A DBT Skill To Feel Motivated and Confident

November 6, 2015 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

It is hard to feel motivated sometimes but you can feel motivated and confident with this dialectical behavior therapy skill, or DBT skill. Confidence can take a hit when we are feeling unmotivated and uninspired, leading to a bleak view about ourselves and the world we live in. Building mastery is a DBT skill that helps you feel a sense of confidence in control with your surroundings and within yourself. Essentially it means doing things that make you feel accomplished, whether getting better at something you already feel confident about or learning something new. It's a great DBT skill to use when you want to feel more motivated and confident but just don't know where to start.

When you feel depressed or anxious it is difficult to feel motivated and confident. It can be exhausting to move out of the mindset that you're currently in. But, I have good news for you. Building mastery means doing anything you can see yourself improving at (or gaining mastery over).

This DBT Skill Will Help You Feel Motivated and Confident Even on Bad Days

This DBT skill can help you feel motivated and confident even small tasks feel too hard. Break out of your unmotivated mind-set with this DBT skill. Read this.

For me, when I'm feeling stuck in a rut or unmotivated, every day feels like Groundhog Day. It's uneventful, I focus on the negative and don't get much done. I don't feel as confident in myself because I'm just focusing on the mundane tasks or trying to get through the day. This totally impacts my confidence and my mood.

If you're not feeling motivated, even daily tasks can seem overwhelming. Building mastery doesn’t have to be a huge task. Sometimes it’s as simple as making yourself dinner or responding to an email. If you’re really struggling with your emotions, starting with some of these smaller things can build up confidence to remind you that you are capable, which then gives you the motivation to move on to larger things.

You may be thinking, "Emily, I don't have the energy for this."

I hear ya, and I know you have the energy for some of it. Start here: What are your goals or intentions? If it's to feel better than you do in this moment, that's awesome. It could be to get out of bed, take a shower or finally tackle that project you've wanted to accomplish for years. Identify what is driving you to do the smallest thing. It could be to add in more self-care, get in shape, feel more organized, learn a language or take your medication or supplements each day.

This DBT Skill Motivates You by Accomplishing Small Tasks

Next, do anything that builds mastery. It doesn't have to be regarding the goal above. It could be that you do something that makes you feel more in control of your life. For one of my clients, even if she didn't get her homework done, she would try and do one thing to make her feel in control and confident, such as take her medication or eat a healthy meal. After she does this (yay), she often feels motivated, realizing that she is doing something that makes her confident and in control, also known as, building mastery. So another tiny step forward, such as 15 minute of homework, doesn't seem as challenging.

This DBT skill can help you feel motivated and confident even small tasks feel too hard. Break out of your unmotivated mind-set with this DBT skill. Read this.Later that same day, this young woman decided to organize medication in her weekly pill box and put it in her book bag. The homework came next and she didn't finish it all that day, it took time, but she was able to feel more motivated and confident after doing these tasks.

If you are getting overwhelmed with the big goal, don't focus on it. In fact, do something totally different.

Another one of my clients is applying for jobs. The goal is to get a job. Sometimes it can be too much. When that happens I help her look at another area of her life she wants to build mastery in, such as cleaning her apartment or organizing her room. Just taking 10 minutes to see how many articles of clothing she can put away can help her feel motivated and in a more confident mindset to then move towards job searching again.

How do you build mastery and feel motivated in your life, even on rough days? Try breaking big goals into small, achievable ones and you will feel more confident and in control of your life.

Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2015, November 6). A DBT Skill To Feel Motivated and Confident, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

November, 7 2015 at 10:57 am

I've been told I am a high functioning bipolar because I've managed to hang on to a job working 34 years for the same organization. Something that I'm particularly proud of. At work I feel energized (for the most part) and motivated. It's something I am passionate about. It gives me purpose and fills my need for socialization but by the time I get home from work I'm burnt out and just want to vegetate. I'm desperate for some peace and quiet. At home I often struggle to do simple basics like making dinner, doing housework, etc. All I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep.
I am two years away from retirement now and I worry about what I am going to do to fill my time. What will be my motivation to even get out of bed by then?
Stress and anxiety have often loomed large throughout my life and and at times it can get the best of me (I'm not a particularly patient person) so I am always looking for ways to master these difficulties or at least make them less of a problem in my life
I come from a long line of artistic family members although art is not something I have ever really taken much of an interest in that is until lately
Recently I've started colouring. Yes, colouring. When I was in hospital it was one of the few things we were given to do to pass the day (at the time it felt degrading to play with wax crayons, like I was in kindergarten or something but I was bored and it gave me something to do) and then there was another time when I had just completed a mental health day program when I was given a bouquet of crayons which I thought was inappropriate for an adult. It made me upset so I gave them back. Needless to say colouring was low on my list of things to do before
But lately when I was wandering through a bookstore I came across some very beautifully illustrated colouring books for adults so I bought one. Then I found myself going to an art store and buying some professional grade pencil crayons. I started experimenting with colour and shading and was pleasantly surprised with the out come.
These colouring books were first popularized in Europe and have now come to North America. I particularly enjoy the ones by Millie Marotta. They are promoted as a creative, mindful (as in DBT) relaxing outlet.
Since then I have gone back to the art store a couple of times and have been looking into other artistic endeavours such as drawing, painting, etc. I may even take some art classes in the future. I think I may have found my passion and with a little more experience I'm sure my confidence will greatly improve.
I look forward to the weekends now when I can spend more time experimenting with the different art forms. It has become almost an obsession for me
As for my housework, well... It has never been one of my favourite things to do anyway, so who really cares, certainly not me. It'll eventually get done when I can find the time. And as for eating out or making dinner... I won't be able to eat out as much when I retire and if I skip a meal because I don't feel like making myself something to eat it won't be the end of the world... I can certainly afford to loose a few pounds

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