We’ve got this whole motivation thing backwards…

Are you waiting for your motivation to kick in before you commit to something? You want to start exercising. You want to eat more fruits and vegetables. You want to get stronger. You want to feel better about yourself. You figure that whatever kick-ass thing you imagine yourself doing will get done…

…once you are motivated enough, right?

That might work but chances are if you’re waiting for motivation to spark you into action, you’re going to be waiting a long time.


That’s because we’ve got it all backwards! By waiting for motivation to drive us to action we end up doing waaaaaay more procrastinating and waaaaaay less of the things that help us become better humans. Procrastination (in the name of waiting for motivation) on our health and fitness goals could be:

  • waiting for tomorrow/Monday/January/our birthday to start being awesome-er
  • mulling over the perfect workout (hint: showing up is the most important thing)
  • waiting for things to calm down at work/the kids to get older/until we’re less busy
  • being all-or-nothing ’cause somewhere in the middle is pretty damn good

I think a big part of the mix-up comes from the tendency to imagine our future selves as more motivated than our current selves. Starting on Monday I am going to be this super-dedicated workout person who loves eating veggies! While I’m not denying that we can become that person we need to take steps (ahem, action) in order to get there. So, what do we need to do to become the best version of ourselves?

We need to stop waiting for motivation and just take action.

Seriously, take action.

Do something.

Anything, really.

You don’t need to start with the “best” thing you could possibly do — in fact, jumping into the deep end usually backfires. Instead, just start with whatever it is you can do right now with the tools that you happen to have.

Dr. David Burns, author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, explains that action inspires action. Doing something that moves us toward what we want “primes the pump” and actually gives us motivation to continue taking action. Tackling a smaller hurdle builds momentum and gives us more confidence in our abilities which helps us repeat the action or even take a bigger step next time.

It could be anything, such as:

  • 5 minutes of exercise a day
  • eat vegetables at dinner tonight
  • get dressed in your gym clothes
  • drink water instead of pop or juice
  • walk to work instead of driving

What does the best version of yourself do every day? That should give you lots of potential actions to work with.



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