How to Increase Motivation

February 22nd 2021

We all struggle with motivation sometimes. Here is the tool I find that is very effective in increasing motivation.


I think I am on fairly safe grounds when I say that everyone has felt a lack of motivation at some time.  Any parent of teenagers will be familiar with the lethargy that seems to accompany adolescence – unless it involves gaming for boys!

And it wasn’t until recently that I noticed that when you break the word down it has two separate words – motivation becomes motive (to take) action.

So here is a technique that I was taught by my coach that I found really works

(You can find a video on this topic here, or read on….)

It is called 20 reasons – and as it says on the tin, it is about finding 20 reasons to do what you are struggling to take action on.

The basic premise is that if you cannot find 20 reasons, then the chances are you are not going to do it.  Let’s take a simple example – giving up smoking.  If 20 reasons to kick the habit cannot be found, then I would argue that person does not really want to kick the habit – which is an acceptable outcome of this technique.  However….

….often what happens is that going through the thought process really clarifies that they do want to give up and a new energy to take action is born.

Also, things tend to ‘crop up along the way’ don’t they!?  When you have 20 reasons to overcome those obstacles, your motivation is less easily derailed, heightening the chances of success.

So here is how it works

1.  Take a piece of paper and start with all the benefits/positives of achieving your goal.

This is like the ‘carrot’ from the carrot and stick approach.

2.  Next, focus on the stick.  What are the costs going to be of NOT achieving your goal.

And this is where it can get interesting! Often these points are more highly motivating than the positives!

3.  Finally think about how achieving your goal is going to impact others in your life – be that loved ones, work colleagues or the world in general.

The need to contribute is deemed to be one of the highest human needs – we all need a purpose.  So by thinking about how your success will contribute to others can be the real ‘icing on the cake’ of the whole process.

and finally.....

….keep this list close to you – and keep adding to it as new reasons come up.  There is no rule to say you cannot have more than 20 reasons.

Keep the list on the fridge or somewhere where you will keep seeing it.  Take a photo of it and have it as a screen saver on your phone.

And every time you feel motivation waning, have a look and see which of those 20 (+) reasons are going to get you the motive to take action!


What are you going to use this technique for??  Please let me know in the comments box below.

Caroline Cavanagh is an anxiety specialist  and hypnotherapist in Salisbury, Wiltshire.  She is an author and public speaker and would love to talk to you if you would like to know more about her work

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