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Tools of Motivation: Getting What You Need to Succeed

tools of motivationWhat do you need to stay motivated and succeed?

For my money, nothing beats a good tool. Those who have ever worked on a construction site or have completed a DIY home project know this to be true. The more specific the tool is to the need the better it is able to properly complete the task.

For example, you wouldn’t use a hammer to insert a screw. Well, maybe you could. However, that method is probably going to cause some damage and a ton of frustration. The right tool is needed for the right circumstances to help you achieve maximum results in the most efficient amount of time.

Interesting thing about tools is how they motivate me to succeed. There have been times when I was having difficulty with a particular challenge and a tool pushed me through a mental or physical barrier. In most cases, the tool cost me money to obtain but in the end it proved vital to my success.

So for that I’d say the right tools are worth purchasing to help you win.

My Tools of Motivation

Tools of motivation come in all shapes and sizes for all aspects of life. Here are a few areas where I’ve seen tools be effective in my life.


Oh boy…who doesn’t love something technological to make life easier?

When I first started running, it was very difficult to complete my runs. Yes, I was out of shape but really the issue was I was lacking motivation. I wasn’t keeping track of my distances or times and I didn’t have a goal, so it all seemed quite pointless.

That all changed when I purchased a Nike+ SportWatch GPS. This watch allowed me to track my pace, distance and time. Plus it also charted the elevation of my runs. All the information obtained during the run is downloadable to the Nike+ website where it is stored and displayed in graphs to review. Even a map of the route is cataloged for each run.

Seeing these statistics helped me analyze my running and pushed me to get better. I know it sounds silly but I’m not sure I would have ever crossed that “running-is-just-a-pain” psychological barrier had I not purchased the watch. Now I can’t run without it.


Books are a great tools of motivation and cost very little money to purchase. Besides the Bible, the two books that have meant the most to me in the past few years are Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job and Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters both by Jon Acuff.

I was in a really dark place several years ago, struggling with my fears about moving on in life. As you may know, I’ve recently become a stay at home dad after having been in education for 17 years. When you are committed to a career for that long it’s incredibly difficult to quit and leave behind what you’ve helped build.

While quitting is tough and requires a definite plan of action, starting over is just plain scary. Fear is always around knocking at your door. And fear rears its head differently depending on one’s age and circumstances.

These books helped me focus on my transition strategy. More importantly they showed me how to conquer my fears and find a new calling that matters.

If that isn’t where you are at right now you can still find a book in an area your struggling with or want to grow in. There are great authors in all niches that can provide the boost you need to push through.

Study Courses

Perhaps it goes beyond a simple book. You may need to take a study course or go back to school to advance to the place you want to go.

When Mrs. Luke1428 decided to commit to a new career as a CPA, not only did she have to take grad school classes to obtain qualifying degree, we also signed her up for the Roger Exam Review course. For that course, Roger used the Wiley CPA exam materials to direct her to the vital information she would need to know.

Yes, the course and materials were pricey. Perhaps she could have passed the CPA exam without going that route. (She would say doubtful.) But a dynamic teacher and incredible materials gave her the motivation to accomplish an extremely difficult task.

What tools of motivation do you need today to help you succeed? Perhaps it’s a software program to help you create a better budget. Maybe you need professional help to conquer a life issue. Whatever the challenge, find a tool that is right for your need and sacrifice the money to get it.

It will be worth it to receive a good kick-start to your motivation.

Questions: What are your favorite tools of motivation to help you maximize results in an area of interest? What else helps you get motivated to accomplish a task?

Image at Navigadget.com

Next Post: Rethinking the Definition of Success

Prior Post: The Lemonade Stand Book Review

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  1. I have been using different positive thinking techniques from a book I recently read to create a more positive mindset. Even if it is as simple as “I will not have negative conversations today,” I have noticed a drastic difference when I actually use these techniques in my daily life. I have also found that simple motivational quotes (like those found on pinterest and on an app that I use on my phone) can create a drastic change in my own thinking. Not only are my relationships better with those around me, but I find that the connections and conversations I have with others are more meaningful and have a greater purpose and meaning. These positive changes carry over through the different parts of my life including my relationships, finances, volunteer work, etc.

  2. I bought a fitness tracker just to see how active I am. Surprisingly, I am less active than I have thought. It now motivates me to be more active and take better control over my health. Even better, it syncs with a bunch of other apps, so I can just look at one app to see all of my information.

    • “…I am less active than I have thought.” I had convinced myself that I was eating healthy. Then when I started to input my eating choices into the app My Fitness Pal, I realized not so much. Nothing like a good app to tell you “Hey buddy, you are fooling yourself.” 🙂

  3. I started running and going back to the gym earlier this month and I had read reviews about this Nike+ SportWatch GPS and I badly want this also! Maybe next month, I would buy this watch.

    • Honestly, it’s the first and only GPS watch I’ve ever used, so I couldn’t give you my opinion on anything else. Aside from the features/readings it provides, I really like the design and how it feels on my arm when I wear it. The big display also makes it easy to read during the run.

  4. Like Tanya, I love borrowing stuff from the library. So does my husband. He listens to motivational books all the time while he drives.

    • You may be part of the few people left that realize libraries still exist. 🙂 When I was young, we were always there borrowing books and doing research for school. I hardly step foot in one anymore, even though we have several good ones in our county.

