Self-motivation is the inner drive that pushes you to get things done. It is often the difference between achievers and those who never seem to accomplish much. How can you cultivate that drive or restore it when you feel it flagging? It isn’t always easy, but here are some steps you can take:

1. Start simple. There are times when you have to say to yourself, “Just put one foot in front of the other.” At the end of the day, it’s better to accomplish something than nothing, even if the step you take is small.

2. Train yourself to finish what you start. Nothing is more discouraging than incomplete projects.

3. Keep the company of motivating people. Don’t spend your time with the slackers at the nurses’ station who grumble and whine. Seek out the strivers and achievers who consistently excel.

4. Keep learning. Education is increasingly vital for success as a nurse and the array of online programs now available makes it possible to fit classes into even the busiest schedule. Don’t settle for the minimum number of CEUs you need to renew your license-explore new areas and expand your skill set.

5. Choose goals that make you hungry. Try to achieve at least one thing that will be difficult but oh so satisfying. Dare to dream big. Why not become a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist or nursing instructor? Why not pursue that BSN or MSN?

6. Track you progress. Set goals and keep track of where you are with them. Break down your goals into manageable tasks and approach them systematically.

7. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. We all make them. Review what went wrong and create a learning experience. Remain optimistic.

8. Take care of yourself. Energy remains the key and you get that with regular rest, a good diet and reasonable exercise. Sadly, while nurses may lead the way in patient care, they often neglect their own health. Don’t make that mistake.