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How Do You Motivate Someone? 12 Powerful Tips [This Works!]

How Do You Motivate Someone? 12 Powerful Tips [This Works!]

How can you motivate someone positively and bring about behavioral change, using psychology? For example, employees, colleagues, fellow students or your children? Here you will learn different motivation techniques and motivational factors. Read further…

Motivating meaning: What is motivation?

What is the meaning of motivation?

  • Cambridge Dictionary says: the need or reason for doing something. Motivation therefore drives you to a certain behavior.
  • Wikipedia says motivation is the feeling of desire or aversion . You want something or you want to avoid something. This has to do with the feeling of  pleasure and pain .
  • A number of sources also distinguish between extrinsic motivation: going to do something because of an imposed consequence – and intrinsic motivation: doing something because you want it yourself.

So we now know that motivation can be very useful in enabling behavioral change. Now let’s see how we can generate that motivation …

Do you want to increase motivation? Let’s get to the tips …

Below you will find special and powerful tips to motivate people. For example, how can you motivate and encourage your employees? Or how can you motivate someone to study?

Tip 1 – How does motivation work best? Use pain and pleasure!

fire for motivation

We have already seen in the meaning of motivation that motivation has to do with two factors: avoiding pain and / or achieving pleasure. For that reason, we are willing – or forced – to engage in certain behavior.

So it is a simple calculation: do you want more motivation? Then you can play with the pain / necessity and the pleasure / desire. Strengthen just these two factors!

  • What happens to your motivation when the pain gets worse? If your house is on fire, do you passively sit on the couch or run to the fire extinguisher as quickly as possible while calling 112 with another hand on your phone?
  • What happens to your motivation when the fun gets more intense ? As Dr. Vincent van der Burg says: If you see that your ticket is the winning ticket for 10 million euros, do you passively sit on the couch or change immediately for a follow-up promotion?

Perhaps the above examples are clear, but how can you apply this principle to your own goals and to motivate others? The above principle has been cast in a very nice technique for this. You can find this so-called Dickens technique here.

I have to do this, otherwise … [doom scenario]

Tip 2 – Motivate and encourage with the ‘What if …’ technique!

This is a very simple, yet terribly powerful motivational technique. Just say ‘What if …’ and add your desired suggestion behind it:

  • What if you were the best at this?
  • What if you could?
  • What if this was sliced ​​cake for you?
  • What if you were an expert in this?

Just see what this suddenly does to the other. Suddenly, a lot of confidence and hidden power is released! Read more about this ‘what if’ technique here.

Tip 3 – Read positive thoughts

motivate with mind reading

Encouragement becomes a breeze if you use the ‘mind reading’ technique. Simply start your sentence with “I know that …” or “You know that …” and then add your desired encouragement or outcome.

  • I know you can!
  • You know you can!
  • I know you got it in you!
  • I know you’ve shown this before!
  • You know it will work!

Here you can read more examples of thoughts.

Tip 4 – Encourage on higher logical levels

Imagine standing in the gym with your fitness buddy. He wants to leave after half an hour, while it should really take another fifteen minutes. So you say:

Behavior: Come on! Continue for another 15 minutes !

‘Continue’ is behavior. According to the logical level model, this is a low level.  So what would happen if we made an encouragement at a higher level?

Capacities: You have the qualities to continue for another 15 minutes.

Beliefs: Don’t you believe about yourself that you can go on for another 15 minutes?

Values: Do you think perseverance is important ?

Identity: Are you a go-getter?

Mission: Do you want to be an example for others?

The encouragements directed at higher logical levels are much more powerful. Here you can read more about this model of the logic levels.

Raise your standards: what are the standards that you automatically go to with your behavior? What is your ‘normal’? If you say and write, “I am a bodybuilder” (identity level), you go to the gym every day with the greatest of ease.

Tip 5 – Also encourage growth mindset, so lower levels

encourage logical levels

This tip serves as a minor nuance to the previous tip on the logic levels. It is important not to encourage too much on the higher logical levels:

Identity: You are a genius!

Behavior: You will always inventive solutions and you do always your best!

Do you see how the encouragement at the identity level is static / fixed, while the encouragement at the behavioral level is dynamic and growth oriented? This has everything to do with the growth mindset.  When someone hears that he / she is all right is , there may be a kind of ‘laziness’ make his entrance. So keep a close eye on the balance!

Tip 6 – Motivate by not chewing anything for other people

Do you want to inspire, motivate and encourage someone? Then always let the other person make an effort to find the answer and to move forward. Never give ready-made answers – at least, not before the other person has made a good effort to find out – by trial and error.

Let your encouragement and motivation revolve around independence and discovery as much as possible. This is the inductive method of motivation. You can read all about it here.

Tip 7 – Do you know some good work? Be there at all for that person

there are motivations for the other

Do you have to use all kinds of ‘techniques’, ‘motivation models’ and tricks to motivate and encourage someone? This can be useful, but it is not necessary at all. All you have to do is come and bring your presence. Just be there for the other. That is already very motivating.

Motivation is easy with multiple people – and difficult when you have to do it alone.

Tip 8 – Motivate yourself ? Not at all! Ask for help!

This tip is based on the previous one: you also don’t have to motivate yourself . It has been proven that motivation is much easier with multiple people. So feel free to ask for help. People are always looking for a connection and are therefore always open to this type of collaboration.


See this article on discipline. In it you learn, among other things, that you really don’t have to do it alone.

Tip 9 – Want to encourage learning? Focus on self-esteem ! See also these child-parenting tips

self esteem of child

The best way to encourage your child? Develop self-esteem in your child. By all means, let your child know that the child will always be worth the same – regardless of the mistakes he / she makes. As a result, the child dares to make more mistakes – and therefore to progress quickly.

You can also apply this to adults: encourage them to dare to make mistakes, while reassuring them that those mistakes do not change who they are.

Here you can read the entire article about raising children and here you can read more about self-esteem.

Tip 10 – Motivate and encourage in a formal or informal way? Choose an NLP technique

Any NLP technique can be used for motivation … that is, if you are willing to test it. Here you will find an overview of all NLP techniques.  There are formal and informal techniques. For the formal techniques you will do a special visualization with someone in a ‘coaching situation’.

Tip 11 – It’s cheesy, but throw in a motivational quote

Feel free to encourage others with quotes, but do it with some intelligence by bringing it with a wink. Then it becomes extra funny and motivating. Here are some of those quotes.

Tip 12 – Motivate and encourage employees? Read these articles about influencing effectively and leadership tips

I have written an entire article about employee motivation, which is based on research. Questions about: ‘How do I manage a team?’ Or: ‘How do you motivate older employees?’ Or: ‘How can you lead a new team?’ Or: ‘How do you value employees?’ In short: how do you keep your employees motivated? Read this article with leadership tips  and this article about influencing effectively.

To your success!

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!