How I use “good” stress as a motivator for achieving my goals

  • Posted on May 10, 2023
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes
How I use “good” stress as a motivator for achieving my goals

Every day we have something pulling us, whether it be personal or professional. During May, we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month – and here at Avanade, our theme for the month is “From Surviving to Thriving,” which explores stress in all its many forms.

We always hear about how to handle the negative stress in our lives, but sometimes stress can be good for us. When used correctly, “good” stress – also known as eustress – can be a powerful tool and motivator for driving our performance to new heights. For example, I experience good stress when I set ambitious goals. I believe in always pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and I do so by setting clear yet challenging goals to reach for. This kind of challenge comes with stress, of course, but when managed correctly it helps me work toward bold new achievements.


To avoid burnout and negative stress, the first thing I do when I’ve identified a realistic goal is to create a plan. I break my goals down into smaller, readily achievable tasks and create steps to accomplish each one. This helps me feel more in control and less stressed or overwhelmed by the ambitious goals I’ve set. A few things that help me use “good” stress as a motivator:


  • Visualization: I visualize myself successfully achieving my goal and I imagine how I will feel when it is accomplished. This good “stress” allows me to feel confident and motivated.

  • Embracing the discomfort: Good stress can still be uncomfortable. But unlike bad stress, we can use this discomfort to remind ourselves of our goals and the positive outcome that results from working toward those goals. Discomfort is necessary because although it may not offer feelings of security, it is a necessary part of growing and making progress.

  • Celebrate the small wins: While it is important to aim for high for your big goals, I have found it is important to celebrate more modest wins – the smaller items on my plan – and recognize that those achievements are still important in working toward my long-term goals. This helps increase my motivation and momentum for attaining my ultimate objective.

  • Focusing on the positivity: Finally, focusing on positivity helps me ensure that good stress doesn’t devolve into bad stress. Instead of dwelling on the potential negative outcome of not achieving my goal and leaning into the feelings that can generate bad stress, I think of how that goal will benefit and improve my life. This helps motivate me to keep going.


Ultimately, the key is to keep your stress levels at a manageable level. Too much stress can cause burnout and other health problems. Good stress, when used correctly, can lead to healthy competition with yourself and learning how to see the positivity in embracing challenging situations. As we reflect on stress and Mental Health Awareness Month, remember that every day is a day where we should be mindful of our mental health and reduce stigma – both in May and throughout the rest of the year. 

Riley Beavers

Thank you Jackie for an informative and excellent article. I love how you focus on small wins and positivity, as motivation can take a hit with stress. Great job!

May 10, 2023

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