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Relationship: Self-motivation

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Self-motivation is our internal cheerleader. It is what propels us to the next level of life. Without the strong desire to move forward, most people just sit and watch life happen. They usually get less out of their lives, are unable to contribute to the well-being of humanity and are generally dissatisfied with themselves.

The word "motivation" may conjure up visions of corporate leaders trying to fire up the troops or cheerleaders urging the team to block that kick, but the most powerful form of motivation is the type that comes from within. When we have that drive and the self-assurance that we can hit the mark we are aiming for, it makes us almost unstoppable.

All some people need for motivation is the vision of a goal. Others need a deeper reason — and once they find it, they are ready, willing and able to take the next challenge head-on.

Wanting to have a positive impact on those around you, or the world at large, is a great motivator. It is also life-enhancing. This simple but powerful goal is what gets many people out of bed in the morning and puts a smile on their face throughout the day.

For those who have trouble finding motivation, perhaps looking at this issue in a different light would help.

If you have heard all your life that you lack motivation, you may be rebelling against the naysayers — and making it a self-fulfilling prophesy by not doing anything to change. The truth is, you are feeling hurt by someone who didn't believe in you. And if you give that person free rent in your head, it's going to be very hard to let their negativity go.

Try blocking out or erasing those old tapes, which may take a few tries. Filling your mind up with affirmations like "I can do it" or "I'm good at this" will help. Seriously, if you didn't want to feel better about yourself, you wouldn't be reading this now — but you also may be a little scared to try a new approach because you are afraid of failing.

If you want something — and can't summon the energy or motivation to get it — then you really don't want it. Whether it's a new job or a yacht, you have to be motivated to marshal your forces and start moving toward your goal.

Nothing anyone else thinks or does should stop you. Support is great, but success in life sometimes requires much self-motivation.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a marriage and family therapist in Westlake, Calif., is the author, most recently, of "Emotional Fitness at Work." He also hosts "Emotional Fitness" on NPR.