It’s the start of a brand new year – time to kick-start those resolutions and make things happen!

Maybe you need some motivation-boosting tips and tricks to get you started? Wrong! According to Chantal Burns, you already have everything you need to feel inspired and motivated. It’s just about a change in mindset.

Chantal Burns

Chantal is the author of ‘Instant Motivation: The Surprising Truth Behind What Really Drives Top Performance’ – currently Non-Fiction Book of the Month at WHSmith – so we asked her to bust some common myths about motivation…


Motivation Myth #1: We need rewards or incentives to be motivated

“The idea that we need outside or external factors such as incentives or rewards to motivate us is one of the most common motivation myths.
Take the example of sales teams who get offered incentives to boost their performance and make them go that extra mile.

If it really was the incentive or reward that was driving a person’s motivation and excellence, then all sales people would feel motivated and inspired to do their best work but that’s not what happens. You’ll find three distinct groups.

Some people will say that the incentive motivates them to excel, some people are indifferent to it – it has no bearing on how they perform, and the third group thinks it’s actually a de-motivator.

And it’s the same in any performance area where rewards and incentives are created. You’ll always find a range of different responses to the same set of external circumstances because our motivation comes from within and is generated by how we think about the situation at hand, which is why we can all respond very differently to the same set of external circumstances.”

Related: 31 inspiring New Year quotes for a Brite January

Motivation Myth #2: Motivation is at the mercy of external factors

“We live in a world where we believe our motivation or happiness is at the mercy of outside factors. People will say that they’ve lost their motivation or that their to-do list is ‘stressing them out’ but it’s not possible for a list or even a workload to stress someone out. It is only ever our thoughts about the list or workload that gives us feelings that we might describe as stressful. Thought creates our motivation and also reduces it.

Let’s take someone in a very busy work environment who feels that they’re not coping well. The common belief is ‘If the workload reduces, I won’t feel so overwhelmed’ or ‘I’ll get my motivation back’. Well maybe that would happen but there are also people who have a smaller workload or an easier situation and are still getting overwhelmed. So what accounts for the difference?

The answer is simpler than we realise. Whilst we’re taught to believe that a change in workload will make us feel better, what really happens is that we have a change of thinking about the workload and this gives us a different feeling and increased perspective. And it’s this fresh perspective which helps us to manage our work and increase motivation. It’s also true that in some cases, the workload may be too much. In this situation, having perspective is the greatest way to motivate clearer thinking so you can handle anything more effectively.”

Related: Read how Action for Happiness is spreading their message via events

Motivation Myth #3: Setbacks cause de-motivation and discouragement

“We all experience setbacks, difficulties or disappointments from time to time. For many of us, it will seem as though the setback itself is the cause of how we are thinking and feeling. How often do you hear people justify their mood or feelings with ‘because this happened’ or ‘because they did this to me’.

But if it really were the situation that caused a person to think and feel a particular way, why doesn’t everybody get down or disillusioned when they have similar setbacks? Instead, we find that some people thrive and rise to the challenge whilst others want to hide away in a cave for a week.

You can probably notice a theme emerging! Every day we are being shown the truth of how motivation and performance works. For example, how come we can get just as activated about a trivial thing as we do about the big important things?

While if often seems like the situation is governing our state of mind, it’s your state of mind that is shaping how you experience the situation. It’s helpful to remember that in any moment, you are always experiencing your own thinking coming to life inside of you in the form of a feeling or emotion. This creates a particular state of mind from which you operate and function.”

Related: 14 traits of highly effective event professionals

Motivation Myth #4: Some people are just not motivated

“The truth is that human beings have a natural unlimited source of motivation within them. So you could say that we are born motivated. Motivation is the impetus, will and energy to take action, to perform certain behaviours, to move through life.

The question is, what motivates us to make the best decisions and choices and do those things that really matter? As I explain in my book, motivation is self-regulated – it doesn’t come from external factors. We just think it does! For example, there might be days when you wake up in the morning and you feel invincible, you want to grab life by the horns and yet on other days you’d be quite happy to have a duvet day!

If you asked people the reason for their motivation changing, they’d probably give you a whole bunch of reasons. They might say ‘oh it’s dark out’ or ‘I didn’t get a good night’s sleep’, but in reality it’s got nothing to do with the external factors of our lives. It can only come from one place, which is how we’re thinking in any given moment.”

Motivation myth #5: We need to feel motivated before we can act

“We often think we need to feel a particular feeling before we can take action – for example ‘I need to feel motivated before I can go to the gym’, or ‘I’ve got to feel confident before I can make that phone call’. This is a classic thought trap.

If you ask experienced actors or comedians if they still feel nervous or anxious before going on stage, many will tell you they do. If they waited for their nerves to subside they’d probably never get on stage.

We can spend our whole lives waiting and believing that ‘I’m not ready’. Yet many of the most successful and inspiring people who make things happen in the world don’t let their feelings hold them back.

My friend once told me that if she waited to feel motivated, she’d never run on a Saturday morning. She isn’t waiting to ‘feel motivated’ to get out of bed. She just makes a choice to go running and she does it. Her actions aren’t based on a temporary state of mind. They are based on her intentions to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

What are your intentions? What are you inspired and called to create?”

Related: 5 Tips To Improve Your Productivity In 2015

Motivation Myth #6: It’s all about positive thinking

“Being motivated and inspired is not about forcing ourselves to think more positively. You don’t need to trick yourself into making good decisions or becoming motivated. It’s simply a by-product of a clear and free mind.

And a clear, free mind arises naturally when we understand where our feelings are coming from. If we think that something other than our own thinking can make us feel a particular way, then it’s going to give us plenty to think about and manage. Yet when you realise that how you think and feel is not governed by other people or situations, it will free your mind and automatically generate a naturally optimistic or hopeful frame of mind.

It’s really helpful to realise that any state of mind is like the weather. It’s just a temporary experience of your own thoughts and feelings.”

In summary – being motivated is instantly available to you when you recognise what gets in the way

“The key to having the best 2015 that you can have, is to understand what gets in the way of that! And what gets in the way is a simple yet widespread misunderstanding about where our experience and feelings are coming from in any given moment.

It’s how we think thought works that determines our experience of life. And this is really good news because it means that we are way more empowered than we realise.”


Chantal Burns is a state of mind and performance expert who works internationally with global leaders and organisations. Her book ‘Instant Motivation: The Surprising Truth Behind What Really Drives Top Performance’ is available now on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle format. To get your copy now, click here. To get news and free resources from Chantal, visit

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