  5. Wade @ DestinationFinancialWisdom.com says

    I read both Quitter and Start. I thought it was interesting that Quitter was about “not quitting yet” and Start was about “quitting when ready”. I may be generalizing as they are about more than that. I liked them both. Even Jon Acuff’s journey seems interesting. I never did figure out why he left Dave Ramsey so fast. Probably was just too much too fast.

    I love gadgets, but feel over-gadgetized these days. I’ve been running without my GPS watch all summer. Just trying to have fun and stay in shape. I’m sure I’ll get back into a “run every race” mode, but sometimes less is more.

    • I think that is a valid assessment. Start focused a lot on the different stages of life and how that impacts our fears and thoughts about transitioning to something new. It would be nice to here from Jon someday about why he left Dave Ramsey so suddenly. From the outside, it seemed like he contradicted some of his ideas from Quitter in making that decision.

  6. Not too long ago, Brian.. I became a podcast addict. I have a fairly long commute (45 mins each way) to and from work, and I realized that I can use this time to educate myself on whatever I chose.

    Many of my favorite podcasts are of the entrepreneurial variety.. Which can be very motivational. I even find that on the weekends, when I am not listening to podcast, my motivation sometimes slips a bit!

    • Podcasts are incredible learning tools. And with such a long commute it’s definitely something to fill the time. Better than listening to whatever Z Rock or country music station is available in your area (not that there is anything wrong with that). 🙂

  7. Great post Brian! I think people sometimes forget money itself is just a tool. I’m a little odd, and maybe shallow, but I use personal slights as motivation. And books. Nothing makes me want to get out there and kick personal finance butt like reading a good book (or blog)!

    • Thanks Ryan! “…use personal slights as motivation.” Athletes do this all the time. When I was younger, I remember Michael Jordan lighting up quite a few players/teams who dared to question his ability.

  8. I’ll admit it, I’m completely shallow! I’m very motivated by money. I often use money as a motivator to my success.

    This might either be financial reward for succeeding, or simply making the most of money I’ve spent on something – e.g. study or using that expensive gym gear when I work out.

  9. I would say that as far as our finances go, we’ve been using Quicken to help us succeed. The software for the most part is very user friendly. We are still learning though! On a general note, it can pull together all kinds of reports and stats about your financial picture. I love it- it helps me better understand where we are and what needs to get done.

    • I’ve found Quicken to be a great tool for managing money. I love how it downloads information from your online accounts so you don’t have to input every single transaction. Really saves a great amount of time.

  10. Even Steven says

    It’s going to sound cheesy, but so much of my money motivation comes from all the great personal finance bloggers out there, yourself included. I read that someone paid off their house or is struggling with debt and I relate on future and current goals.

  11. Books, most definitely! I’ve been reading a few inspiring books lately to help me discover what path I want to take. The books you listed sound like they might provide some value to me =). My boyfriend is a runner, but he’s never had any fancy gadgets. There are some days he goes without his iPod. I need music to work out!

  12. I can definitely see how buying that watch for running would provide good analysis and thus encourage/challenge you to improve. I’m not a runner myself, but I like to use the same basic way to keep myself motivated. I keep different things in front of me, either on my laptop physically or a list that keeps me going. If I keep it in front of me then that’s a huge part of motivating myself.

    • “…keep things in front of me…” Which helps create focus until the task is completed. I do the same thing and lists are a good tool.

  13. For me, it is definitely technology. I have tasked myself with cooking better and less expensive meals for my family this year and I have had so much success and fun from utilizing Pinterest. My hubby is a big DIY guy and he loves YouTube as a resource for helping him improve his skills.

    • You and my wife should get together…she loves browsing Pinterest. YouTube is fast becoming my go-to medium for videos on how to do certain blogging tasks.

  14. Alicia @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    Recently, I’ve read the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. This book explains 7 Habits that can make a person more effective personally, professionally, and in family life. Covey shows how to build the healthy relationships that are key to an effective life. This classic is well worth reading for its perspective and practical advice.

  15. I think for me right now it’s books from the library. I’m reading a lot on happiness and living a stress free life, which I’m really enjoying. I’ve never been too conceded with running/workout tools. I figure as long as I’m doing something pretty much every day, I don’t need gadgets. I almost slipped and bought a fitbit once, but I’m glad I changed my mind. I can see those things being handy though if you are trying to PR or reach certain goals. I’m just happy I’m exercising at all! 🙂

  16. Sometimes, it seems counterintuitive to pay for things in order to make more money. So, I know for me, I hesitated buying the CFP materials because I really didn’t want to shell out the extra cash. But it’s the reminder that these “tools” are actually what I need in order to reach my goals.

    • Those materials for the CPA exam were invaluable. They really created intensity and purpose to the study time. Otherwise, she would have been drifting in the wind not really knowing what to focus on.

  17. I had a heart rate monitor tool which I used when I ran for about six months. It served it’s purpose and then I wanted to sell it. My husband didn’t want to sell it ‘in case’ he wanted to use it some day. He’s never used it and now it’s way to ancient to sell. grrrr

  18. I’m right there on the running, even though I do get out and run from time to time it feels rather pointless to me. I’m a geek though, so a watch with GPS tracking sounds like a great way to add some motivation!

    • Something triggered in my mind when I set a running goal then bought that watch. I really can’t explain it…seeing the data after a run simply pushed me to keep working hard.

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