What does that mean?

Close your eyes and try to think of a time when you did something without any motivation at all. Any luck? My guess is that you can’t. You can’t because it has never happened. Things go together. They just do.

You go to work not because it’s necessarily fun for you to wake up before you are ready, but because you need to make money. You head to school because your plan is to get promoted, or change your career, or make more money. In your younger days you went to school because you had to – or else. Everything we do has a motive behind it – whether internal or external. A motive is defined as something that causes a person to act.

There are times in all our lives when we need to do things that we know are good for us, but we just can’t seem to get them done. These are the times, I believe, when we need to engineer our own motivation. Seriously? Yes, seriously. We need to pair these good-but-drab or necessary-but-hard or beneficial-but-annoying tasks with things that make us feel good. Feeling good is often our greatest motivator. Our bodies already have the concept of working together down pat. Our internal systems work synergistically. The brain is always touted for its thinking and memory abilities, but it is in control of so much more. Today, let’s hone in on our senses and how we can use them to motivate us.


You know you need to read more, or maybe just read. Period. Download an audiobook and listen to it during your commute instead of seething about the traffic and lousy drivers.

You are beginning to despise creating chart after chart and presentation after presentation that all look and feel the same to you. Take the initiative to make them more visually appealing and therefore more enjoyable to produce. You’ll also feel pleased with the results (bonus motivation).

Your health is deteriorating and you know you need to make healthier meal choices, but… yuck! Truth? You’ll never do it consistently unless you make it appealing to you. You are in sole possession of your taste buds. Add spices, etc. that make your healthy meal taste and smell delicious. You won’t need any more motivation than that.


You are seriously out of shape, but you hate exercise. You know you do because you’ve tried it. Exercise isn’t set in stone, it doesn’t follow a prescribed formula. Do the active things you enjoy, but do more of them. Ditch the ‘best exercise playlists ever’ and custom make your own that works for you – even if it means playing that one song repeatedly. Who cares? You’re the only one hearing it!

Your hair and skin are suffering, but you don’t have the time to care for them. The thought that in two years you will be bald and look at least a decade older than you are hasn’t been motivation enough. Use that nose. Use moisturizers that make you feel and smell good. You know, the ones that make you smile a little after just one spray or rub, that wake you up a little more and lift your mood. You get the point. Or maybe it’s time to invest in you by treating yourself. Looking and feeling good are themselves powerful motivators for continuing to look and feel good.

Sometimes it’s okay to rely on outside factors to motivate us, but the fact that they are external removes them from our control. People get busy, plans fall through, situations change, then what? Get real with yourself. For each everyday response to an issue, there is a deeper, truer response. Reach for that one. That’s the one that will truly motivate you. It’s true that you started that business to make money and attempt to secure your financial future; more than that, though, you did it because you needed to do what you believed you could do, you needed self-fulfillment. Believe it or not, that is stronger motivation than money.

Image of a white pearl in a shell on a white background.

Start using what belongs to you, what’s inside of you – get busy engineering your motivation.