13 Motivational Videos To Get You Pumped Up and Back On Track

13 Motivational Videos To Get You Pumped Up and Back On Track

Looking for a jolt of inspiration? 

There’s nothing like a good motivational video to get you fired up for your day.

I know that when I’m feeling a little off (or lazy, uninspired, or like chucking all my goals), it can be hard to pull myself back on track. I have lots of little tricks – journaling, getting outside, working out – but sometimes even those tricks don’t work.

That’s when I go in search of motivational videos. 

If you’re having one of those days, at least one (and maybe all) of these videos will help pull you back on-course.

1. Make The Choice For Toughness

Lesson: when it comes right down to it, success is a matter of heart, and if you have the heart, you have the will to succeed.

Duncan Keith definitely exemplifies this. He trains hard (mind, body, and spirit), eats clean … and he shows that he definitely pushes past the pain/discomfort to get the job done.

It’s all about making good choices, whether or not things are going your way.

2. Change Your Thoughts to Change Your Life

Do you lack motivation? Or find it hard to stay motivated?

What if motivation isn’t the real issue? Our brains are not wired to like change – in fact, change might even go against our survival instincts.

Here’s how to make a mindset shift and retrain your brain for success.

3. Define Your Strengths, Define Your Life

Misty Copeland is the first African-American female principal dancer for the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, after overcoming early rejection.

Her story is always so compelling!

4. A Single Choice Can Change Your Life

How Henry Rollins went from being an assistant manager at a Haagen-Dazs shop to becoming the lead singer of Black Flag.

“I don’t have talent, I have tenacity,” he says, adding that he knows he has to “watch, shut up, and learn” to succeed.

5. Be The Hero(ine)

There are so many great Joe Rogan motivational videos it was hard to pick just one, but this is a classic.

Your life is a movie … be the hero, not just a supporting character.

6. Be Good, Treat Others Well, and Treat Yourself Well Too

You already know what you need to do.There’s no magic involved.

Just do it. 

Still not sure? Joe breaks it down for you in simple, easy-to-follow steps.

7. Destiny Is Calling You: Are You Gonna Answer?

This compilation from Oprah teaches that “failure” isn’t really failure. Instead, it’s an opportunity to correct your course so you can move closer to your best life.

She says each feeling of failure, loss, or unease is a cue to move in another direction.

8. Here’s Where You Find Your Motivation

Most of us wait for motivation to strike, but here’s the thing: it rarely just shows up for us.

Retired Navy SEAL and podcaster Jocko Willink says you can’t just “turn on” motivation, drive, or passion.

Instead, he says it boils down to your reason why, and he outlines how to discover that.

9. Find Your Greatness 

What is greatness, and who can achieve it?

Where does greatness live, and what does it look like?

Here’s a series of playful videos from Nike. (Don’t try the pogo stick trick. Ever!)

10. Still I Rise

In this video, tennis great Serena Williams reads the powerful poem “Still I Rise,” by Maya Angelou.

11. Be Unconventional

Uncommon habits, unpredictable results.

Skiing legend Bode Miller talks about how he pushes his limits through unorthodox means.

12. Celebrate Your Life

In this compilation video, women from across the world talk about finding pride and self-confidence in the face of adversity – often when their cultures didn’t encourage it.

They share inspirational stories of overcoming amazing odds.

13. The Power of the Solitary Traveler

This video talks about the challenges of solo endeavors, of overcoming and achieving goals on one’s own.

Using inspirational quotes, it outlines how the hardest walks lead to the highest destinations – and if you work hard,  the right people will show up in your life, and you won’t always be a lone wolf.

What are YOU going to achieve?

How do you stay motivated? Do you have any favorite videos? I’d love to see them.

If this post pumped you up, I’d appreciate a like or a share. 🙂 Thanks!

Here’s How to Take a Real Fitness Vacation

These are the stairs to my place. Awesome, huh?

Sometimes yes they are (built-in workout!), sometimes no they are not (carrying tons of stuff).

The truth is, even though I climb them probably 10 to 12 times a day, I never really give them a second thought. Or maybe it’s because I climb up them so much that I rarely think about those 28 steps (plus landing).

I did think about them today, though. And what I thought wasn’t so good.

Post-leg-workout, I found myself juggling a heavy gym bag, two bags of groceries, a bag of dog food, a water bottle, and a dog on a leash …  oh, and let’s not forget the DD blackberry fruited iced tea I’ve recently become addicted to. 

