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Motivation Routine

Motivation Routine

Intro icon Motivation Routine - Intro

Motivation is wrongly understood as a particular mood that makes you take action on your goals. Which makes it sound like you don't have any control over it. 

Motivation is the orientation of effort and focus on a goal. To increase it you need to act and build habits that better direct your efforts. The results you achieve will serve as positive reinforcement that will give you the strength to continue. 

The routine below is designed to help you achieve a productive mood and get better at directing it towards your goals.



Mental Contrasting

DESCRIPTION - Fantasizing about your goals being fulfilled may feel good. But that could reduce the real effort you put into reaching the goal. Visualize what you want to achieve, and try to think about the possible obstacles. What could prevent you from achieving that goal? According to a study, this will energize your mind to take action, you will feel more motivated. If you find that you are discouraged by this, it means you still need to clarify your goals. To build this habit, always imagine what you want to achieve, and also the obstacles you might face.

ACTION - Imagine your goals, possible obstacles, and how to overcome them on a regular basis.


Best Time of Day: Morning


Value Reflection

DESCRIPTION - Choosing your goals starts with understanding your values. What is important to you, where do you want to be in a year, what kind of person do you want to be? Pursuing goals rooted in your core values leads to higher satisfaction. Regularly identify and review your values, what you care about. For example, if you care about your health, regular exercise would be a good habit to build and maintain. Connect your values with your goals, that way you will be more motivated.

ACTION - Identify and review your values at least once a week.


Best Time of Day: Evening

Review Goals

DESCRIPTION - Being motivated means wanting something (or wanting to avoid something). If you can name it clearly, you will know what steps you need to take to get there. Starting with small immediate actions will make you progress. Think about what you want to achieve. It doesn't matter if it's long term. What does it take for you to reach that goal? Determine the steps you should take, starting with the simplest

ACTION - Review your goals at least once a week.


Best Time of Day: Evening

Any Time of Day

Positive Self Talk

DESCRIPTION - Studies have found that talking to yourself in a positive manner will help you improve your focus and effort. When talking to yourself, use encouraging and positive words. Ask yourself how you should move forward, in a friendly way. It will give you a confidence boost and reduce anxiety while being in the task. When you talk to yourself in a negative way, you get more stressed, and your focus is distracted from your goals.

ACTION - Use encouraging and positive words when talking to yourself every day.


Best Time of Day: Any

Implementation Intentions

DESCRIPTION - This habit consists of creating small rules for yourself. Before you're in any situation, you're going to decide what you're going to do. Implementation intentions are about deciding before your reaction automatically appears. Use this technique for your daily routine. Your motivation will increase because you are more committed to what you want to achieve. Establish where and when you will do each thing. Keep a journal to record your rules and achievements. At least once a week, review your results and change what is necessary.

ACTION - Set “if-then” rules to implement your goals when you need it.


Best Time of Day: Any

Core Habits icon Why Core Habits are Important for Motivation

Sources list icon


  1. Parks, L., & Guay, R. P. (2009). Personality, values, and motivation. Personality and individual differences, 47(7), 675-684.
  2. Schunk, Dale H. (1990). "Goal Setting and Self-Efficacy During Self-Regulated Learning" (PDF). Educational Psychologist. 25: 71–86. doi:10.1207/s15326985ep2501_6.
  3. Mento, A., Locke, E., & Klein, H. (1992). Relationship of goal level to valence and instrumentality. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 395– 405.
  4. Gabriele Oettingen (2012): Future thought and behaviour change, European  Review of Social Psychology, 23:1, 1-63
  5. Hatzigeorgiadis, A. (2006). Instructional and Motivational Self-Talk: An Investigation on Perceived Self-Talk Functions. Hellenic Journal of Psychology, 3, 164-175.
  6. Van Raalte, J. L., Cornelius, A. E., Mullin, E. M., Brewer, B. W., Van Dyke, E. D., Johnson, A. J., & Iwatsuki, T. (2018). I Will Use Declarative Self-Talk . . . or Will I? Replication, Extension, and Meta-Analyses. The Sport Psychologist, 32(1), 16–25. doi:10.1123/tsp.2016-0088 
  7. Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Implementation Intentions and Goal Achievement: A Meta‐analysis of Effects and Processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology Volume 38, 69–119. doi:10.1016/s0065-2601(06)38002-1 
  8. Massar, Stijn & Lim, Julian & Huettel, Scott. (2019). Sleep deprivation, effort allocation and performance. 10.1016/bs.pbr.2019.03.007. 
  9. Massar, S. A. A., Lim, J., Sasmita, K., & Chee, M. W. L. (2018). Sleep deprivation increases the costs of attentional effort: Performance, preference and pupil size. Neuropsychologia. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.03.032
  10. Masento, Natalie & Golightly, Mark & Field, David & Butler, Laurie & Van Reekum, Carien. (2014). Effects of hydration status on cognitive performance and mood. The British journal of nutrition. 111. 1-12. 10.1017/S0007114513004455. 
  11. Guszkowska, Monika. (2004). Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood. Psychiatria polska. 38. 611-20. 
  12. Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry, Sarris J, et al. Lancet Psychiatry. 2015
  13. Ma, Xiao & Yue, Zi-Qi & Gong, Zhu-Qing & Zhang, Hong & Duan, Nai-Yue & Shi, Yu-Tong & Wei, Gao-Xia & Li, You-Fa. (2017). The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Frontiers in Psychology. 8. 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00874. 
  14. Herzog, T. R., Black, A. M., Fountaine, K. A., & Knotts, D. J. (1997). Reflection and attentional recovery as distinctive benefits of restorative environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 17(2), 165–170. https://doi.org/10.1006/jevp.1997.0051
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 Happiness  Productivity  Focus  Motivation
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