Motivation: keeping your purpose alive

Motivation is more than merely inspiration. Set yourself up to succeed by understanding what motivates you and how to keep motivated even in the face of challenges.

What’s my motivation?

When we talk about ikigai, the Japanese concept of purposeful living, passion alone doesn’t equate to purpose. If passion is the key, motivation is the engine that keeps you moving forward.

Motivation is important. Actors know this - when they’re asked to play the role of a particular character, their first step is to learn more about that character - “What’s my motivation in this scene?”. They want to understand what reasons they have for the way that character is behaving, by knowing what they value most, and what’s driving them.

As we go about our daily lives, it’s rare for us to put ourselves under the same degree of scrutiny. When we aren’t in tune with our own emotions, we often act without understanding why.

If you know what matters to you, then you also know what motivates you.

Staying motivated

Achieving something is not always going to be easy - no matter how passionate you are. Motivation is what keeps you pressing on towards your goal.

It’s natural for your level of motivation to change over the course of time. This can be influenced by many things - internal factors like your mood or energy levels, or external factors like relationships, or even the weather!

The beauty of motivation is that it tends to build its own positive momentum. The more motivated you are, the more motivated you become.

Practicing resilience

If you’ve ever watched a baby learn how to walk, you know what resilience looks like. First they crawl. Then they pull themselves up and take their first tentative steps. During those early weeks, they topple over a lot. But they get back up and they keep trying - and they get better and better as they persist.

There will be moments when you take a tumble or when things don’t go your way. When things go wrong, often the person we blame is ourselves. Ask yourself, “Would I talk to a friend with the same tone and words I’m talking to myself with right now?” Chances are, you’d be a lot more understanding and show more compassion when listening to a friend’s problem than you may extend to your own situation. Show kindness to yourself and encourage yourself to try again.


Share your goals with a mentor, a close friend or a loved one, and keep them updated on your progress. Getting advice from someone with a similar experience can give new perspective and help you remain motivated even when times are tough.


When you encounter a situation that decreases your motivation, it doesn’t mean you have to stop - you may just need a little extra encouragement or incentive to keep you on track during these times.

Here are 5 ways you can keep motivated:

  1. Write a list of your achievements to remind yourself of all you’ve accomplished. Read over it whenever you feel discouraged. Put goals on there too, so you can tick them off as you achieve them!
  2. Pay attention to what factors affect your motivation levels – by knowing yourself, you can predict when you might need a little extra encouragement to stay on track.
  3. If you get off track, don’t let yourself get caught in the trap of beating yourself up and giving up entirely. It’s okay to be disappointed, but rather than focusing on failure look at what you can learn and what you can do differently in future.
  4. Celebrate the little victories along the way – every step you take towards your goal matters. As you invest time and effort in the pursuit of your goal, these smaller successes will motivate you to continue to succeed!
  5. Think of one practical thing you can do today to move in the direction of your goal – and then do it! Even if it’s small, the most important thing is to make a start.