When Motivation Doesn’t Grow On Trees (Part I)

Let’s be honest, motivation doesn’t grow on trees. At least not where I live.  Here, it’s getting darker and colder by the second. A perfect time to talk about motivation and where to find it!

NIKE says, “Just Do It” as if it’s that simple.  Maybe it is for some – but not me.  For me, there is a large gap between the intention to exercise and actually doing it.

What’s lurking in the gap? Headaches, back pain, cold toes, exhaustion, inertia, sore muscles, gravity, the refrigerator, and most formidable – my bed.

I’ve collected my top 5 motivational strategies to bridge the gap from intention to exercise. I will list 2 here, return soon for the other 3!

1. Dangle a carrot from a stick and go!

Is the thought of exercising nauseating? Sometimes, I’m 100% convinced I don’t have the energy to run. Sweating sounds inconvenient… Then I’ll have to shower again – equally exhausting.

Okay, forget running. What about walking around the block? Walking is much more approachable as a concept to me.

Sometimes, “a walk” turns into “a run” and I arrive home breathless and soaked in sweat. What just happened? My mood shifted or a song pumped me up – and I surprised myself!  Regardless, moving forward at any speed is an accomplishment.

While training for the Boston Marathon last year – I ran/walked my entire training and on marathon day using Jeff Galloway‘s strategies. I ran 8 minutes then walked 2 minutes. Instead of thinking about the daunting long distance, I only thought, “how long until my next walk break?”

I call this the dangling carrot technique, which may sound silly, but this strategy is highly effective mentally and physically.  More info here.

2. Living (and Exercising) Social

Making exercise social is very motivating.  I’ve been meeting my friend Sue for Nia class once a week. I get to see Sue and do Nia. Also, because I told Sue I will go – I’m more likely to go.

This is  especially helpful for trying new forms of exercise and new locations.

Long-distance friends can motivate too! I always owe someone a phone call, so I use walking as an opportunity to catch up with friends and family. Talking and walking makes time fly and always puts a smile on my face.


READ Part II here.

Know other motivational techniques? Comment below! 


  1. Gail on November 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Great suggestions! I have used them in the past and need to get out of bed and do them again as soon as my back feels better and sore throat and congestion go away.

  2. Anonymous on January 3, 2012 at 11:13 am


    In your world of narcolepsy, you face many difficulties and darkness, but you bring a beautiful messages in your blog that are like lighthouses in the darkeness. Your writing and photographs are beams of hope of awareness of the beauty and realities of all our lives, if we only are open to that which is always present if you can see it. thank you for sharing your gifts with us all. fct

  3. When Motivation Isn’t For Sale (Part II) on May 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    […] julie on November 22, 2011 As previously noted, motivation doesn’t grow on trees.  It’s not for sale either – not even at […]

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