Want to Get Motivated Faster? (No “Aha” Moment Needed!)

Matthew Dickson
3 min readMay 25, 2021


So often we wait for a lightning bolt of inspiration to get us going. But how often does that really come? Sometimes we have “aha” moments that set us off down a path of creativity, whether it is working out, or writing a book, or starting a business.

But more often we can find ourselves stagnant, wanting to get more out of life but not knowing how to find the energy to do it. Jeff Haden in his book “The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win” describes one of the best self-motivation techniques I have heard.

Haden says instead of waiting for that lightning bolt of inspiration, there is another way that works to get you motivated. You don’t have to wait for motivation and then start taking action. He says by taking action first, then the motivation will follow.

He says by taking some small steps, some actions, you will feel a little better about yourself. Whether it is going for a run, going to the gym a few times, smoking a few less cigarettes, these small actions will make you feel a little bit better about yourself.

These small successes will give you a bit of confidence. Then you take a few more small steps. You do some more small actions. That will give you a bit more confidence. And you keep doing this. Small actions, small successes, small actions, small successes.

As time goes on your successes will get bigger and accumulate. As with many people, though, your standards will rise. So a success that would have scared you in the beginning doesn’t seem that big a deal later on in your progress. Your success sneaks up on you. You get these successes when you’re ready for them, not when they’re too much for you.

So you don’t have to figure out everything in the beginning. You don’t have to be “that person who is in great shape” already before you start going to the gym. You will slowly become “that person who is in great shape” a little bit at a time. You evolve into that person.

This is why this is one of the best self-motivation techniques I have heard. It means you can simply start on your journey, taking just some simple, small steps. You don’t have to have everything figured out in the beginning. You simply start.

And all it takes is a small step to begin. And everyone can do that. It doesn’t mean you have to take big steps — scary steps — to begin. Just small steps.

Often you will hear successful people say that all that success is anyway is just a lot of small steps put together, not a lot of big steps. Sure, some steps are bigger than others. But many people’s great successes are composed to a large degree of just small steps.

I know from my own experience in endeavours I have taken on that by taking small steps my confidence grew bit by bit. By starting my website www.MindAid.ca to help people in developing countries with no mental health care, I was entering into a new “scary” realm in my life. But I have been able to see my confidence grow step by step.

The same thing happened when I did my bicycle trip across Canada. I talk about that more here.

I hope this has given you some incentive to start tackling some of your own challenges. Chase after your dreams! It doesn’t have to be scary. Things that scare you, by the time you are actually ready for them, can often not be scary at all. They can be exhilarating. Go try to live a life of exhilaration!



Matthew Dickson

Advocate for people with mental illness in developing countries at www.MindAid.ca. Bicycled across Canada, books, nature, fitness, learning, dancing!