Motivational messages

What do you think of those slick posters and coffee mugs with motivational messages on them? Good tools? Too commercial?

What about spirit bottles, filled with nothing but air and a small paper with a simple sentiment, such as “love deeply” or “hang in there”? They are less slick, more down-to-earth and less inspiring perhaps. There is a debate on this over at this self confidence blog.

I have a better suggestion. The best motivational message is the one you write to yourself. I am not saying you can’t buy motivation – every sports team, every movie set, every major company knows you can. But outsourcing your motivational messages is not as effective as writing yourself a personal note, one that means something – no, everything! – to you, and placing it where it is most relevant. Depending on the note, that might be in your car, beside your bathroom mirror or even in your toolshed.

No need to spend $20 on a slick motivational message laser targeted to just you and 100,000 people who are obviously exact replicas of you. Especially if your motivational message is about controling your spending. Write your own messages and place them where they count.


  1. During a very difficult marriage (I got out 2 months ago at the end of 8 years in total), I tried exactly that, sticking messages and half-written letters telling myself how lucky I was and to think positive, and trying to boost myself up. Towards the end of the marriage, when my depression got worse but I was still trying to make the best of it, my messages got more desperate, and ended up just making me feel worse. Even now, although I am off antidepressants for the first time in 5 years, and feeling heaps better, in re-reading some of my messages while sorting out my baggage, including of the emotional kind, I find myself closing my eyes in pain and tearing them up. Even looking at them from an objective viewpoint, thinking of using it as a basis for the future and a book I am going to write, I can tell how hard I was trying and how emotionally at an edge I was. So, from own experience, I would dare advocate that it is worth paying some yen/dollars/pounds/euro if one can afford it, for something that has been cultivated to be cheerful but is neutral of emotions.

  2. Great article! I used simple note cards and wrote positive messages to myself when I was going through a rough time and believe me it worked. I posted them around my mirror and on my dashboard in my car. I still use this method for encouragement. I have taken it a step further and made my note cards a little more colorful. But it is a great idea and much cheaper than buying something at the store. Thanks for the article.

  3. I think a book of affirmations is great tool for motivation, because they are less commercial than mass produced mugs.

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