5 Practical Ways of Becoming Motivated

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motivation2Motivation is a mental state that one has to practice; it is not something you either are or aren’t. By using the 5 practical ways of becoming motivated you will slowly, but gradually, increase your level of motivation so long as you are consistent in using these tools daily.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.



There are a ton of general things you ought to do in order to increase your level of motivation, things such as eating healthy, going to the gym, sleeping well, and focusing on your goals. However, in this post I want to show you five less known practical ways of becoming motivated that I use, or have used with positive results.

Do not underestimate the power of these five practical ways of becoming motivated, even if they might seem a bit unconventional or weird. You will not wake up magically motivated one day, you need to practice this stuff. Seriously.

I would estimate that it’s going to take you 1-5 hours to finish these exercises the first time. Then you will need to rehearse them daily, but it will not take more than a few minutes per day at that point, unless you want to rewrite some of this stuff.

Keep a Whiteboard

The first thing you’re going to do is to go and get yourself a plastic whiteboard to put it up on your wall. You will also need some pencils and an eraser. Together it shouldn’t cost more than $15-100 depending on size and quality. In either case it will be one of the best investments you ever make in terms of value for money. If you can’t find one in a local store close by you can always order one here, together with some pencils and an eraser here.

The reason why you absolutely need to purchase a whiteboard is because it is the easiest possible way to keep focused on goals and write up thing to remember or things you want to reflect on several times daily. Here are some ways of using a whiteboard:

  • Write down bullet points of a speech or a presentation and stand facing the whiteboard while rehearsing the speech to make it easier to memorize the speech. Soon you will have memorized it and won’t need to look at the bullet points.
  • Write down goals of different sorts (daily, monthly, yearly) and review them daily.
  • Write down inspiring quotes or phrases that you want to reflect on.
  • Draw cool things when you feel like being spontaneous or if you’re having a party.

Ultimately, the reason why the whiteboard is such an essential tool to use as a way of becoming motivated is because simply by reviewing your whiteboard a few times a day you will force extra repetitions and remember your goals much better. By remembering your goals you will inevitably be more motivated. Forgetfulness is the number one reason for failure in any category of your life, it doesn’t matter what aspect we are talking about. It is when we lose sight of what we were supposed to do that we slip, and then it is easy to become demotivated and feel bad because we fucked up.

Therefore, remember before you forget.

Make it a rule to review your whiteboard whenever you enter or exit your room.

Do it for Future you

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Here’s a picture of future me.

The second thing you’re going to do is to enter this website and create a picture of the future you.

After you have created one or more photos that are realistic enough and don’t look completely hilarious (a lot of photos turn out funny on that website), you will put go and print these photos. You will then tape them to your wall above the whiteboard where you keep your goals and other motivational stuff.

The reason you want to do this is because this helps you envision what you will look like 20 years from now; and any stupid action you take now will have to be paid for by future you. The actions you take today will impact future you.

If you are having trouble remaining motivated or responsible to yourself, perhaps you can do it for future you?

After all, future you has done nothing wrong to you, so don’t screw up his life by acting unintelligently – he has done nothing to deserve such treatment.

Don’t fuck it up for future you!

Write an Obituary

The third thing you’re going to do is to write your own obituary. The reason why this is a good exercise for increasing your motivation, as well as your clarity, is because it forces you to envision your future actions. Here are a few things you may want to consider when writing your obituary:

How do you want your life to turn out, what do you want to be remembered for?

What legacy will you leave behind?

Write a “Self-Commercial”

The fourth thing you’re going to do is to write a self-commercial. This is an expression I got from The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. One of the top five books of self-development in my opinion.

Writing a self-commercial is to write a concise, precise, and genuine affirmation about yourself and your core values. Here’s an example of what it might look like if your name is Brian Scott:

Brian Scott is a well-groomed, positive, and friendly person to be around. Brian Scott does not hurry, he takes care of things in order of importance and does not procrastinate. Brian Scott smiles at the first three people he encounters each morning because he knows that it is massively important to start the day correctly. Brian Scott does not expect people to do more for him than he is willing to do for them, he trades value for value…

It has to be highly personal and contain the things you care about most practicing – the things you need motivation to do. It should absolutely not take longer than 60 seconds to read or recite. Less is more here.

Use Powerful Physical Movements

The fifth and final practical way of becoming motivated is to use powerful physical movements. The reason most people (myself included) lose motivation is due to lack of motion. Experiment with the following physical movements to see which ones motivate and energize you the most:

  • Jump for 10-15 seconds.
  • Shake/vibrate your entire body.
  • Scream.
  • Tense your whole body and muscles – awesome for relaxing as well. Always do this intermittently when sitting by computer to stay alert
  • Dance.
  • Raise your arms above your head for at least 5 seconds in a cool way.
  • Punch/kick in the air. Use decisive movements!
  • Clap your hands loudly every once in a while.
  • Sprint for 10 seconds.
  • Breathe deeply into the abdomen and feel your genitals.

These are all good ways or staying refreshed throughout the day without mentally falling asleep.Mix and match, combine and find what works best for you.

