13 Motivational Tips for Success in Absolutely Anything

I think I know why you’re here. You saw a headline in your feed, or maybe a friend sent you this link, and you thought, “List of motivational tips for success, huh? Man, I bet that thing’s got an intro section that absolutely slaps. I’ve got to get in there and check out that intro. Just think of all the context it will set, how clearly it will explain what ‘list of motivational tips’ means. I’m totally going to read that introduction.”

Okay fine, me neither. You’ve got goals you want to succeed in. You’ve got difficult challenges standing in your way. So do I. Here are some of the tools that I have discovered and developed that motivate me to succeed. They have been a huge help to me in achieving goals, conquering life’s many obstacles, and (occasionally) surviving its sick sense of humor. My top motivational tips for success in absolutely anything, here goes!

1. Be Flexible

There’s an old military saying that “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” While a bit cynical on the surface, there’s a motivational sentiment there. Having a plan is a great thing, but plans are often made in a vacuum, free of the twists and turns life will inevitably put us through. 

When circumstances change and the initial plan no longer fits, a brittle plan will break, and you’ll be stuck where you are. But a flexible plan, with an adaptive attitude, can adjust to meet the current situation. Plans like these keep us moving forward. Don’t get too hung up on the initial version of your plan. Identify just what you need to know to get started, be ready to adapt, and you’ll be unstoppable.

2. Deconstruct the Problem

What’s the biggest obstacle in your way right now? The one thing that, if it could disappear at a snap of the fingers, would create the most space for you to go after your goal? Challenges like these can seem huge, and totally overwhelming, and there’s a reason for that. The most difficult obstacles usually aren’t one single giant thing, but a series of smaller ones stacked on top of each other wearing a trench coat.

Try this: imagine the problem you’re facing as a brick wall blocking your path to the life that you want. Instead of repeatedly crashing into the wall hoping for it to crumble, ask yourself how you could remove one brick from that wall. Just one. Solve an isolated piece of the problem. And then another. And after a while, well, you’ve probably played Jenga before, I’m sure you know how this goes.

3. Focus On the One Thing That Comes Next

Maybe you’re one step ahead of me, you’ve already deconstructed the challenge ahead of you. Now, instead of one big problem, you have a thousand small ones to solve. We’ve reduced the quality of the obstacle, and masterfully converted it to quantity.

Not quite.

The difference is, we can solve small problems. We can even solve lots of small problems. You’ve probably already done it dozens of times today. Just not simultaneously. Focus. Shut out the distractions. One brick at a time. There’ll be time for the others. This isn’t it.

4. Consider All Your Options

While focus is essential for keeping steady and not getting overwhelmed, focus in excess can turn into tunnel vision. And that’s no good. Because when you have tunnel vision, you can get all hung up trying to fix something that isn’t meant to be fixed right now. 

So what’s the difference between having productive focus and dogged tunnel vision on something that’s keeping you stuck? Movement. If you’re moving forward on the current task and that is still serving the high-level plan, then that’s great. Dial in your focus on it and keep going. But if you’re trying and trying and not going anywhere, take a look around. There’s usually another way forward.

5. Growth is Rarely Linear

Overnight, people think that’s how this shit happened, but they never right

Acting like they got it, they got it, but they never quite

Seem to understand that this right here deeper than all that

Logic, Overnight

People who bear the title of “overnight success” are rarely very appreciative of it. And for good reason. When it’s your own story, it’s a lot easier to see the years of learning, struggle, and persistence that eventually led to the one moment where everything started to come together. Outside observers then point to that moment like it fell from the sky.

Growth is rarely linear. Don’t let that discourage you. If you still believe in your end goal, and you’re still getting the work done, then don’t worry so much about the results along the way. You could be just a few small steps short of a major breakthrough, but you’ll never know until you get there. The only way to find out is to keep taking those small steps.

6. Take a Beat

As far as motivational tips for success go, I find this to be one of the toughest. It’s tricky because it’s a bit counter-intuitive. When you’re pushing and pushing without moving forward, sometimes the best way to get ahead is to stop moving. If you’re running yourself ragged, then I admire your persistence but you may be doing yourself a disservice.

Rest is a good thing, and we all need to take breaks to charge up. Giving your mind and body even a few minutes to relax and decompress can change the equation. Think back to the points above. A lot of this is just about re-assessing the situation and looking for a new approach. And taking a moment to rest while you do that is a gift to yourself, not just right now, but again when you get back up and start moving again.

7. Tap into Your Support Systems

Some challenges are just too big – or at the very least, horrendously inefficient – to face by ourselves. Looking to others for support is not a weakness; it’s the opposite. Don’t be afraid to let others, be they professionals, friends, or loved ones, lend a hand. 

We all have our own unique soup of experience, skills, and strengths. A task that feels near-impossible to you alone could well melt away with the right support network. And apart from specific skills or advantages, sometimes many hands really do just make light work. Plus, accountability to others is like a superpower.

We’re all better off when we welcome the support of others.

