Written by Karl Perera, MA, DipLC
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I understand just how soul-destroying life can be with low self esteem and motivation so poor that everything seems too difficult. I experienced the pain of both for many years. In the end, even though getting help is always recommended, your personal motivation can only come from one place, deep within you. I will try here to help you with what I have learned from experience and what we know from research so that you can understand why self motivation is so important and how to improve yours.
Self-motivation is the positive drive you need to set and complete goals. Positive self motivation helps you begin new projects and face challenges in life confidently. Without personal motivation, you may procrastinate or, worse, give up on what you need to do.
Definition of self motivation:
initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without another’s prodding or supervision.Dictionary.com (2020)
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Why Is Self Motivation Important?
As you can see from the definition above, self-motivation is a skill that will help you stay on track without the need for other people to push you or remind you of something you need to do. You need to be confident and positive in your inner self to have self-motivation and self-esteem that can help you. Self Esteem will enable you to look at your potential and commit yourself to move forward. This is why if you want to improve your personal motivation you also need to work on your level of self esteem. Let’s take a look more closely at how these two are connected.
According to Ryan and Deci (2000), self motivation has its source in three areas. These are your ability to do something, your level of independence and how relevant the task or goal is to you. I maintain that we also need confidence and a healthy level of self esteem to believe in our ability and to foster independence. They will also help you with your commitment to your goals so that you don’t give up.
Positive Self Motivation Is Related To Your Self Esteem
In order for you to be motivated to take on challenges, especially if they seem difficult or involve doing something new, you need confidence in who you are and what you can do. If you believe in yourself, and your ability to take on new responsibilities or face new challenges, then you are more likely to take steps to achieve your goals. This seems a good point to ask: what goals do you have?
Once you set your goals this is where you need self esteem and motivation to keep going, especially when you face a problem. It is easy to stay motivated when you are experiencing success, but what about when things go wrong or you suffer a setback? Your self esteem can help you face setbacks in a positive way and overcome them. In the book, “The physical self: From motivation to well-being”, edited by Edward Fox, it is explained how self esteem and confidence determine how much disappointment a person will tolerate and how long they will persist with a goal before giving up. Low self esteem makes giving up appear to be a good option, but it often isn’t.
Before you can become motivated you need to have a solid and positive self-concept. This is not only how you see yourself but understanding who you are and what you are aiming for in life. So make you check out this before you get started on motivating yourself.
Self Motivation and Your Inner Self Talk
What you say to yourself is extremely important. If you are to become self-motivated, you need to encourage yourself every step of the way with positive self-talk. A major reason why many people give up when things get difficult, or never start in the first place, is because of negative self-talk. This self-talk is the voice you hear in your mind telling you things like “you can’t do this, this is not for you, you’re not strong enough, you’re not smart enough, it’s impossible, others will laugh at this idea”, and so on.
To be a success in life, whatever that means to you, you need positive self motivation and self esteem. If you have these, you have everything you need to improve and grow.
Self Motivation Can Transform Your Life
You cannot always rely on others to encourage you, if you have positive friends who are always there when you need them then you are indeed lucky and very much in the minority. In any case, your self-esteem depends on your ability to be independent and having the self-confidence to be able to cope with whatever life throws at you.
This interesting article by Baumeister and Tice contains research that found people with high self esteem created goals to improve themselves and develop strengths, whereas those with low self esteem create goals that seek to deal with personal weaknesses. This means that developing self esteem will help you to look at life in a more positive way, and help you pursue the goals that help you grow confidence and learn new skills.
Learn to Believe in Yourself and Stop Relying on Others
As self motivation and self esteem go together, you need to believe that you can rely on yourself when you need to. Truly, our success in life is made easier with the help of others, but ultimately it is you who will make the decisions and commit to not giving up on your dreams and goals.
If you have few friends, this becomes even more important as it will be you against the world. When you face difficulties in life, you must rely on your own personal motivation to get you through. At these times it is so easy to give up.
You need self motivation to achieve because if you don’t encourage yourself to accept opportunity and challenge who will?
Self Motivation Helps You To Find Direction and Purppose In Life
To find direction in life you need to decide where you want to be in the next months or years. The first step is setting goals and the second is achieving them. The third step is deciding what to do after that. Each step requires self motivation and confidence.
My advice is to get started making smaller goals with your bigger goal in the back of your mind. Concentrate on reaching and enjoying each milestone and achievement along the way. Reward yourself for staying on track and for not giving up! It is so important to be motivated, to enjoy the journey of life, including the ups and downs.
Take Up A New Hobby That Motivates You
To take up a new activity, hobby or challenge is to allow time for you. To do something that makes you happy and challenges you. This kind of activity stimulates your learning and creative side and can reduce stress. It will take your mind away from problems. Spending time on a hobby you love is an example of self-care. Life shouldn’t be about responsibilities and work all the time, leave some time for your own enjoyment and fulfilment.
I’ve recently put this into practice by taking up the hobby of astronomy and astrophotography. I now spend evenings under the stars viewing the night sky through my telescope and attempting to photograph the beauty of the heavens.
To be enthusiastic about life it is necessary to continue to learn and develop yourself and your talents for you. Feed your brain and satisfy your curiosity, and learn. You’ll be happier and more fulfilled.
Develop The Courage To Keep Going Despite Challenges and Setbacks
To have the courage to see things through despite setbacks or negative comments from others, you really need to be tough inside and very determined. This is where your self esteem and confidence can really help you to survive the setbacks.
It takes courage to set goals and be determined to achieve them because often others will criticize you, or laugh at your ideas. Don’t listen! Keep your dreams clearly in your mind and don’t allow what others say to affect your motivation and confidence. Be determined to prove them wrong!
Your attitude towards mistakes and refusing to see them as failures can really boost your self esteem and motivation. Overcoming setbacks despite what others tell you, or despite your own self criticism, can really build your self confidence.
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- Baumeister, R. F., & Tice, D. M. (1985). Self‐esteem and responses to success and failure: Subsequent performance and intrinsic motivation. Journal of personality, 53(3), 450-467.
- Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist, 55(1), 68.
- Fox, K. R. (1997). The physical self: From motivation to well-being. Human Kinetics.
Website Author and Your Guide
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA), and author of the book Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 since suffering from low self esteem for more than 25 years overcoming it in his thirties.