Get Over Your Motivation Problems – 3 steps

Yesterday when I woke, I drank my liquid wake up potion, and headed to my workout room to get that started. It was supposed to be a simple workout – one that I had done before & it would be over in 30 minutes.

But yesterday the weight felt heavier than it usually does. My body didn’t move as well as it usually does.  My push-ups and planks were harder. Everything just seemed so difficult.

For some, this could have been permission to stop because I just didn’t ‘feel it’.

I think that most people believe that we have to be motivated to exercise. Like every day I get up, jump out of bed with a smile on my face, and greet the day with a Tony the Tiger, “I Feel GGGRRRRRREEEAAT! I’m going to do lift weights with my TEETH!”

Yeah – no.

That doesn’t happen. I don’t even know what that means.

I think that most people think that once they make a goal, that this is it. They’re going to be motivated enough to carry that goal through.  From this point forward, they are now going to be suddenly motivated to exercise, or eat vegetables, or cook, or whatever it is.

That’s a bunch of bullsh*t.

Take action, and you will generate your own motivation.

There are three myths about exercise and good nutrition — and good habits in general:

  • You have to be inspired
  • You should always be motivated
  • Fit Pros are always motivated

Action before motivation

We assume that motivation and inspiration come before action.

Sometimes that’s true. Most of the time though, it’s not.

I think that motivation can get us to set the first goal, or point us in the right direction, but motivation and inspiration alone can’t carry us through to the end.

In our day-to-day actions and decisions, action often occurs before motivation – the state of mind that we think we need to have. We all try to rely on motivation and inspiration to get and keep us going.

As Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon says:

Motivation and inspiration are like cats: They’re fickle in their affections, and they tend to disappear when you want them around.

You can’t depend on cats. Nor can you depend on motivation and inspiration.

So, if you can’t count on motivation and inspiration, how can you instill any change in your life?

There are 3 things that you want to do to help yourself reinforce your goals and healthy actions:


Having and using your calendar to figure out when you’re going to get things done. Whatever your new habit is going to be, when are you going to do it? Write it down in your planner.

I schedule my workouts first thing in the morning. I’ve found that I NEED to do this because I am not immune to the i-dont-want-to-do-its. I don’t always feel like working out. There are many days that, just like you, I’d just rather not.

By scheduling my workouts first thing in the morning, I have found that I don’t talk myself out of it. First thing, I’m still in a zombie state, and I get it done & over with, and nothing gets in the way later on.

At this point, it’s an ingrained part of my day & if I don’t exercise first thing in the morning, I feel a little off.


In my newsletter last week, and other blog posts, I wrote about changing your environment to be successful in new behaviors. Doing things like eating off of smaller plates, and not having food sitting out on counters will both help you eat less.

I have some workout equipment in my house so that I can exercise when I’m crunched for time and can’t afford the travel time to get to the gym. I used to have a HUGE set-up, but I sold it because if it was too convenient. I wasn’t blocking out time to workout (using my schedule). Although going to the gym is less convenient, I found that it allowed me to be more productive in my workouts because I didn’t want tot be there, so I’d get it done & leave. By working out at home, it was too convenient to quit.


These are your behaviors that support your habits. One example of this might be going to the grocery store once a week, and performing bulk meal prep when you have time. So, those behaviors that set you up for success later on.

In the evening, I have a routine where I set out my clothes, shoes, get the coffee maker ready, and put out any other things that I need in the morning so that I don’t have to go hunting for them. The more obvious/in-your-face my things are, the more likely I am to do them, and also it sets a better tone for the day – creating a more relaxed start.

These three things: Schedule, Environment, and Processes are ways that you can override your motivation. They’re ways that you can get yourself half-way to the starting point. It’s difficult to argue with yourself when it’s all set up and laid out for you to complete.

So, to get back to the question, What did I do yesterday? Did I give up? Or soldier on?

Well, I was already there. I had my three systems in place – and showing up is more than half the battle. I figured that I owed it to myself to at least try. And often, in strength training, it just takes a bit of movement to get the blood flowing, and get in the groove.

On days that I ‘don’t wanna’, I give myself 10 minutes. I have to do whatever I had planned for 10 minutes. If, after the 10 minutes is up, I give myself permission to stop, pack up & go home. But I at least have to start.

Most of the time, when I use this method, it’s just the amount of time that I need to start moving and feel good.

There have been some times, though, that I have quit. Most of the time, I do what I had set out to accomplish.

Yesterday, though, I split the difference. My workout was supposed to last 30 minutes. 20 minutes would be my minimum, so I compromised with 25 minutes.

Will 5 minutes make a difference in the grand scheme of my health? no. Even if I had stopped after the first 5, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

But, it was a hell of a lot better than giving up & not doing it at all.

And consistency is the thing that really matters. And by being consistent in my strength training program, and seeing small, incremental results, I get more and more motivated to see what I can do today.

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