Standing at the bottom of the stairs, trying not to let anything drop, I decided it was probably prudent to pay attention to what I was doing. Because, you know, #safety.

When I’m in autopilot multi-tasking mode, things tend to go wrong. I end up dropping the water (or iced tea) all over myself, one of the super-thin grocery bags rips, or the dog decides something smelled really good two stairs back and she just HAS to backtrack and check it out.

So this morning, before attempting the summit, I let the dog off her leash, rearranged all my belongings, and looked up to see exactly what I was dealing with.

And I was like: Woah. Those are some stairs!

Suddenly, climbing them seemed like it was going to be a lot of work, and I felt kinda bad for my little dog, because based strictly on the size differential, it takes a lot more effort for her to scramble up them than it does for me.

It was a little jolting, to be honest.

Perspective

Do you ever find yourself in a rut on autopilot, motoring along with your eyes straight ahead (or if you’re me, IN your own head)? When you’re in this mode, you don’t notice a lot of what is happening around you. And you might even THINK you’re seeing the entire landscape … but you’re wrong.

You think you’re safe, you’re doing the “right” thing, and that your path (rut) is where you’re supposed to be. But then … the universe announces that it has some significant other plans for you.

Plans you’re not so sure about.

I dunno about you, but at least for me, so far it’s been a wacky year. Until pretty recently I was just traveling along in my rut. I wasn’t necessarily happy in that rut, and I also didn’t know how to get out of it, so I just kind of numbed out.

But then things I never expected to happen have happened … and they’ve had an affect on me far beyond what I would have imagined.

Among other things, a family member died, and then another one passed away shortly afterward. Plus, a company for which I did a significant amount of contract work phased out a huge portion of its business, leaving me in a scramble mode. 

And, let’s face it, the world is just kinda weird right now, and it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s fake.

All of those things left me kind of reeling. They have forced me to step back and reassess … just as I did this morning, with the stairs … but here’s the thing.

They also made me realize that the eyes I use to see things with probably don’t see things the way they truly are.

None of us do. We see things a certain way because of how we were raised, our education, events in our lives, where we live, the people with whom we surround ourselves, and even our ever-changing biochemistry.

I remember one of my science teachers explained how there are things we know, things we don’t know, and there is even more stuff that we don’t know we don’t know.

And it’s that stuff that we don’t know we don’t know … the stuff we are too myopic in our daily lives to ever notice … that really goof us up.

Take a Fitness Vacation

What does this have to do with fitness/wellness/health/mindset? 

EVERYTHING!

You will not change … and neither will your physique or your health numbers … unless you get out of your rut … and out of your comfort zone. 

Do you do the same kind of workouts every week? The same resistance workouts, the same weights, the same cardio, using the same-old, same-old formula? What about your diet? Are you getting the results – the life-long results – that you want?

Or maybe you’re not doing any of those things, because you just can’t seem to get moving.

Here’s a radical idea. TRY SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT before the universe decides it for you. Intentionally knock your plan out of autopilot for a little while and see what happens. 

Try a different workout – a dance class? Hike a mountain? How about sprints at the track? Mountain biking through the carriage trails? Maybe do a stairclimbing workout? (Hehheh: important tip: never run DOWN stairs.)

Or maybe say: For this week only, every day I will go for a walk or do some kind of movement for 30 minutes, and I will see how I feel at the end of the week. One of my Facebook friends just did this with running, and he posted about how great he felt for having stuck with his goal.

Maybe you could decide to get rid of all sugar in your diet for a day or two, just to see what it’s like. You could tell yourself that for one week, no matter how much your mind tells you otherwise, you’ll eat at least one salad a day, or go without nighttime snacking, or replace your coffee addiction with green tea.

New Ways of Seeing

You know how when you go on vacation, you can get a helpful shift in perspective, because of the new things you’re seeing/doing?

Go on a little detour with your plan – try something different.

Be brave! Intentionally hop out of that rut and see what the landscape looks like. It doesn’t have to be a big “thing” or huge production. 

Mix it up. Because you never know when the universe is gonna decide to mix it up for you.

Let me know what you’re going to do to mix things up in the comments below!

How to Create a Fitness Plan That Works like Magic

How to Create a Fitness Plan That Works like Magic

Are you a planner? Or do you like to fly by the seat of your pants, letting life unfold spontaneously?

My natural inclination is to let things unfold – and many times, listening to my gut has put me in the right place at the right time. If you’re like me, you probably can think of several incredible opportunities in your life that seemed to magically appear – as if they were “meant to be.”

