Project management header
products page

Self motivation part 3

Small is good

If you focus on the smaller items and complete them then many of the larger goals will be successful.
Another way of saying this is if you break down tasks into smaller steps it is easier to succeed in each which then build to a larger target.
If you remember, it is good to break down tasks into smaller steps which allow a greater opportunity for positive reinforcement (see Consequences – part 1).

Paying attention to the detail will also help with larger issues. It was Gary Player who said, “The more I practice the luckier I get”.


We mentioned the fear of the unknown earlier (see Self Motivation – part 2). Unless you make a conscious effort to step outside of your comfort zone you will never know what you can achieve.

One of the first things to do in this scenario is to admit that you do have boundaries.


Whenever extra effort is required to achieve at the very highest level of your abilities it is usual to find that you must sacrifice something in return. This may not always be the case if you are trying to perform above your current level but not at your peak.
For example, if you are just using your time unwisely you may be able to achieve a better level of expertise on the piano by using your time more efficiently (see The Complete Time Management package).

Higher performance may mean sacrificing time playing games, time away from your family or taking less sleep for example.

Personal standards

Everyone has their own set of standards for personal success.
Many highly motivated people will not rest once their personal goals have been reached what ever their standard.
For most people there may be a tendency to rest on their laurels.
For others it is about maintaining standards and trying to push the boundaries even further.

It’s not unusual in the sporting world for people to achieve at the highest level then deconstruct their technique looking for extra levels of performance.

Working at this level requires perseverance, determination and good mental strength.
Whenever you feel slightly negative about what you are trying to achieve try thinking about others that may not be in a position to attain what you may. There is always someone worse off than yourself.

Make sure that perseverance, a very good trait, doesn’t lead to being over stubborn a poor trait.

Goal setting

If you want to reach personal targets you will need to set yourself some goals.
Knowing what your personal goals are you will be able to work backwards setting milestones for their achievement by creating a plan. Goals without a plan are merely dreams.

If you are new to personal goal setting choose one that is relatively easy to attain.
This will give you confidence and improve your motivation for setting and achieving more complex goals.

Why should you wish to attain any goals once you have retired or reached an apparent peak?
It is very common for people to suffer ill health or stress once they have nothing to strive for.
This will clearly not apply to all but is a very good reason to carry on striving for another goal no matter what your age or state in life.

Emotional needs

We know that this area is extremely important for the individual as shown by the work of Abraham Maslow (see Abraham Maslow).
If basic need like safety and hunger are not satisfied then motivation will suffer.


There is a strong desire for recognition of our efforts and achievements. If we don’t get this we feel used and undervalued.
When this happens and we achieve we increase in confidence and our next performances improve as well.

Most people take considerable pride in their own performance and recognition helps support continued performance and reinforces their confidence.


No matter how independent we think we are there is a desire to belong. Whether this is acceptance within a group or within the family setting. Without the recognition above this becomes harder to achieve.

A social network provides us with the type of support that is very useful when things go wrong.

New horizons

Human beings are naturally inquisitive and without suitable challenges to push us further our responses and interest can quickly evaporate. Interest in any subject keeps us going and fuels our desire to rise to new standards.
No challenge means boredom and dissatisfaction.