Finding What Motivates You

By nature our 'inner child' might be lazy and try to avoid the boring and difficult stuff. Preferring instead to play and have fun. We have no problem doing what we 'want' to do!

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Motivation is defined as 'To provide someone with a reason for doing something'. (Longman Dictionary).

Have you noticed that you need a different sort of motivation for doing different things?

If we can't rely upon self-motivation we can pay a life coach to give us the proverbial kick up the backside - but there's no guarantee that external sources will make any tangible difference to us.

Why? What gets in the way?

To answer that it's worth reflecting upon your own history, and thinking about what motivated you as a child. 

Perhaps you were bribed with a reward, or threatened with a punishment.

What worked best back then, and at what cost?

Do you still replay that old pattern nowadays?

Maybe you get one part of you to 'do' something unwanted or unpleasant by offering yourself a reward. That can be a good strategy as long as the reward is valued and highly desirable, and the behaviour doesn't involve any negative pay-off.

By nature our 'inner child' might be lazy and try to avoid the boring and difficult stuff. Preferring instead to play and have fun. 

We have no problem doing what we 'want' to do!

The most successful business people have found a way to over-ride that natural tendency to distract, deflect and procrastinate. Their focused hard work then brings the rewards that allow for the play and fun afterwards, by 'delaying gratification'.

For those of us who aren't (yet) that super successful, we just need to have a clear path ahead, to keep ourselves on track, and to take one step at a time no matter how steep the climb or how hard the challenge. Remembering to give ourselves a personal reward at the end of each little gain and success.

Remember to keep your levels of optimism and hope topped up too – particularly if you've been feeling disappointed, despondent, rejected or depressed. These are all just states of mind, which can be changed.

Just get going and keep going – it's not a race. 

What feels successful to you is what matters most, and that will keep you motivated for the future.

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR

Maxine Harley

MIND HEALER & MENTOR - Psychotherapist (MSc), Author, Columnist & Blogger. Please see and, S.E.L.E.C.T. Your Life Company Ltd.

I help women to FEEL better - so they can BE, DO and HAVE better! As a MIND HEALER I specialise in helping women to recover from a troubled childhood and toxic parents, to heal and transcend their emotional wounds, re-parent their inner child, and make peace with their past. This enables and empowers them to become better parents, partners, professionals - and all round happier calmer people :-) As a MENTOR I offer different levels of therapeutic self development - including MINDING YOUR BUSINESS, MINDING THE GAP, and MIND MASTERY...please discover more at


Go to the profile of Diane Priestley
about 4 years ago

Thanks for this thought-provoking article Maxine. Motivation is different for everyone. I've never been motivated purely by making money. My work has to also make a positive contribution to others, driven by the 'Nurturing Parent' part of me, I think. 

I'm also motivated by curiosity and pure pleasure (especially in music) driven by the 'Free Child' part of me. While my 'Adapted Child' tries to please and win approval and be liked by everyone. 

It is important to understand our motivations and manage them, for sure.