But when it’s been time to actually make that magic happen – to meet the challenge of those opportunities head-on – I’m most successful when I buckle down and follow a specific plan.

For instance, when I decided to compete in figure shows, I followed a step-by-step plan for my workouts and my diet. 

When I landed a book deal I was completely unprepared for (long story, but definitely part of letting things unfold), I had to create a detailed plan to get it written … in a month … while still managing to train some clients.

And one more: when I suddenly found myself out on my ass from a business partnership, and an unexpected new opportunity for my own business unfolded in front of me, I had to figure out how to make it work, and that required a plan.

Make the Plan, Work the Plan

This morning, after spending a sleepless night fretting about some long-term stressors, I wrote a step-by-step plan to finally eliminate them.

It’s a pretty awesome plan, if I do say so myself.

But here’s the truth. I’m not sure it’s much different than some of the other awesome plans I’ve got tucked away in notebooks on the bookshelf next to my desk.

Here’s the thing about plans:

  • They are a map to get you from where you are now, to where you want to go.
  • Having that map – a structure – is comforting.
  • Writing a plan makes you feel like you’re doing something toward your goals.
  • Nothing is going to actually happen unless you actually follow the plan.

That’s right: it all comes down to action. Checking the to-dos off your plan is the only way that plan is actually going to ever work.

Otherwise, nothing is going to change. And also, if you keep changing your plan before it has a chance to get traction, you’re going to stay stuck.

Action is Everything

How do I know this?

Because of those unfollowed plans tucked away in my notebooks. 

Why didn’t I follow those plans? Who the heck knows. 

Maybe they seemed overwhelming or like too much work. Maybe they interrupted the status quo. Maybe I didn’t “want” the outcome badly enough. Maybe I wanted to take a nap or eat a cookie.

Or if you believe in predestination, etc., it wasn’t “my time” to follow them.

Anyway, chances are you’ve done the same thing. 

There’s just one simple difference between the time you actually follow the plan and the time you don’t.

It’s not that complicated. In fact, it’s very simple – there’s no magic involved.

You commit to the plan. You decide to follow it even if you don’t feel like it all the time.

It goes like this:

  • You make a good plan. 
  • You follow it for a specific period of time. 
  • And then at the end of that time if it isn’t working the way you want it to, you revise it.
  • And you rinse and repeat until you reach your goal.

You continue doing that, even if you don’t feel like it on some days.

Winners vs. Not-Winners

I’ve been lucky to watch people achieve some pretty incredible things.

I’ve coached people for bodybuilding shows and through successful weight-loss journeys. I’ve had numerous friends train for and complete marathons and MMA fights. I’ve worked with young athletes driven to succeed in their particular sport.

I’ve also sat on the sidelines as I’ve watched entrepreneurs grow their businesses and peers build successful careers. 

None of that stuff just “happens.”

Nearly every single time, all of those achievements have come about when those people put in the work, even when they would have rather been doing something else.

They’ve been alone in the gym grinding through a workout. They’ve stayed up at night, tapping away at their computer keyboards. They’ve run miles before we’ve woken up, and they’ve made phone calls while others waited for people to just show up.

They know today what they will be doing tomorrow. They know tomorrow what they will be doing next week.

They tune out the naysayers, and focus on the finish line.

And at preset intervals, they assess their progress toward that finish line and, if necessary, make minor changes in their plans to help get them there faster.

That Thing About ‘Adulting’

This isn’t easy. 

One of the biggest challenges as an adult is that you often don’t have someone standing over you, making sure you do all the things you need to in order to be successful.

Chances are, no one stands over you in the morning to make sure you get up early enough to complete your morning routine. No one’s cooking you three square meals a day. At work you might have a supervisor who oversees your daily activities, but anything extra? That’s all on you.

In the past, I’ve used coaches to help me. Sometimes having a coach has worked for me, and other times I skipped out on them (and, yes, on myself, too). And I’ve worked with clients who no-showed on me, too, when they were struggling with following their plans.

So, basically, there are two choices. You do, or you do not do. 

And once you decide to do, actually do what it takes to get it done.

The results? They’re kind of magical.

Being Present When Your Late Father Drops By (or Vice Versa)

Being Present When Your Late Father Drops By (or Vice Versa)

Today is the last day of the “be present” challenge in my Facebook group. And as a result, today’s post is a little bit (or a lot) stream of consciousness, so bear with me, please.

Basically, this challenge is all about getting out of our heads – out of dwelling in the past or worrying about the future – and living in the now.

