The Motivation Equation

I do love a simple tool and in this case an equation, to help me get and stay motivated. After all, if you are like me, sometimes getting motivated takes a lot of willpower, so if we can make it easy then why not?

As maths has always made me want to curl up in a ball and die, I can imagine you screaming at me, what is she on, AN EQUATION!!!

Honest bear with me on this, I recommend keeping this little beauty on your notice board and using it to see where your motivation may be waning and how to keep it strong. Honestly, this has helped me so many times when I’m just not feeling it.

After analysing hundreds of studies on motivation, leading research scientist, Piers Steele, came up with this equation to capture the essence of motivation.

M =   E x V (Numerator)

          I x D (Denominator)

 Motivation = Expectancy times Value divided by Impulsivity times Delay.


First thing to notice for us non-maths experts, if you’re after BIG Motivation, you’d better have a big numerator and a small denominator. What does that mean? We need to hike up our Expectancy and Value and drive down our Impulsivity and Delay.

Expectancy. A better word is Confidence. You have to expect that you can bring your goal to life. You have to KNOW (!!!) that you can do it.


Now, you may or may not actually achieve your goal, but you have to know in your soul that it’s not only possible but you think you can do it. If you don’t feel that, then you either need to simplify your goal until you can or build your confidence so you can.

Value. I often start here. Before I ask myself whether or not I really think I can have it, I need to ask whether I really (!) want it.

Our DESIRE needs to be extremely high. Back in the day Napoleon Hill called this a “burning desire”.


What do you want to achieve in your life? Like really, really want?

Is your motivation high?

If not, check in. Are you going after something you REALLY want? And, if so, do you REALLY believe you can have it? If not, science and my experience says that your motivation will be weak.

Tweak these two variables so they are through the roof and you’ve a shot at a very high level of sustainable motivation.

Now for the things that erode motivation.

Impulsivity. Can you focus your attention on what’s most important? Or, do you find yourself constantly distracted by the latest click bate, email alert or other shiny object? I know I can easily get distracted.

The higher your level of impulsivity, the lower your level of motivation. We need to get really good at eliminating all distractions and focussing on what will move us forward. I have switched off ALL Notifications - End Of!!.

Delay. Another great way to erode motivation is to make your goal really far off, delay doesn’t help.

There’s a Solution, however, create micro goals that give you the chance to create a constant stream of tiny wins.

A PERFECT way to fuel the fire as you crush it day in and day out.

In my experience, it’s incredibly powerful, when my motivation wanes, I love to bust out a piece of paper and write down the formula and look for little ways to optimise each variable to pump up my motivation. It works, I use this with my clients too. Try it.


Stay Focussed, Keep Positive and Choose to +1 in Every Moment. Fulfil Your Dreams and Awaken Your Greatness!

Toni Eastwood OBE, MBA #TheWomanBeyond