I feel like it’s important to start with basics, what is motivation anyways? 


Motivation is the reason behind most of our behaviors. From getting up to get a glass of water to making a commitment to losing weight. Both have motivations behind them. Getting a glass of water is motivated by fulfilling thrust, when losing weight can be motivated by a variety of reasons from feeling healthier to looking a certain way and is a longer multistep process. 

It is easier to sustain motivation for a one small task, but when it comes to long term larger goals it definitely can be very hard. 

There are different types of motivation and causes for it. They are biological, emotional, social, cognitive, value and other types of behaviors. The reasons behind actions are varied depending on what you need them to be. They, however, come down to two main groups- extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. 

Extrinsic motivation comes from outside the individual, its money driven, recognition and praise are large factors in this motivation.

Intrinsic motivation on the other hand comes from within the person. They are not powered by outside sources, rather pure desire to solve something for the satisfaction of simply solving something. 

Human motivation is one of the topics that is continuously researched and is a subject that is getting more and more data gathered. Theories of motivation have been created to understand reasons for motivation better, they are:

Drive theory this theory follows the idea of maintaining homeostasis. Keeping the body’s needs fulfilled, especially when it comes to needs like hunger and thrust. 

Incentive theory– this theory suggests that motivations that are caused by the outside incentives, such as praise or monetary reward or any form of the outside benefit that you can get for doing certain things. 

Humanistic theory (Maslow’s theory of needs)– this theory talks about basic human needs, like getting food and shelter, as well as being safe and having companionship and community. Everything else is secondary and should be fulfilled once these few main needs are taken care of.  

We all know all that, maybe not in the full depth of theories of motivation, but all of it does make sense logically. In theory, motivation is easy and generally not complicated. Staying motivated is the hard part of it all. 

So how do we do that? How do we continuously stay motivated, especially for goals that take a long time to achieve? It’s not an easy task. There wouldn’t be hundreds of books and so many research papers if it was easy. 

However, even though it’s a hard task, there are so many small actionable steps that not only are easy on their own, but are actionable right now. 

In this post, I want to focus on those long term goals and the motivation to achieve them. And if you can hear whispers around you softly saying “habits…  habits… habits” you are on the right track. 

And don’t get me wrong, motivation is still a crucial part of it all. Without motivation the desire to achieve something would not exist, so we desperately need it to fuel the fire inside us that tells us to win the contest, lose weight, become a new Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Steve Jobs or Bill Gates however, didn’t achieve what they did on pure motivation, not even  close. They worked. Hard and long. I can throw another example of Serena Williams, since we are here for wellness and health, she didn’t become one of the top 10 tennis players in the world on pure motivation either. No one ever does. Which brings me to the rule of 10,000 hours. 


What is the rule of 10,000 hours? 

motivation postIn “Outliers”, a book by Malcolm Gladwell, he presents a rule of ten thousand hours. The idea is that it takes about 10,000 hours to achieve complete mastery of the matter. It doesn’t matter if it’s playing piano or guitar, starting the best computer company or becoming a pro athlete. It’s the same rule- you put in this time, and you harvest your rewards. Is there something that makes people who achieve these heights different or special? Yes and no. I’m going to lie if I said that the outside world has no part in it. If I were to put it into a formula, it would be something like:

10% motivation + 10%  socioeconomic status + 10% environment + 10% dedication +10% consistency + 10% community +10% right time, right place +10% getting an opportunity+10% putting in the work day in and day out+10% having a mentor

You get the idea though, getting to be great at something is not a straight line, it’s steps back and forth mixed with some shuffling on the same spot and after years of diligent practice things will come. Here’s another caveat, though, you still need to chase them. Just putting in work and waiting for an opportunity to fall on  you from the sky is not going to cut it. Sometimes situations like this happen, but they are not to be expected. Becoming great is hard and there are many people who are but don’t have recognition that they deserve. 

Now, that we have covered some important points, let’s get into tangible steps. That’s what we all here are for anyways! 


How does one stay motivated?

Step 1: Figure out your why! Really think about it, why do you want to achieve what you want? 

Let’s use the weight loss goal example to dissect it. Your ‘why’ can be looking a certain way or doing it for your partner (it’s never a good idea btw) or doing it so you just feel healthier and more toned. 

Every single of these ‘whys’ has a different amount of fuel power behind it. 

Looking a certain way, for instance, is capped by the moment you achieve your goal. You got there, you achieved the look, what’s next? If you were dieting yourself to death, chances are you’ll bounce back where you were fairly quickly. But say, you did it right, small calorie deficit with a workout program, you need to have a goal to follow once you get there, because without the next steps that goal you just achieved will not last if you stop doing the steps you were.

Doing it for a partner or someone in your life – that’s not really going to last! While they can encourage you on this journey, you really have to do it for you and that you believe this could have a positive impact on your life. 

Losing weight to feel healthier and more toned would probably be the most sustainable one long term. The weight loss aspect is here, but the goal is not just the look, it’s the feeling. That feeling can be in the form of lifting heavier weight and feeling stronger, sleeping better, managing stress better, developing a good healthy relationship with food. And if it’s 5 pounds more than what was planned, guess what, you’ll probably be more ok with it rather than chasing a certain look.

