On Finding Motivation.

On Finding Motivation

This post is inspired by a DM that came in over the weekend.

The reader wrote: “Just wanted to say you look so confident and happy, it’s lovely to see. I know you’ve recently prioritized your health and hope this isn’t an intrusive question, but wondering if you could share how you found your motivation? I’m having trouble prioritizing myself over work right now and I don’t like the way I feel but have appreciated your approach to health. I just want to feel strong and healthy too!”

First of all, please just know that what you see on the internet is not always what is actually happening. Instagram is a highlight reel and I don’t always feel confident and happy. But I think I have some good advice here, so let’s dive in!

On Finding Motivation

It’s much better to focus on being disciplined vs. finding motivation. I wrote this post about discipline back in February (it’s actually my word of 2023!) and stand by everything I said. Being disciplined isn’t sexy or fun but it does get results. I think we live in a society where being disciplined isn’t really praised so we see celebrities and others downplaying how hard they work. But that’s another post for another day. A few of the reader comments really stuck with me.

First of all, there is this idea that being disciplined isn’t this militant thing but more about showing devotion to yourself. I LOVE that! Another reader referenced Jay Alderton’s podcast, where he points out so often we say we need to be motivated to do something. The thing is, motivation means waiting around until you want to do something. The hard truth is that you are not going to always want to do something. Discipline is harder as you do the thing every day regardless of how you are feeling or if you want to do it.

So where do you find that discipline!?!

Here are a few things that have helped me this year.

one // The first thing is with how I talk to myself.

When you start saying things to yourself like, “I don’t miss a workout,” “I don’t really drink during the week,” “I am really disciplined with my time and energy,” “It’s important to me to prioritize my health,” “I always get enough sleep,” etc. they become true. I regularly say these things to myself and it’s made a difference. Conversely, when you say things like “I’m so out of shape, I’m so tired all the time, I feel unhealthy, etc.” that manifests in a different way.

two // Find something you love, make it social.

This one has taken me a bit longer. But I started taking this boot camp class at my gym 4 months ago and I really love it. But I have now made friends in the class. So if I don’t go, there is the text from a friend… “Missed you in class this morning!” That alone keeps me in line! Along the lines of making it social, rather than going for a drink or dinner, why not try taking a class together instead? A girlfriend and I have a Pilates date on Friday and I’m so looking forward to it.

three // IDK about this but it’s worth mentioning. Invest financially.

My gym is expensive; if I don’t go at least 5 times a week I feel like I’m really wasting my money. I feel very differently about my inexpensive Peloton membership which I barely have been using; mostly for travel. Of course not everyone has the means or wants to spend the money on a more expensive gym membership. But investing in that or a personal trainer will definitely help with accountability.

four // Make it easier for your future self.

There was a time during one of my harder workout classes (we were doing mountain climbers with sliders) where the teacher said, “Remember, putting in the work in now means it’s going to be easier next time!” This stuck with me. Now whenever I am lifting, sweating my way through cardio, etc. I remember this. I’m making it easier on my future self. (Speaking of future selves, I’m also making life easier for my future old lady self).

five // Schedule your workouts like meetings.

Every Sunday, I take 15 minutes to make sure I’m all booked into the workouts I want to take that week. I never miss my Tuesday/Thursday boot camp and then I plan my workouts around that. Or I’ll text friends to make exercise dates!

I am being repetititve but the end of the day, it isn’t about motivation, it’s about discipline. Even though I have gotten to a place where I really enjoy my workouts, have friends at the gym, etc, most days I don’t bound out of bed excited to lift weights or jump around for an hour. It’s about digging deep and doing the things that you don’t want to do.

If I were left to my own devices and didn’t have to think about my health, earning a living, etc. I would just lay on the couch, order takeout, and read. If you just wait around for the motivation to find you, you (at least if you are anything like me) probably won’t get very far. But if you make the choice to be disciplined, I promise you: it is so worthwhile! I am only about 4 months into this “journey” but am feeling so much stronger and so much healthier.

I hope this helps! xx

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Wow, the amount of truth bombs in here!

    “It’s much better to focus on being disciplined vs. finding motivation.” – This one especially feels like a game changer for me.