Summary: The 5 Practical Ways of Becoming Motivated

There you have it, the five practical ways of becoming motivated: get a whiteboard and review it daily, print out a picture of future you and think of how your actions will impact him/her, write an obituary, write a self-commercial, and use powerful physical movements throughout the day to keep yourself energized.

Did you learn anything new that was able to boost your level of motivation?

If you have any practical ways of becoming motivated, please share them!

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  1. Rickard N says:

    Hey, awesome post!!!
    I do agree with you that most things we learn/think about motivation are bullshit (given that we don’t live in a healthy way as you say up top).

    I’m definitely getting a whiteboard. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Inspiring post! Especially, the tip about getting a whiteboard to avoid the “out of sight, out of mind” trap.

    • Thanks Kenneth!

      Yes it really makes a big difference in terms of focus. But it doesn’t completely eliminate/substitute mental laziness. There are days when I feel drained and I find myself unconsciously trying to avoid looking at the whiteboard because I know I’ll be reminded of the things I ought to be doing – and my brain is lazy and doesn’t want to exert that extra energy.

      Those are the times when one must force oneself back into disciplined action.

  3. “Forgetfulness is the number one reason for failure in any category of your life”. I can’t blame myself enough for the times I’ve overseen tasks because I supposedly “forgot” about them, or forgot the ephemeral, yet well-founded motivation that initially made me pursue them.. Furthermore, “Write an Obituary”? Is that a hint at Nobel and the event to which we owe his namesake prize?
    And finally, I’m not completely with the “Powerful Physical Movements” part, as I think it might over-motivate you for a short amount of time, thus leaving you a bit drained afterwards, i.e. incapable of long-term progress. And as a musician, I can say that powerful physical movements don’t work. I’ve often found myself powerful and (unconsciously) reckless at first, then weak and regretful later on. Of course I encourage being dynamic and all, but it should be well dosed with forethought, as to GRADUALLY gain motivation. This, I think, guarantees continuity, in addition to the constant reminders provided by the whiteboard!

    • Hey George,

      Those are some interesting remarks!

      Totally agree with you. I’m actually wondering whether there is some neurological explanation for the phenomenon of forgetfulness… One of the key points in behavioral psychology/economics is that emotions are primary, logic is secondary; this means that we are likely to act in the expedience of the moment in a “primitive” manner, and then post-rationalize our behavior and that’s where logic comes in.
      I wonder if we perhaps forget on purpose because our brains are lazy and want to do something else…

      It is mainly to be used a writing tool in order to increase clarity for how one would like to remembered. :)

      Interesting to hear that you have tried it and found it to work poorly. For me it is a very important part of remaining energized throughout the day. If I don’t jump around or tense my body every once in a while I become docile… You might be right about it being a quick fix.

      For example; I always tense my stomach, chest, and arm muscles while I sit by the computer to remain focused. I’m going to write a lot more about this stuff in a series about getting ripped in a few weeks.

  4. Ludvig,

    Awesome ways to motivate. I like the “future you” the best. I am always setting and tweaking goals for the future me. He is one awesome dude, and I want to become more like him.

    As for some other methods (spitballing here)

    Motivational videos in your field (such as TED)
    Emulate your heroes
    Doing toughest task first (I do this every day. It motivated me to keep going once I am done)
    Listen to Music (quite a few songs hit my motivation button)
    Set Mini-Goals (Reaching small goals and moving on to next keeps you motivated because you keep getting progress)

    Well, that is enough

    Guess you could say I was motivated to come up with a few more ideas. ;)


    • Hey Scott,

      The future you is quite intricate. It takes a while to get into the mindset, but it is very effective once it sticks.

      I agree with you on all suggestions. I used to go very far out of my way to maintain my list of ONLY motivating song when i conditioned myself into associating positive emotions with exercising & going to the gym 2 years ago. As soon as a song stopped getting me pumped up I would write it down or memorize it and replace it as soon as I got home, that’s how important it was to me. Heh.

      Thanks for the comment!

  5. Hi
    I feel motivated even after reading your post.

  6. Hi Ludvig,

    Great idea about having a white board (I’d rename it to a motivational board). Having our goals, daily tasks, and dreams in front of us allows us to see and be inspired to take action on them. It can allow us to stay focused on the things that will move us closer to success.

    Great post and thoughts!!!

    • Totally agree Dan!

      It’s funny how such a small thing can make such a major impact over time.

      I’ve spread this to a bunch of friends who now do the same thing. One of my professors also started doing it.

      Thanks for your comment1

  7. Loved the idea of writing an obituary. As morbid as it sounds just the thought of viewing things from that perspective is hugely motivating. It focuses everything.

  8. Decided to take a look at this after your latest post on motivation, heh.

    I love punching my fist in the air! And about the white board thing, I can really see the magic of it. Except that I have a pretty small room so I write all that stuff down in a book where I review every day instead. I do something similar to the “self-commercial” in this same book.

  9. Informative article, totally what I wanted
    to find.


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