Motivation Guide:


Success is certainly not based upon our genetics and it is not based on our education. It seems that the most successful people in our society either worked it out for themselves or were lucky enough to have been taught, often by an inspired parent. If you are not in either of these two camps then this guide is for you.


This program will help you to analyze your personality and identify areas that you can change. It will also help you to develop new and empowering habits and behaviors that appear to be common to the highly motivated in our society. There are also some psychological exercises designed to focus our mind on important objectives.


Motivational Steps

  • Step 1 Goals
  • Step 2 SMART & Well Formed Goals
  • Step 3 Make A Detailed Plan
  • Step 4 The Power Of Imagination
  • Step 5 Your Time Line
  • Step 6 Meta Programs
  • Step 7 Modeling
  • Step 8 The Internal Coach
  • Step 9 New Conditioned Responses
  • Step 10 Your Internal State
  • Step 11 Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs
  • Step 12 Re-order Your Values
  • Step 13 Future Projection
  • Step 14 Positive Attitude To Failure



You have to be motivated towards something. You need a target to aim for otherwise you risk developing a lack of direction on your life. If you don't have defined targets, then you will need to go and do the goal setting workshop and draw up a plan of action for your own personal development and achievement. Motivation is not something you can have without wanting something specific. That would be like being in love but not with anyone in particular.



Once you have established your goals it is worth checking them against the principle of SMART and Well Formed Goals. It is important that your goals are defined in terms that your subconscious is going to understand. The psychology behind motivation is complex and there is not space here to go into lengthy explanations. If you need to know more then there is a very useful link at the end of this guide.


Make a Detailed Plan

A goal without a plan is a daydream.


Many of you will be good planners and have the necessary skills to do this. If you do not the process can be summarized as follows:

You will need to break your main goal into several sub goals that you will arrange over time. Each of these sub goals will then need to be broken down further into smaller tasks. You aim to make these tasks last in the order of a few days. You can then plan your daily schedules around these tasks and finalize the total time and effort involved and any new skills or training that are required. You should also create a list of people that you will need to help you accomplish these tasks.


Goal Planning in more detail.


The Power of Imagination - The Ideal Self

There are 3 laws in psychology that are particularly useful in developing motivational ideas and images in your mind: The Power of Imagination

Your Time Line

The time line is a way that your mind has to represent time. You will need to establish exactly how you do this before continuing. Go to the Time Line page. Do this now, it will take less than a minute to do.

Motivational Meta Programs

Meta programs are the internal thought processes that control your behavior. The following steps will take you through a half-hour program to discover what these are. Once you know these you will be able to adapt your motivation strategy.

Compare your profile to your the tasks you have to do to achieve your goal. You should get a fairly good idea where your strengths and weaknesses lie. The important thing is that these meta programs show how you instinctively behave and you can easily override them, especially if you build a strong habitual behavior.


Modelling successful behavior patterns of anyone who has been successful in your area of interest is the fastest way to get started. Don't reinvent the wheel. You will probably encounter the same problems that they have already overcome.

The Internal Motivation Coach

We all have a voice inside our head that we hear when we think. There is a branch of psychology known as 'Cognitive Behavior Modification' that calls this self-talk and suggests that if we learn to control this inner voice we can control our behavior. You can change your self talk to increase your motivation.

  • Step 1 Develop and write down a series of instructions for yourself that are designed to motivate you to complete your immediate goals or tasks.
  • Step 2 Refine and rehearse these instructions.
  • Step 3 Every time that you are scheduled to work on these goals, use your internal voice to run through this script. You are essentially being your own internal coach.
  • Step 4 You can change your own internal voice to sound like somebody that you find very motivating, either real or fictional. For example, a sergeant major in the marines, James Bond, or Winston Churchill. Optionally you can coach yourself out loud, but this falls more into the realm of affirmation.

Build New Conditioned Responses

You can create new habits, rituals or associations to produce a new desired behavior. Easy habits don't take long to install, perhaps only a few weeks or a dozen or so repetitions.

More complex behaviour however is more difficult. The idea here is to pair up the easily done behavior to the more difficult one so that the easy behavior triggers it.

  • Step 1 Identify the desired behavior that requires motivation and find or design another simpler 'controlling' behavior that can occur just prior to it.
  • Step 2 Link the simpler, easily installable behavior to the more complex desired behavior by always executing them at the same time so that they become associated with one another. This may require many repetitions.
  • Step 3 When you need the motivation, you execute the simpler 'controlling' behavior and this will trigger the desired more complex behaviour.

For example, I associate a particular piece of music and a cup of tea to setting up my desk to write in the mornings. Once I'm sat at my desk with my pen I use different music to write creatively. I artificially used these sound cues to trigger my writing process.

Changing Your Internal State

There are four basic techniques that you can use to change your internal state by controlling your physiology and your thoughts.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - All motivation is affected by fundamental subconscious human needs. Deficiencies in these basic needs will affect your overall motivation.

Re-order Your Values

There is a powerful Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique that enables you change the relative importance of your life values. See Values Elicitation page.

Future Projection

  • Create a sense of urgency - If you had one month to live, to change the life of someone you love.
  • All your past failed attempts and procrastination will work against you. These have to be eliminated. Remember: "A fool that thinks he is wise is a fool indeed. A fool that knows he is a fool is that much wiser." Identify your past attempts, understand them and let them go.
  • Stop feeling comfortable where you are now. Remember the law of dominant effect. Stir yourself up so that you have to do something. Concentrate on the pain of not doing anything. Imagine the life you will not get to lead if you do not act now.

Positive Attitude to Failure

The things you can't or don't do will give you direction. The French philosopher, John Paul Sartre, met a Jesuit priest while imprisoned during World War II. The priest's father had died when he was a child and left him in poverty and dependant on charity. Later a love affair ended very badly. Finally he'd failed the exam to enter military service. Instead of being despondent, he put these events together and concluded that it was a message from God telling him to follow a religious life.


This is an excellent example of reframing events in a positive way. Very like the Chinese General, whom when asked why he was retreating, said that he wasn't retreating, merely advancing in the other direction.

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There is an excellent free e-book called 'Psychological Self-Help' by Clayton E. Tucker-Ladd, Ph.D. that is available from his web site. It is very up-to-date and contains a synthesis of current psychological thinking including some excellent chapters dedicated to motivation and the theories behind it.

Psychological Self-Help >>> It runs to over a thousand pages and cites many useful research references. Thoroughly recommended for further reading on this subject.