Once you figure out your Why, write it down and put it somewhere where you can see it. It’s one thing to have it in your head at all times, but looking at it has a powerful effect. 

Step 2:  Make your steps small and easy to accomplish. 

If you wake up one day and decide that in a week you will run a marathon, when you can barely run 5k right now, chances are it’s not going to go that well. Most of us have these grand goals, and that’s a good thing. Thinking that this big goal can be achieved overnight or in one big step is just not realistic. While I want to encourage you to make and follow your dreams and goals, I also want to tell you that you need a plan. Your plan needs to be divided into phases, then those phases need to be divided into stages and each of those should have a list of actions you can do every day. Let’s look at our example of running a marathon or 42K without running experience. 

Big Goal: Run a Maraphon. 

Phases: Phase 1- Run a 5K. 

                Phase 2-Run a 10K

                Phase 3-Run a 20K

                Phase 4-Find a marathon, register and keep training before it. 

Phase 1 Stages: Go on a run every day for 30 minutes. Then make it 40, 50, 60 when you can. Track time of every run. Track your mile time progress. 

You get the idea. I specifically decided not to put time frames on it because some people might be able to get there in a few months, others might need a year. All of it depends on how much you want to do it and how quickly you want to achieve it, and the only person who can decide that is YOU. 

Step 3: Visualize your results. 

A lot of people use visualization as a tool and there are a few ways of how to make it work for you. 

One way that can be helpful is implementing a moment of visualization into your morning routine. It is similar to meditation, but instead of clearing your mind, you focus on the end result you want to see. It only takes a couple of minutes to do but doing it daily will keep you on track and turn that technique into a habit that you do. Once you achieve the goal you have you can replace your visualization practice with the next goal. Another common form of visualization is making a mood board. You can combine images that inspire you and bring your mind to the goal at hand. If you choose to do this, you should put your board somewhere where you can always see it. Since we live in a technology generation, it doesn’t have to be a physical board either, you can create a mood board on your computer or phone and put it as a screensaver. 

Step 4: Create a community of like-minded people.

This one is truly key.  How does the saying go? Rome was not built in a day. And definitely not by one person. So why should you be on your journey alone? Regardless of what the motivation is- weight loss, playing an instrument, starting a business, you need people to support you and be with you on this journey together.  Some sources even say to have people around you who either already where you want to be or ahead. I don’t disagree with it, but I think that also adding people who are where you are can help too. You can push each other and confide in your struggles on this specific stage of the journey. 

How to find a community? Like we find anything and everything these days… You google it. Check Instagram and Facebook, look for in person meet ups, whenever that becomes a thing again. There are groups and communities for everything. If older men who love my little pony have their space on the internet, you will find your people. (No shade for bronies, you do you boo) 

Step 5: Schedule your activity and turn it into a habit.

If simply thinking about needing to do something doesn’t do it for you (like it doesn’t for so many people, myself included) schedule it in your planner. Make a point of putting it in your calendar. Something about having it written down or even coming up on your phone that can change the mentality about doing something. No one, and I mean it, literally no single person wakes up motivated every day. That’s just not possible, but the difference is that once you do an activity consistently, for a period of time, it’s not about motivation anymore, but about having a habit to rely on. For a pure motivation to turn it into a habit will require time, consistency and powering over yourself and just doing it. 

Step 6: Practice more.

The more you do something, the better you become. Like with our running example, you first need to run a 5K to run a 15K to then run 25K. But once you’ve been running for a few months, it won’t feel nearly as painful as it did in the beginning. You’ll be better at it. 

It’s very hard to jump from 0 to a 100, but practicing day in and day out, doing the work, scheduling it, still showing up when you don’t want to, all of this will make you better and closer to your goal!

Step 7: Community yet once again.

I want to reinstate yet again, how important the community aspect really is. It’s one thing to have support from your family and friends, and completely different to be surrounded by people who are with you walking the walk. 


To really bring it all together, shit is hard. Life is hard. Being motivated all the time is hard. Nothing is impossible, and nothing happens overnight. Your favorite YouTuber probably spent years building the community before they became famous, your favorite athlete trains for 7 hours per day, so they are able to compete. If you’re reading this thinking, “well, I know this one company that just blew up overnight.” My question to you would be- do you know how much time they spent planning it? Designing their products and services? Figuring out marketing strategy before they even launched? No one but them knows, but I’m fairly confident it wasn’t a couple of hours on a Wednesday afternoon. 

You have a goal? You are motivated to do it? Jump in then! Ride that motivation wave and build the habits you need to do it in the long run. 

And if you don’t believe me, I will leave you with some quotes by smart people of the past:

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. – Vincent Van Gogh

Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. – Robert Collier

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. – Henry Ford

Step by step. I can’t think of any other way of accomplishing anything. – Michael Jordan

Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves. – Dale Carnegie













By Co-Author (Primary): Karina Movsesova

Editor: Amanda (Meixner) Rocchio