Ah, the key factor to any project, and also the one that’s hardest to find.

Share motivation tips that have worked for you!

One that’s really worked for me recently: Have yourself a non-zero day. This page explains it well, and I encourage you to read it, but here’s a summary:

Four steps to non-zero days:

  1. There are no more zero days. A zero day is when you don’t do a single thing towards your goal. A non zero day is as simple as doing one push-up. One isn’t zero.

  2. Be grateful to the three "you"s. There are three of you! Past you, present you, and future you. Thank past you when they do well; forgive past you when they make a mistake. Do favors for future you.

  3. Forgive yourself. You’re gonna mess up. Being disappointed in yourself for your mistakes will cause you to be less productive. Forgive yourself and look forward.

  4. Exercise and Books. Exercise is good for your body, books are good for your mind.

Again, I encourage you to read the original post - there’s so much motivation in there!

Ever since I started living non-zero days like 2 weeks ago, I’ve been getting up early, doing yardwork before work, and counting calories has been a lot easier to stick to. It ain’t a magical concept! But it really helped me a lot.


Back when I was studying Japanese to prepare for a CLEP exam for my language requirement in college, I used a motivation technique actually made my Jerry Seinfeld. It’s called the “Don’t break the chan” method. It’s a simple idea, but it really helped me stay on track with my studying.

The idea is that you get a big full year calendar and put it up on a prominent wall in your house, though in my case I kind of cheated this part and used a calendar app on the front menu of my phone. Each day you do your task and put a big red “X” on that day. Eventually you will have a long chain of “X” es and your desire to keep that chain going unbroken will keep you on task. In my case, I set a minimum amount of study time. Ideally I would do more than this, but my bare minimum was 10 minuets of vocabulary review. In this way it falls in line with Poe’s motivation technique of not having a zero day!

I genuinely credit this method as being the biggest reason why I was able to self study my way up to passing that Japanese test!