And it’s been good. In fact, this now-ness is something I’ve been especially mindful of over the past year. Because, not to be all cliche about it, but “now” is all we really have, yes?

But today … oy vey, today.

First, I had strange dreams last night, which made my sleep weird. My father (who died 32 years ago)  made a little drive-by appearance in my dream just before I woke up. Now, I am not one who dreams often about people who have passed away, so this was a little shocking.

I didn’t get to see him up-close, but I was aware that he was around. And come to find out, he had left a message for me at the front desk at the hotel we had been staying at in my dream. 

And this message was mostly gibberish, and the clerk hadn’t even been going to give it to me because it made no sense, but I insisted:

Sinka inka dinka do 

Sooner or later we all sink.

Which had me like, “What?”

And I woke up late and was preoccupied, which put me behind schedule, and I ended up hurrying to the training studio. The good news about my in-person work is that it requires me to be 100 percent present. I trained some clients and taught County Heat Live class. 

During the class though, I kept thinking: “inka-dinka-do.” Like, I’d heard that before, but I didn’t know where or how.

After class, I ran an errand and then stopped by Starbucks for an iced latte (my Saturday treat!), before heading back home. And basically as soon as I sat down to enjoy my latte, the cat knocked it onto the floor and it spilled everywhere.

Seriously: there was ice coffee on the carpet, I found an ice cube 10 feet away (in another room!), the cat freaked out and knocked over some more stuff, and the dog went into hiding.

And things kind of just fell apart from there. When you’re tired, it’s really hard to be present, because your brain gets fussy. And man, was I ever fussy.

I stayed that way for several hours, despite all my oh-so-serious efforts to be PRESENT.

Then the Dog Started Whining

And I’d just walked her an hour earlier, and there were about 15 more things I had to do on my list before 5:30 p.m. rolled around, and I didn’t have time to take her for another walk, but …

I did anyway.

She’s an energetic dog so I try to let her off-leash as much as possible, and that requires running up a steep snowbank. I got a head start and leaped up the hill, just barely missing stepping on this leaf.

And it was so pretty I had to stop and look. And it made me think of the leaves of the Bodhi tree that the Buddha was sitting under when he became enlightened. 

Gold Bodhi leaf skeleton

Now, I’ve always loved Bodhi leaves. In fact, I used to have them in nearly every room in one form or another. This wasn’t intentional, it was just something that had happened.

There are no Bodhi leaves my life now. As the dog and I were heading back home, I started to think about that … and if I should get some, and blahblahblah.

And then: inka-dinka-do. Wasn’t it a children’s song? 

I was pretty sure it was.

As I recall, my dad had really weird musical taste – if you could even call it music. He was more of a computer/science/math kind of guy. But he got a big kick out of things like Spike Jones (basically sound effects along with big band music), or novelty songs like “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

Anyway. Inka Dinka Doo. Jimmy Durante. Totally up his alley. 

And that made me smile. Because how can you not smile and listen that song?

I’m not ready to start thinking about the “sooner or later we all sink” portion of the message. That’s another thought for another day.

But for now, I’m going to smile and say, Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

(You’re welcome to join the Facebook group. Just click here.)

That Time I Let a Friend Taunt Me Into Doing 54 Burpees

That Time I Let a Friend Taunt Me Into Doing 54 Burpees

So, my birthday was a couple weeks ago. It was no big deal, because I’ve reached the age where birthdays aren’t something I celebrate all that heartily. 

I mean, I don’t necessarily dread them, but I’m clearly in the, “WTF? I’m that old? How did that happen?” range.

It’s kind of like I’m not yet old enough to just be happy to have the privilege of being “old,” but I am old enough to worry whether I’m going to be among that crew. (Clearly, I’ve given this a lot of thought, right?)

Anyway, every year I try to do a birthday workout – usually it’s a toughie. But this year, my birthday fell on a day when I normally teach a cardio class (Country Heat Live, which is a blast, even if you don’t like country music <raise your hand if you’re with me on that!>).

And I really didn’t want to put myself through a big workout on a day I had to teach.

So I thought: meh. I don’t need a birthday workout this year. Seriously, it’s just another day, right?

But then the next day rolled around, and I was feeling a little depressed and maybe even slightly sorry for myself. (It happens, and I am going to blame the excess birthday cake I might have eaten.)

Which led me to decide to do a workout. And I came up with one I could do at home, with equipment I had on-hand – a kettlebell, a kitchen chair, and a resistance tube. It was a pretty good one, so I posted it in a Facebook group I belong to with a few of my long-time friends.

