Self-motivation can be rather elusive, can’t it? Some days you are firing on all cylinders, full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. Other days, no matter how hard you try, you stare at the computer screen willing yourself to type, create, develop, and instead end up simply going through the motions.

Do you often struggle to keep the fire lit? Do you find it easier to dream and set goals than to actually get them done? It all comes down to motivation.

You cannot rely on people around you – your boss, your colleagues or your family to keep you motivated. You need to be able to keep yourself motivated.

Simply put, self-motivation is the force that drives us to do things without prompting or supervision. It helps us to take initiative, realize our goals and move forward.

So how do you conjure up self-motivation? Here are 6 tried and tested skills to help get you energized and enthused:

Keep it real

Set attainable goals and ensure you have the skills and competencies needed to achieve them. A good starting point is to establish a baseline of what your reality is. For example, waking up at 5am when you are not a morning person, is only going to make your day feel awful. Be realistic. Keep it real.

Stop making excuses

As soon as start using an excuse, correct yourself. Don’t believe your own excuses or you’ll never change your behaviour. Rather, be honest with yourself, and tell yourself the truth.

Break bigger goals into smaller goals

Completing a large project can be daunting when you don’t know where to begin. Rather than focusing on an overwhelming goal, take one thing at a time, and break the big goal into manageable tasks you can complete one at a time.

Don’t let fear stop you. Just do it!!

Assess the risks but don’t become paralyzed by fear. Be okay with the possibility of failing and losing face. If the outcome is not perfect, at least you took that step and that’s one step closer to achieving your goals. So, take that next step and DO IT, even if you need to close your eyes and take a deep breath to do it.

Be positive

Optimism involves fostering a positive view of future outcomes. It gives you the courage to keep going and pursue goals in the face of hurdles and setbacks. Cultivating a positive attitude can help you to view challenges as valuable learning opportunities.

Monitor and reward your successes

Keep a record of your progress and successes. It is motivating to look back on what you’ve accomplished and the obstacles you’ve overcome. Regularly reward yourself and celebrate your successes.

I have always said anyone can run the comrades if you have the self-discipline and motivation required, and that’s proof you only have yourself to blame or to congratulate for reaching goals.