done each day, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed by your workload. Set realistic daily work goals;
  2. Treat yourself – just as you plan what you’re going to do each day, also plan how you’ll celebrate having completed those tasks. Small daily treats are good!
  3. Stay fit – everyone knows that if you’re physically fit you feel better and have more stamina. Schedule time for keeping fit – even if it’s just a brisk walk at lunchtime;
  4. Share with a friend – Do you have a buddy who is also in business? Give each other permission to nag and check that tasks are being finished on time;
  5. See the big picture – today might be tough, but view it as a step towards your ultimate goal. Thinking about the gain will reduce the pain;
  6. Be positive – make the effort to see the positive in everything. No matter what the world throws at you, there’s always a positive side. Find and hold on to it;
  7. Pace yourself – if enterprise was easy, we’d all be doing it! Success takes time to accept that growing your business will not be straightforward. Read about how many of today’s most successful people found life tough in their early entrepreneurial days;
  8. Limit surfing – it’s too easy to get distracted by the internet. Business networking sites can eat into your working day if you visit them too frequently. Avoid online chats with others who should also be working!
  9. Be tidy – clutter can itself be de-motivating. Keep your desk clear of all but the current challenges and tasks. If stuff doesn’t get looked at for a week, file it or bin it;
  10. Be honest with yourself – We’re not all going to make millions and attempting the impossible can be frankly rather depressing. Be honest about what is possible for you and don’t be unrealistically ambitious.


As well as being self motivated you also need to be determined. People will always tell you (often with the best of intentions) that you are being too ambitious. Only you can decide if your plans are achievable. It’s easy to give up, but much more satisfying to prove the sceptics wrong.

Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs succeeded because they were determined and single minded. The more people told them they’d fail, the more determined they became. For example:

  • Sir Richard Branson set up Virgin Atlantic to compete with British Airways and succeeded in reducing the cost of transatlantic flights;
  • Paula Radcliffe is a world class distance runner. Her determination to win by the rules and her abhorrence of the use of performance enhancing drugs drives her to excel;
  • Fashion designer Mary Quant is credited with having created the mini-skirt. Despite opposition from traditionalists she argued that the mini skirt was liberating. Media opposition boosted her determination to succeed.

Top tip

Determination doesn’t just help you succeed in business: it helps you succeed in everything you do.

Brian Crosby – West End Gallery

Brian is a talented artist with a temperament to match. His former wife pushed him into a teaching career which he found he really hated. He decided instead to open a gallery and picture framing business in Cheltenham and later Gloucester.

Competition was tough and his now ex wife less than complimentary. Despite many setbacks, including staffing problems and cash flow problems Brian is still trading. He’s never going to become world famous, but his determination means he is going to spend his life doing work he enjoys.

< See all advice

Robert Ashton

About Robert Ashton

Robert Ashton is an entrepreneur, campaigner and business author with three business books in the top 10 recommended for business on Amazon. He knows how enterprise can liberate, empower and strengthen people and communities. Robert is always focused on the end goal but treads lightly as he goes – that’s why he’s called the barefoot entrepreneur.

Post a new comment