science of happiness | dopamine | wellbeing blog

The Science of Happiness 5: Motivation & Persistence

Embarking on the journey towards happiness often involves the pursuit of various desires and goals.

However, the path is seldom a straight line, and obstacles may test your motivation and persistence along the way. In this installment of the “Science of Happiness” series, we explore the challenges and offer practical tools to navigate them.

Lack of Motivation and Persistence

science of happiness | dopamine | motivation and persistence | wellbeing blog

When you have a desire, you usually try to pursue it. But if you won’t achieve your goal after making several attempts, it is natural to give up.

For example, if you are making efforts at work but they are overlooked, and you don’t receive the acknowledgment that you desire, it can reduce your motivation, and after a while, you may even change the job and the company.

If you are trying to lose weight by controlling your eating behavior and exercising but don’t see results, giving up your diet and exercise is natural.

Anxiety, fear of failure, perfectionism, and procrastination are common and affect motivation and persistence.

Some simple tools can help you stay motivated to achieve your goals.

Natural Motivation Boosters

To keep yourself motivated, you need to be well-rested and fit.

For this, you need:

  • Sound sleep to rest, recover, and process the information from the previous day
  • Exposure to sunlight during the day and avoiding any lights at night to correctly set your internal rhythms and boost your energy and motivation: You are probably familiar with the peak in motivation in the summertime.
  • Movement and exercise that strengthen your muscles and also increase your energy
  • Foods and supplements supporting your brain: Consider that specific compounds and supplements increase motivation, for example, caffeine and the amino acid L-tyrosine. But this increase is very short and is followed by a motivation dip. It is worth mentioning that taking Melatonin supplements reduces motivation levels.
  • Regular, deliberate cold exposure, e.g., cold showers or ice baths, increases motivation sustainably.
  • Controlling and eliminating the do-something-now urges that dysregulate motivation and persistence
  • Positive and meaningful social connections and interactions: they stimulate and increase the overall level of motivation.

Setting Manageable Tasks and Goals

The first solution is setting manageable tasks or splitting large tasks into chunks or sub-tasks into manageable pieces.

Suppose you want to create a habit of exercising and set a goal of exercising daily. In such a case, it is easier to focus on just one week and then another week until you see that you have managed to exercise regularly for a month.

The same works for improving your eating pattern. Instead of promising to eat well from now on, it is easier to plan to eat well for a week; after that, for another week until you create a strong habit of healthy eating.

Visible realistic goal

It is crucial also to allow yourself and plan regular rest days in between.

Acknowledging Your Wins

Another effective way of supporting your motivation is recognizing your wins. Regularly recognize, acknowledge, and occasionally celebrate even small wins.

This requires your attention and awareness, as it does not happen automatically. Your unconscious mind is preoccupied with protecting you. So, it is focused on anything negative, any threat of physical and emotional pain. Therefore, positive information is seen as irrelevant and passes by unnoticed.

The bigger your goal, the more you need to be aware of the intermediate progress that you have achieved.

Acknowledging Taking Action

Giving yourself recognition for taking action is essential even if you don’t achieve the desired result. This is crucial because you may put 100% into doing something essential and valuable to you but don’t achieve the expected results that may not depend only on your actions.

This can be the case, especially if the goal is difficult and you are starting something new and challenging. This is when you want to recognize the mere taking the first hard steps, not only the achievement and not at all the perfection of it.

Accepting and learning from your failures, also called mistakes, isn’t emphasized enough. But it is consistent efforts and persistence that eventually lead you to success and fulfillment of pursuing goals, dreams, and visions that matter to you.


Awareness of the efforts and their recognition is different from rewarding yourself.


Rewarding yourself for your efforts and achievements should be done occasionally. It is shown scientifically that rewarding for little effort or often rewards temporarily decreases motivation.

Creating awareness about your efforts acts against self-belittling. And self-belittling is based on negative beliefs that decrease your motivation and limit your life.

So, regular self-reflection and self-recognition generate and support your motivation.

Hypnotherapy can be of priceless value in understanding and overcoming the lack of motivation and persistence. Book a free discovery call with me to talk about your personal situation and needs and how my services can support you:

Conclusions: Motivation and Persistence

In the pursuit of happiness, motivation and persistence are indispensable companions. 

By incorporating natural motivation boosters, breaking tasks into manageable goals, and building awareness of achievements, you empower yourself to overcome challenges. 

Remember, it’s the journey. The awareness of efforts and the tenacity to learn from failures propel you toward lasting happiness. 

Continue the journey with us as we uncover more facets of the Science of Happiness in the next post:


  • Loretta Graziano Breuning, Habits Of A Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels. EAN 9781440590504  16.12.2015, 238 pages
  • Touroutoglou A, Andreano J, Dickerson BC, Barrett LF. The tenacious brain: How the anterior mid-cingulate contributes to achieving goals. Cortex. 2020 Feb;123:12-29. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2019.09.011. Epub 2019 Oct 9. PMID: 31733343; PMCID: PMC7381101. 

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