Book Review: '100 Ways to Motivate Yourself'

Steve Chandler’s best selling 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever tackles the attitudes and behaviors that block motivating success. The overarching premise of the book is simple — taking responsibility for what you wish to achieve empowers you to create the life you imagine. A lack of confidence in your ability to succeed drains away  the motivation necessary take positive actions.

Creating inspiration within

In his introduction to the 3rd edition, Chandler likens motivation to fire, a burning desire to achieve. The problem becomes, how does one get an inner “fire” started? Are some just born inspired? “My own life’s turning point came when I discovered I could light that fire all by myself,” Chandler writes. Just as starting a fire requires the friction of two sticks rubbing together, it takes action to create an inner fire, a motivating drive.

Overcoming self-defeating thoughts

Chandler quotes psychotherapist and author Dr. Nathaniel Branden, “A goal without an action plan is a daydream, ” and 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself is a kind of action plan. Each short chapter, by way of anecdotes, populated with a wide range of characters from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Winston Churchill, describes techniques to overcome self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. This updated version includes new mental and spiritual techniques developed through Chandler’s experience as a personal coach.

The book opens with a look at the big picture. What is important? What do you really want from life? Chapter one, morbidly titled Get on your deathbed, is actually enlightening. It asks the reader to imagine they are dying. What would you want to say to each person that visits you as your life ends? Subsequent chapters ask the reader to create a vision of themselves, harness their own strengths and weakness to work for, not against, goals. 

Taking control of your own destiny

 As 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself unfolds, Chandler explains how to beat procrastination, tackle formidable projects, plan each day (thereby planning years) to create a productive and rewarding life. He warns against pessimism and finger pointing. In the chapter Turn your mother down, he writes, “…blaming someone never self-motivates because it strengthens the belief that your life is being shaped by forces outside yourself.” This is a key message throughout the book. Chandler continually reminds his readers that they have the power to build their lives.

Some chapters may strike readers as clichéd versions of popular self-help advice, while other chapters may produce an “aha moment.” Each chapter may be read on its own, and readers may return again and again to the little nuggets of insight for renewed inspiration when resolve is flagging. Taken as a whole, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself provides concrete ways to ignite the passion and creativity necessary to achieve goals.