And one of my friends coughMariecough posted something along the lines of: “I notice there are no burpees in there.” She was just giving me a hard time, because that’s what we do … but still.

 

And Then the Peer Pressure Set In

It was true. There weren’t any burpees in the workout. Over the past few years, I’ve battled a shoulder injury that was so bad at times I couldn’t sleep or even put on/take off a T-shirt without cringing in pain. Like, I have literally changed my wardrobe because of it. And also my workouts.

In fact, a lot of times I didn’t want to work out because it hurt … a lot. But because I’m a personal trainer I didn’t want to admit I was in pain, you know?

But you know what? Over the past few months my shoulder has gradually gotten better. A few weeks earlier, I’d tested the waters by doing 5 burpees and it wasn’t bad. And I had tried doing some pushups (from my knees, yes, but still …).

And so I wondered if maybe I was just babying myself by not including burpees.

Or, I thought, maybe I was being smart.

I wasn’t going to let that burpee thing get into my head, was I?

Of Course I Was

So I turned on the TV – E!’s Red Carpet to the Grammys – and started the workout, which featured 3 sets of 18 reps of a bunch of exercises (the whole thing is below if you want to do it – it’s a good one!).

And honestly, it wasn’t what I would call a killer workout. I mean, I felt like I had done something, but was it birthday-worthy?

Not really. Because a birthday workout should be something momentous, something to mark an occasion.

And I kept thinking about what my friend had written. Halfway through the second set, I wondered: should I tack on a burpee finisher?

No, I thought. No I shouldn’t. Don’t be silly.

But as I began the final circuit of the workout, I realized that I kind of had to do the burpees. Because the thought was there, and if I didn’t do them, I’d feel like I’d wussed out.

So after I finished the 540 reps (actually more than that, if you count the “each side” reps), I decided to end the workout with a “one to grow on” set.

And that set consisted of …

54 burpees.

Considering I’ve not done 54 burpees in total since May 2015, when my shoulder injury occurred .. well, this decision might have been labeled crazy.

But it wasn’t.

It actually was really awesome.

With my dog and two cats looking on, I counted out all 54 burpees (the no-pushup variety, because I do value the progress my shoulder has made).

I don’t know how long it took me, but it was less than one segment of the E! show I had on in the background.

Happy Birthday to Me

These burpees were a huge birthday gift for myself.

Because I could do them – and honestly, they weren’t that hard. 

They was a gift because the last year has been rough. Not to belabor a point, but splitting from my business partnership was a heart-wrenching decision as it meant walking out on a decade’s worth of hard work with very little to show for it. I lost friends, people questioned my motives (and my character) without asking me, and I heard so much gossip.

When you add that on top of the injured shoulder and some other stuff, I had lost my “strong” feeling.

And all of that made me question myself – which I think ultimately is a valuable experience. Because in the words of Dr. Phil, it makes you “get real.”

And you know what? I’ve come out of all of it even stronger … and I’m really excited to see what’s next because I know I’m ready for it.

Happy Frickin’ Birthday! Yay! #notironic

Are You Ready for a Challenge?

The burpees are optional … (click and save this image to your phone for easy access)

Try it and let me know how it goes!

Also, be sure to join my Facebook group … click this link and get daily inspiration, challenges, recipes, and more!

How to Stay Motivated

How to Stay Motivated

Do you ever feel like the job is just too big?

Say you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape … or pay off your debts or repair a relationship. Maybe you want to start a new business, build a house, or overthrow the government (I kid!).

But sometimes it seems like the task is too much.

It will take too long. There are too many hassles and roadblocks. And you’re not sure exactly how to do it.

You worry that you don’t have the energy, willpower, tenacity, or drive.

Or maybe you think there is something intrinsically “off” with you, that makes the whole thing impossible anyway.

Yes, other people might have achieved the same goal, but down deep you think they’re somehow different than you in a way you can’t describe.

I have a motivation trick for you that isn’t really a trick, but a smart tool that actually began in the car industry.

First, though, here’s the truth: tackling big goals is hard work. It will be hard. But my firm, 100-percent belief is that if you’ve got a big goal in your head, it’s there for a reason.

And with some smart strategies, you can make it happen. You just have to figure it out why you want it.

How to Stay Motivated

It’s easy to get pumped up for a day or a week when it comes to tackling a big job or goal. We all do that from time to time.

In fact, one of the biggest “tells” for me when it comes to client success is the level of enthusiasm people throw at me during our first meeting.

