17 unusual ways to boost your motivation

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on Mar 24, 2023

17 unusual ways to boost your motivation

Struggling to find your drive? We all hit stumbling blocks from time to time, whether professional or personal, but here we’re sharing 17 effective, and unexpected, ways to reignite your spark and get you back on the motivation track

Motivation isn’t something others can give us – it comes from within ourselves. At its core, our motivation is our purpose or reason for doing something. Whether that’s why we want to be inspired to make healthier choices, launch a business, make a career change, or do something to unleash our creative side.

Our values and beliefs are the basis from which our motivation grows. So the stronger these are, theoretically, the more we should become motivated. Motivation drives us forward towards our goals, helping us to feel energised and excited while we make progress and achieve our dreams. But what if we’re struggling to get started? Or what if a lack of progress, unexpected setbacks, or overall exhaustion prompt procrastination, and, in turn, hold us back?

If you’re unsure how to regain your spark, or feel like you’ve tried all the classic options, we’ve got you covered. Here are 17 unusual ways to help rediscover your motivation and get back on track.

1. Find your why

So you have a goal in mind, but do you know what prompted you to want to work towards that? Maybe you’re aiming for a promotion because you feel like you should be climbing the career ladder. But is this really what you want deep down? When we don’t define our why, we can struggle to find the motivation to do what we think we should be doing, instead of focusing on what we actually want to achieve. Find that thing that excites you, and turn it into your why.

2. Look after your physical health

Regular exercise doesn’t just have physical benefits, it can help our mental health and overall wellbeing, too. Exercising releases endorphins, which interact with the parts of your brain that produce positive thoughts and boost mood, making it easier to get in the right mindset to tackle trickier tasks, and feel energised to push forward.


3. Challenge self-limiting beliefs

When we think badly about ourselves, our skills, or our abilities, we risk limiting what we can achieve. If you tell yourself ‘I’m no good with numbers,’ chances are, you’re going to dread working with them, and may feel anxious, nervous, or overwhelmed when required to do so. Reframing these thoughts in a more positive light can help tasks to feel more manageable, e.g. you could tell yourself ‘This isn’t my speciality, but I have many strengths that will help me handle this challenge.’

4. Healthy competition

A little healthy competition can act as a motivational spark by helping increase your drive, giving you another person (or people) to challenge yourself against, and creating a sense of urgency and accountability.

5. Refuel

Sleep and food aren’t just afterthoughts – they’re the cornerstones of a healthy mind and body. Without good quality sleep and adequate nutrition, you risk low energy levels and lagging motivation due to lethargy. If you’re struggling, put a line under the day and get an early night followed by a nutritious breakfast. Tackling that tricky task may seem easier in the morning.

6. Push past procrastination

Even when our motivation is strong, procrastination can stand in the way of progress. That’s because it often comes from a place of fear. The more we want to achieve something, the more invested we feel, and the more scared we become of getting it wrong – or being judged for failing. We even worry about succeeding and what comes next. Take time to reflect, consider why you’re procrastinating, and what you can do to move forward.

Sometimes when we just can’t push past a task, it’s a sign that it’s something we don’t want to do. Ask: is this task necessary? Why am I doing it? What can it help me achieve? Depending on your answers, you may find the motivation to move forward – or to leave that task in the past, and do something more productive.

7. Declutter your space (and improve your organisation)

The space we live and work in has a surprising impact on our mood. If things are messy, cluttered, or disorganised, it can be trickier to stay focused. Keeping a clear desk, tracking your to-do list digitally, and decluttering (physically and digitally – do you really need those hundreds of emails or untitled files?) can help to open up valuable mental bandwidth.

8. Practice affirmations

Daily affirmations can help to reinforce positive beliefs, boost confidence, help motivate us, and keep us on track.

9. Commit to 10 minutes

Have you tried the 10-minute rule? Give yourself just 10 minutes to work on a task that you’re stuck on. Give it your full focus. After the time is up, step back and reevaluate if you want to continue or not. Usually, motivation will kick in and help take care of the rest! But if you’re still not feeling it, at least you’ve made a little progress and can come back to try this again later.


10. Get connected

The people around us can have a big impact on our motivation and how we see ourselves. If those around you don’t believe in you, it’s easy for your confidence to be shaken. Make sure you have a good support system. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and will celebrate with you when you do!

11. Harness your inner child

To stay motivated, give yourself something fun, new, and exciting to look forward to. Schedule something that gets you excited and energised, even if it’s just once a month. You’ll be amazed at how much it can help your mood.

12. Take stock of your mental health

How are you feeling right now? When we push ourselves too hard for too long, we risk burnout – meaning everything feels like too much. Other mental health conditions can leave you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Look after your wellbeing first; motivation can follow.

13. Strike a power pose

Our body language affects how others see us, and how we feel about ourselves. Nonverbal communication can make us feel more confident, prepared, and powerful. So why not strike a power pose to help you get in the right mindset?

14. Work with a motivation coach

A coach can help introduce you to new strategies and tools to achieve your goals, assess your current situation, and help hold you accountable. Find out more about motivation coaching on the Happiful family’s Life Coach Directory.

15. Celebrate your progress

Give yourself the recognition you deserve. It’s easy to forget how far we have come. Take time to be your own biggest cheerleader, and celebrate your wins.


16. Start habit stacking

Habit stacking works by building on our existing routines, and adding in new layers. This can help us improve, or fix, our current habits, find ways to build in, and push past, tasks that hold us back, and work towards achieving our goals.

17. Take time out to rest, recharge, and relax

You can’t keep pouring from an empty cup. Sometimes, the more you push, the harder things get. Be kind to yourself. Take a break, allow yourself time to relax, and forget about the big thing you’re trying to achieve. Once you’re rested, you can take another look at your to-do list with fresh eyes, and a new sense of motivation.

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