What exactly is self-activation? There are scholarly diatribes we could discuss about the psychology and sociological aspects of something so intricate, but let’s keep things simple for now. In that vein, self-activation is motivating yourself from within. No motivation tapes, no outside sources – just you digging down deep and getting the job done of your own merits.

Self-activation is a lot more complicated than it might seem. There are a percentage of you readers out there right now thinking something along the lines of “I can tell myself to do something if I wanted to. It’s not that hard!”

But the topic at hand isn’t about commanding yourself to go make a sandwich or take a shower. It’s about doing those hard things none of us want to do but need to do. For some people that’s cleaning out their garage, and for others it’s finally cracking open their books and settling down on that business idea they’ve been working on.

On that note, entrepreneurs should be masters of self-activation. They should be able to tell themselves to do something, do it and quickly move on to the next thing…but many new or fledgling entrepreneurs don’t have this drive yet.

First, understand it’s important to start small. You can’t jump from knowing nothing about self-activation to creating an entire business or cleaning that whole garage overnight. These strategies will help you work up to those bigger goals, as long as you keep practicing.

Writing Things Down

Sometimes it’s as simple as writing something down. When we see a to-do list written out for us, the purpose isn’t just to organize all that we need to get done during the day. The psychology involved is all about accountability – your brain is more likely to buckle down when it sees there’s a task it’s been essentially ordered to do.


Who says you need to start off with self-activation immediately? First work on your Pavlovian response to task receipt. Many apps exist that aim to work you up the rungs to achieve self-activation, but you start out with an outside entity essentially pulling all the strings. Once you’re used to taking on a to-do list app or other motivation method, take it away. Think about it like you’re riding a bike with the training wheels off for the first time. Do you fall or do you keep on riding?

Accountability Training

Sometimes what we need to motivate ourselves is to find a way to hold ourselves accountable for inaction. If you don’t accomplish what you need to do, what punishment will you bestow upon yourself. Think about setting aside a set amount of money every month. At the end of the week or day, check to see that you’ve reasonably done all that you said you would accomplish – no negotiating. If you didn’t, deduct a certain percentage. Your spending money will dwindle before your eyes unless you do what your brain is telling you to do.

Self-activation is all about conditioning, and motivating yourself doesn’t happen overnight. It may take a year before you’ve fully mastered having the mental strength and confidence required to be a self-activation master – but you know what they say. The journey of a million miles begins with a single step.