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A surprising tool you need to help you get motivated

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

It was a Sunday night, and I found myself yet again typing into google, what to do to start exercising. And yet again I got the same answer: you need to get motivated! When I read it for the nth time, I wanted to throw the laptop out the window!

There are thousands and thousands of articles, tools, books, strategies, techniques, and whatnot on how to get motivated. But let’s face it, if you ever tried to lose weight, quit smoking or drinking, eat better, exercise more, or improve your health and wellness in any way, you know that motivation is tidal – it comes and goes as it pleases. It has its own rhythm, its own schedule and it never is there when you need it.

And that’s why in today’s blog post I’m going to give you the ultimate tool to use when your motivation is low (or non-existent!). In addition, I created this downloadable 5 planning strategies to manage your time better so you can achieve more and feel in control of your day cheat sheet, so you can stop using lack of time as an excuse!

It’s a myth

Let’s start with brutal honesty and let’s face it: motivation is a myth.

It’s not something you can access when you need it. It’s not something you can top up when you’re running low on. It’s not something you can learn once and it stays there forever. And it definitely is not something you can depend on.

For a long time, I relied on internal and external motivators, but I was losing more energy on searching for the motivators than actually getting myself motivated. There is a greater chance of sticking to your plan if you rely on internal motivators, rather than external motivators.

Internal motivators can be found inside, so any valid reasons as to why we want to lose weight, eat better, follow through on our plan, start a business can help us with finding the motivation to take the first step. But as much as we can talk ourselves into doing something, we are as successful with talking ourselves out of doing something. So going to the gym in January comes easy, but when March hits our calendars, we can easily find an excuse not to follow through.

However, there is no control over external motivators. Once they are taken away from us, our motivation is taken away with them. Because the external motivation is out of reach now, our motivation level drops.

I find that this type of classification doesn’t guarantee success. Relying on motivators, either internal or external, to get motivated is…well not reliable.

That’s why I want to invite you to introduce the concept of pain when you consider motivation. Don’t worry, with pain comes pleasure too.

Pain versus pleasure

We tend to do something to either avoid pain or seek pleasure. However, our tendency is to avoid pain first before we seek pleasure. Therefore, avoiding pain has more power over us than gaining pleasure out of what we do.

Let’s try this experiment: if I was to say that you can get $100 (or whatever cash equivalent works on you) if you go running every day for a week, would you do it? Maybe you would do it for the first few days, but then your motivation would stop. You may want that $100 but there would have to be something more to it.

How about if I told you that you would need to pay $100 if you didn’t go for a run every day for a week? The pain associated with losing money will be greater than the feeling of gaining. That emotional pain of losing money will keep you on your toes and make you put your running shoes on.

That’s your pain point to find your motivation.

Analysing what's the pain you’re trying to avoid and what's the pleasure you can gain can get you moving. Of course, the greater the pain you can attach to not following through on something, the greater chances of actually completing the task. If you associate not going to the gym with the pain of rejection by your fit and good-looking friends, you will be more (dare I say it?) motivated to go to the gym.

I noticed that once I started connecting pain with not doing something, I became more willing to do what I said I would, and I took the question of being motivated out of the equation. Now I weigh my pain versus pleasure ratio and get moving.

Because we all have a different pain threshold, it’s up to you what level of pain vs pleasure will work on you. But setting up for your level will turn you into an action taker.


Motivation is a myth. And maybe that is why is so hard to rely solely on motivation to take any action.

We may want to attach our willingness to do things to either internal or external motivators. The danger with external motivators is that once they are out of reach, our motivation plummets. Internal motivators have higher value, but as much as we can talk ourselves into following through on something, we are as successful at talking ourselves out of it.

Introducing the pain versus pleasure ratio can be the surprising tool you need to get motivated.

Next time when you’re on a quest of looking for that mythical motivation, ask yourself this: What is the pain (emotional/physical/social/monetary cost, etc) you can associate with not taking action now on something that matters to you?

I’ll see you at the gym!

Having problems with managing your stress? Go on: to find out more about Anna Doktor Wellness Coaching and how I can help you to beat the overwhelm once and for all. Alternatively, send me an email at or call to have a chat to see how we can work together tel: 0498016440.

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