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How to increase your motivation to change your career

You’ve done the hard part and worked out what you want to change in your career,  but then feel like you’ve run out of steam! Even if you have set yourself some lovely SMART goals it can be hard to get the motivation to make the changes you know you need to.

What you need to make a change

Research shows that there are three factors that need to be present to enable us to make changes to our lives:

  • Self-discipline (the ability to chose successfully among conflicting impulses)
  • Grit (perseverance and passion for long term goals)
  • Self-regulation (the process by which we seek to control our thoughts, feelings and impulses)

It is worth taking some time just to consider each of the above, and work out where your strengths lie. It is also useful to think about other times when you have tried to change a behaviour and recognise which of the factors were present and which were missing.

Still not sure about your change? Read 5 ways to change career when you have no idea what you want to do.

Ways to increase your motivation

There are some very simple and easy things you can consider to increase all or just one of the areas:


  • Allocate specific time in your calendar to focus on making your change happen and set yourself a realistic target for each time slot. Make a mental contract with yourself that this time is sacrosanct so you don’t have to wrestle with  your conscience should a ‘better’ offer appear.
  • Design a reward scheme for yourself when you achieve your targets or milestones  – choose rewards that you know are motivating to you.


  • Think about a time when you have persevered successfully to do or learn something. Tune into the satisfaction you felt when you did it – hold onto that feeling and return to it if you feel you are wavering.
  • Find a picture or image that sums up your change and engages your passion -put it somewhere you can see when temptation calls.


The enemy of self regulation is your ‘critical inner voice’ which  often urges you to give up because ‘you’re too old, too out of practice, who would want you?’ etc. It is important to recognise that you are in control of your thoughts and feelings and can choose not to listen to this voice.

  • Have a strategy for managing the times when the ‘voice’ appears – go for a walk, listen to music, read something positive, write it all down and then contradict the comments using your rational mind. Work out what is going to be most effective for you.

It is hard to effect change but making sure you employ all of these key factors should get you closer to you ultimate goal of finding work that is satisfying and fulfilling.

If you are still finding it hard and need some external support and accountability then get in touch and I can talk you through my monthly accountability and motivation programme.

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