8. Talk Yourself Forward, Not Back 

What is the story you’ve been telling yourself about your current project? Does it focus on the struggles, the annoyances, and the lack of visible progress? Or does it focus on the small wins, the personal growth, and your vision of where it can go? Because let me tell you that the story you tell yourself matters more than a lot.

Where you put your attention, there goes your energy. If you want to find ten terrible things about the thing you’re working on, I’m sure you can find them. Same goes for the ten reasons it’s the greatest thing to happen in your life. Whichever you choose sets the framework for your subconscious mind.

If I hired you at a lousy job and told you “the pay is terrible, our company makes nothing useful, and we’ll be bankrupt within the month,” you wouldn’t put much effort into the company’s success. Consider it your first day working for yourself at You, Inc. Tell yourself the story of the accomplishments you’ve made so far, what you’re working on now, and the success that lies ahead, and then watch it become reality.

9. Assess the Situation: What Do You Know, What Do You Need?

Sometimes when I’m trying to reach a big milestone on one of my goals, or wipe out a big problem that’s getting in my way, it can get pretty overwhelming. I have a million ideas, worries, and solutions swirling around in my head, and it’s enough to gunk up all the machinery and leave me feeling totally stuck.

When this happens, I find it most helpful to take a quick step back and sort out all of these swirling thoughts. Assess the situation. This is one of those times that asking the right questions can be one of your best friends for personal growth. Try asking yourself some of these:

  • What exactly am I trying to accomplish right now?
  • What are the obstacles I’m running into?
  • How can I remove those obstacles?
  • Do I have everything I need, or is there something missing?

Break down the problem into clear, simple parts. Scary, intimidating things tend to get a lot less scary when you shine a light on them and see them clearly for what they are.

10. Use The Tools You Have

#4 in this list talked about tunnel vision, and how being too laser-focused on a single objective can allow other opportunities to slip by. Well, this is true not just for the task you’re working on, but the tools and methods you’re using to get it done. 

You are a walking basket full of skills, knowledge, abilities, and expertise that you can use to accomplish whatever you aim for. So if your current approach isn’t getting you where you want to be, and you’re sure you’re working on the right thing, take a look at your personal inventory and see what other tools you have up your sleeves to get it done.

11. Get Back Up

I have, at least once, cited Jason Voorhees as a great source of motivational tips for success. Regardless of what this says about my mental wellbeing, just think about it for a second. There have been 12 movies in the Friday the 13th series (why they never made one more with the title Friday the 13th: the 13th, we’ll never know). And out of those 12 movies, 11 were about schemes to stop Jason. Each time, a new group of teenagers band together and fight to crush Jason’s dreams like their lives depend on it.

But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if he doesn’t get up, each and every time, and just keep killin’ them — er, it. Killin’ it, I mean. We all feel a little like Jason from time to time, like we’re living through a story designed to stop us from living our best life. Do you think Jason gave up after the fourth movie, just because it was subtitled The Final Chapter? Nope, he tuned out the haters and made 8 more movies. What about the ninth installment, The Final Friday? Did he quit then? Nope, 3 more movies. Jason doesn’t give up until he is satisfied, and neither should we.

12. Commit – Go All In, Stop Looking Back

Are you sabotaging your own success by constantly looking over your shoulder? It’s tough to overstate the damage that we can do to ourselves with negative self-talk. Constantly keeping failure or quitting as an available option may be holding you back from bringing your full self to bear on your challenges.

When you want something, and I mean really, truly believe that it’s the right thing for you, go all in. Commit your full self to achieving that goal, and don’t look back. Of course, you don’t have to go out of your way to burn bridges, but stop treating backing out as one of your main options. If you want it, go for it and don’t hold back.

13. Push Past Your Limits

Personal growth is just that – growth. Meaning that with every milestone you reach, every foe you face, and every struggle through which you persevere, you become more. You become stronger and wiser. In so doing, you become more of yourself. The challenges you face today are only possible because of how far you’ve come so far. 

Keep growing. Keep learning, and struggling. Stay hungry. Don’t stop here, start collecting your own motivational tips for success! With each adventure you expand what you’re capable of and create new possibilities for a future you. Every time you push past your limits, your world opens wider and wider, until there’s nothing you can’t do.

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Hey, I’m Sam. I created this blog to explore big ideas, both old and new, about building a better life. My mission is to evolve the conversation about personal growth and have fun doing it.

11 thoughts on “13 Motivational Tips for Success in Absolutely Anything”

  1. Sage advice. I’m a big advocate of #6. Taking a deep breath or moment away can be really challenging – especially for stubborn people like me. But I’m frequently reminded of just how incredibly fruitful a new look at something can be.

  2. Outstanding insight, thank you for sharing! I believe the power to progress is directly in line with mental toughness. Those that have it persevere and overcome the obstacles life throws at them.

    • Thanks Shane, I’m glad you liked it! Mental toughness is a huge help in overcoming obstacles, and it’s definitely worth investing in building it up. But I think as well as that, we need some focus on the habits and systems that keep us going steady, so that we don’t need to rely too heavily on perseverance, and it’s there when we really need it.


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