If new clients come at me with a plan to work out several days a week, embrace a spartan ketogenic diet, and hit their goals at a rapid pace, I’m always cautious about a big crash-and-burn within a week or two (heck, even after a day or two).

Because you can’t push through on staying pumped or “getting tough.”

In fact, while an element of discipline and toughness is necessary, I actually think too much toughness is counterproductive.

Going Deep

Real change – the kind it takes to get big jobs done – requires going deep. 

Making big things happen in your life – changing the very shape of your body, or your bank account, or your interpersonal relationships, or the way you live – starts from the inside. 

And if you’re covered in a shell of armor or toughness, you can’t penetrate it to make those deep changes.

True change requires reflection, thought, open-mindedness. It requires evaluation and course correction. 

Plus, it’s scary.

And while, yes, making change does involve actually DOING things, it starts with some deep inquiry.

You Must Ask Why

I’m not talking about asking, “Whyyyyyy??!!!!” in a rending-of-the-clothes, beseeching God way. (Although sometimes …)

You have to ask yourself why in a curious, investigatory way. Usually asking the question “why?” five times is the magic number, because it lets you see your true motivation, rather than the shallow, “pumped-up” reason.

Now, this is not an original idea. If you google “5 whys” you will come up with lots of templates for how to do this. This method of inquiry was actually developed for the Toyota corporation to help with its manufacturing process. (1)

But it works incredibly well for pinpointing the root of nearly every problem.

Here’s a Sample ‘Why?’ Inquiry

  1. Why do I want to lose weight? So I feel better.
  2. Why do I want to feel better? My knees ache, and I just don’t have any energy when I get home from work.
  3. Why do I want more energy? I feel like I’m missing out on things. When I come home, all I want to do is sit on the couch.
  4. Why don’t I want to sit on the couch? I’m starting to feel disconnected from everyone, like life is passing me by.
  5. Why don’t I want to feel disconnected? Because I’m lonely and I’m starting to feel depressed. I am not having any fun lately because things seem like such a chore.

So, the reason for losing weight isn’t necessarily just to lose weight to feel better, it’s about not feeling so lonely. 

Get a Little Uncomfortable

It’s hard to let yourself feel lonely – but letting yourself feel that way (at least temporarily) might be just the kick in the pants you need to take action so you don’t feel that way any longer.

While it’s tempting to want to numb out that lonely/depressed feeling by sitting on the couch and bingeing on Netflix or playing video games, you’ve pointed out to yourself that ultimately, it’s just making you feel worse.

So every time you feel the lure of the couch, you can tell yourself: “Hey wait, this isn’t serving my goals. I need to do something else.”

But it’s kind of important to do that with some gentleness. Because ….

You Can’t Hate Your Way To Success

Let’s use education as an analogy here.

Say you decide to go to college to earn a bachelor’s degree because you need one to advance in your career.

Do you accept the fact that it’s going to take four years (or maybe slightly less if you go year-round) to attain your goal? Or do you immediately start hating on yourself because you’re not already there yet? Or maybe even because you weren’t somehow born already possession the degree?

Many years ago when I was in college, I couldn’t wait to get graduate. I have quite a history when it comes to school (another story for another day), but sitting through boring lectures was like a slow death to me. Seriously, I’d have actual anxiety in class, just waiting for it to be done.

I worked hard to go to (almost all) my classes till I reached the finish line because I wanted to get started on what I called my “real life.” That was my personal why – proving that I could actually see it through, and then being free to pursue “real life.”

And years later, when I decided to compete in a figure show, it wasn’t because I wanted to walk across the stage wearing a tiny bikini or felt that I was somehow lacking and needed to “get shredded” in order to shore up my self-worth.

In fact, I really wasn’t so pumped about wearing that tiny bikini, to be honest.

It was about wanting to feel strong and to prove to myself after surviving a few punishing years of losses, I could do hard (and scary) things on my own.

Honestly, if it had just been about having my physique judged, I wouldn’t have seen it through to the end because that doesn’t interest me so much.

What are YOUR Whys?

Once you have your “Whys” in place, then you can start with the actual nuts-and-bolts how-tos, and employ some of the get-tough philosophy to help keep you going when your willpower is flagging.

Watch motivational YouTube videos, read positive self-development literature, surround yourself with people who will make you feel better, so you can keep marching toward your goal.

But be sure you have your own strong underpinnings in place first – and that you revisit your “whys” often. Because otherwise, all that motivation can end up feeling a bit like an indictment if you’re not clear about why you’re doing all the work in the first place.