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8 Tips to Motivate Yourself and Reach your Goals

by Frances Coombes(more info)

listed in nlp, originally published in issue 212 - February 2014

New Year’s Eve night is when I sit down and set my goals for the coming year.  Usually I set six main goals and two big fat hairy goals that push me outside of my comfort zone.  One of my goals for this year was to write a motivation book that contained a lot of new strategies that other people might not know about that they could pick up and use to reach their goals.  The book is out now and it’s called Motivate Yourself and Reach Your Goals.

Cover Motivate Yourself and Reach your Goals

Goal setting is not enough; you need to line your ducks in a row by visualizing your success, so that you harness the power of your motivation - and use it.  Below are some of the things that help focus my motivation. 

Tip 1. Design a Better Metaphor for Life

I watched some four-year-old children building a powerful metaphor for their own lives and actions based on a TV song called Bob the Builder.  When it came to the words “Can he do it?” They all waved their arms in the air and shouted out, “Yes he can!”™ They had stepped into Bob the Builder’s world and become Bob.  The children’s body language changed - they were livelier - and they had developed a ‘can do’ attitude for the tasks ahead. The children had set themselves up in a good learning state, one where they felt ready to tackle any new situations in a fun and energetic way.

This ‘can do’ metaphor also worked wonders for Barak Obama when he incorporated it into his 2008 presidential election slogan: “yes we can!”™  Can you see how using this powerful image gives the picture of a very capable person, building great things, with all of their tools and resources attached to their workman’s outfit?  Try it now.  Imagine if you could choose a better metaphor for life, one that aligns with the things you want to achieve, what would that metaphor be?

Tip 2.  Test the Evidence, Making Sure your Strategies Work

Improved strategies will make your actions work for you, but test the evidence to be sure that this is the case.  With any action you take notice if changing your thinking, seeing or doing patterns of behaviour helps you make progress.  Try the following method for testing your strategies and ask:

  • Does my situation seem better or worse?
  • Describe in what way it has changed, and write the description down;
  • Can you see any new options that you could not see before?
  • How might you harness these new options and use them in your own situation?

Always look for evidence for whether what you are doing is working or not.

Tip 3. Hope is Not a Good Goal-Setting Strategy

Having hope and faith are essential, but something more is needed; the skill and discipline to organize your brain in ways that will successfully motivate your life.  Your habits are what drive your goals; they determine whether you get what you want or you don’t want. 

So, if you want to achieve more, you will have to break habits that are designed for getting you whatever you are getting now.  Whatever your goals have been to date, you need to think bigger.

Tip 4. Motivation Begins with Bringing our Values to the Things that We Do

To be motivated by your values, you first need to understand what your own values are and how you can align them with the values of the people you connect with.  Knowing about values helps build relationships with others in ways that bring more meaning to everyone’s lives. 

Tip 5. Be on Purpose

Why is it that some people who possess what seems to be only average abilities achieve outstanding successes in life, while others with amazing talents achieve little? The answer is that being ‘on purpose’ is what counts - if you have a belief in a long-term purpose that you really care about and burn to make it happen, then all your thoughts, actions, achievements and goals will flow together towards realizing your dreams.

Tip 6. Develop Flexible Thinking Skills

You do not need to reinvent the wheel and devise your own tools - simply find out who can do the thing you want to do and then learn their strategies. To become a flexible thinker capable of focusing on the ‘big picture’ or whole plan in one instant and ‘small detail’™ information in another, it is important that you can ‘chunk’ you’re thinking up and down at will.  ‘Big picture’ thinking will let you see what the whole project will look like when it is finished.  Setting your milestones along the way requires that you change your thinking and begin to think in detail about how each part of you outcome will be completed.  Who do you know who has some of these skills?  Find out how they do it.

Tip 7. Learn to Live in the Present

If you look closely at your worst fears, you will find they tend to be of the ‘what would happen if™ variety’™. Accept that you will have periods of stress, and work out where your stress level lies. At least 90 per cent of the things we worry about never happen; worrying over whether they will or not will bring a cocktail of stressful hormones spiralling through your body.

Tip 8. Have a Relapse Management Strategy in Place

When things don’t go to plan and you want to feel better ask yourself three questions:

  1. How can I make sense of this thing that has happened?
  2. What have I learned from it that I can take away and use?
  3. With hindsight what would I do differently now?

Develop the habit of analyzing and profiting from setbacks so that you build effective feedback loops which you can observe and learn from.


  1. Michael Anthony Camacho said..

    These are Congratullations

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About Frances Coombes

Frances Coombes Advanced Dip CBT/REBT Dip CBT offers one-to-one therapeutic coaching in North West London and on Zoom.  She is a is a CBT/REBT psychotherapist in North West London, a NLP Master Practitioner and Rational Emotional Behaviour Therapist and runs life coaching groups in London and on Zoom.  She teaches NLP at The City Lit in Central London and tutors at the City Lit and Mary Ward Centre in central London on Using REBT for Managing Stress and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). She runs goal setting and REBT coaching groups for vulnerable people for inner London authorities and charities.  

Her most recent book is Motivate Yourself and Reach Your Goals, pub, November 2013, Hodder Headline. Available on and  For extract visit To inquire or book personal development courses contact Frances on Tel: 07818 896 795; 


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