Get Motivated - The Backwards Equation for Success - The Living Well

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Get Motivated – The Backwards Equation for Success

Are you looking for that bit of motivation to start your workout program? Or finally, give up those foods you know you shouldn’t be eating. I’d like to tell you this is that place, but I’m not sure this is what you expected to hear when you’re looking to get motivated.

woman running outside on stairs

I long thought that if I could find some extra motivation, then I would have the energy to complete the action. But ironically, this is a backward approach that keeps us on the hunt for the wrong thing to get us moving.

But I know this.

Surprising every Saturday morning when it’s time to clean the house, I can never find the motivation to get off the couch and get started.
Ironically, it’s rarely motivation that drives me to workout.


Suppose we sit around and wait for the right person to come along or the right quote to scroll across our social media feed. In that case, we’ll be waiting a long time to have the motivation to start.

That’s because it’s not the motivation that drives our action but the action that drives motivation.

Get Motivated

I’ve had the equation wrong for much of my adult life, and realizing the truth has allowed me to accomplish more than I ever realized was possible. It’s driven action in the small everyday tasks that I once spent more time complaining about than doing.

While motivation can certainly be helpful to power through a challenging project or that workout, motivation is not the thing that gets you started. However, it can be the thing that helps you finish.

What gets you started is choosing to take action, knowing the action gives you the energy to fuel your motivation.

That’s because motivation takes energy, or in the least, it’s directly correlated to your energy levels. Meaning the less energy you have, the less motivation you have.

Without energy, you’ll always lack motivation.

The Energy Equation

Action is the vehicle to energy, and energy is more powerful than motivation. Because energy brings you the feeling you’ve been looking for. A feeling that will drive your motivation giving you more motivation to continue.

Which is the missing component in the equation to get motivated:

chart showing action drives energy driving motivation

Action -> Energy -> Feeling -> Motivation -> More Feeling -> More Motivation -> More Action -> More Energy

As Dean Bokhari states:

It’s easier to act yourself into a better way of feeling than to feel yourself into a better way of acting.

If you’re looking to get motivated, you have to first that the action. But don’t get lost in the bigness of the goal. Don’t get lost the steps it takes to get from point A to G. But do the next right thing, however little that is. When you take action, you experience the feeling leading to the motivation to keep the experience alive.

Take Action

If you want to start your workout program, instead of focusing on the workout, focus on the first action step needed to accomplish that. Put on your workout clothes and lace up those shoes.

  • If you want to drink more water, fill up your water bottle.
  • Want to spend more time in prayer? Put away your phone and other distractions and find a quiet place to sit down.
  • If you want to write a book, open up a new document and write 250 words.

Know what it is you want to achieve, and then pick the next best action step and do that. Repeat the cycle again and again and again and watch as your motivation and desire grow.

Not because it was there all along, but the action started to make you feel the way you’ve wanted to feel, and the feeling brought the motivation to stick with it.

If you don’t like the way you are feeling – do something to feel different. Don’t wait to feel differently before you do something but do something to feel different.

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