    8.2.23 Reply
    • i’m so glad 🙂

      8.2.23 Reply
    • Diana:

      This really resonated with me, number 2 and 3 especially! I was a runner and started feeling board by that after four or five years. I never thought exercise classes were for me and then I took a chance went to one that just opened after the pandemic, really liked the mix of cardio and dance. Then I got a monthly membership meaning I need to go three times a week “to get my money’s worth” and now Im friends with the teachers and people ask where I’ve been. It’s awesome! It’s like Atomic Habits says, you gotta remove the barriers to the good things.

      8.2.23 Reply
      • I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. 🙂 I feel like paying for this gym membership has really lit a fire under me to work harder and get the most out of it.

        8.2.23 Reply
  2. Stacy:

    100% agree. I do CrossFit and it’s expensive but it also means I won’t miss a workout because I want to get the value for my money. I also will always work out if I’m traveling work, unless I’m getting less than 5 hours of sleep and I’ll pack my breakfast (or instacart it). Once you have the habits, it’s easier to keep them.

    8.2.23 Reply
  3. Anna:

    I love this post! I have always been a runner but I wanted to get more into distance running so I set goals with friends and I got a coach. Finally, two and a half years later, I feel like I finally have the discipline and the routine to stick with running every day without external accountability. 2.5 years is WAY longer than I thought it would take to build all the intrinsic motivation and internal accountability I need to stick with my routine, even through hard times.

    8.2.23 Reply
  4. Helen:

    I couldn’t agree more with these tips. Running is my activity of choice and I am in a social running group where I have made lifelong friends. I want to spend time with them and catch up so I turn up. People always ask me how I stay motivated and my response is that I don’t – I have formed a habit of being active and healthy to the point where it’s just something that I do. Like you say, if I’d waited around for motivation to strike I would never have started in the first place. I decided to do it and committed to it, and now I feel “off” if I don’t move my body. Sorry for the essay but this is something I address constantly when people find out I run a lot!

    8.2.23 Reply
  5. Phoebe:

    Wow I love this post so much. It’s all about discipline! Duh this really hit the nail on the head for me.

    8.2.23 Reply
  6. Lindsay:

    ” I think we live in a society where being disciplined isn’t really praised so we see celebrities and others downplaying how hard they work.”

    I love your blog and IG content so say this completely in the interest of conversation and sharing opinions– the above quote couldn’t be farther from my experience. I feel like our society valorizes and mythologizes discipline and hard work to an almost pathological extent. But my perspective lines back up with yours on a lot of the other points because I feel like a little discipline and mindset shifting can go a long way. It’s not all-or-nothing, and there’s not necessarily something morally superior about being disciplined in the pursuit of goals or habits. One step at a time, we are often capable of more than we think ❤️

    8.2.23 Reply
    • Thanks for the comment! You see, I see society really valuing effortlessness. As if the celebrity who lost that 75 lbs of baby weight just lost it from running around with the baby. As if those beachy waves just came from being out in the surf. ETC.

      But it sounds like we agree. A little discipline can go a long way. <3

      8.2.23 Reply
  7. Mimi:

    Love this post, and your mindset! I’m a runner by hobby so a lot rings true with me…but I’m also a musician so this really resonates. Practicing is truly a discipline and you cannot rely upon motivation to inspire you to do the hard work…especially when you’re tired or you’ve been practicing for 30 years! I tell my students your hard truth all the time. Thanks for sharing!

    8.3.23 Reply
  8. Pia:

    I always remind my self of this: “have I ever regretted working out?” NO! I always feel better after, even if it wasn’t the “best” work out. That motivate me to work out if I’m debating.

    Also…I’m 50 and have been regularly active for at least the last 25 years…nothing crazy, just steady activity. And I feel better than a lot of people my age. Genetics plays a big role, but I like to think being active makes a difference : )

    8.3.23 Reply
  9. katie:

    Love, Love the blurb on self talk!! Something I have realized I struggle with, thanks to therapy.
    Discipline and self-prioritization has also been a key theme for myself this year. And finding a work/life balance (especially working from home) has been hard, but SO worth it!
    As you said, one thing that has worked extremely well for me is blocking out my day. building in an hour for me to sit on my porch and read. actually taking a lunch break with no phone or work thoughts. journaling out all my swirling work thoughts and to-dos at the end of the day so they don’t creep up at bedtime. not leaving my workout for when I have time, but making it a “meeting” in my calendar.

    8.3.23 Reply
  10. CD:

    LOVE this post. Thank you, Grace!

    I have been reading Atomic Habits and trying to put some of the lessons into practice. I love the whole “make the new habit obvious and make it beautiful” thing. I REALLY struggle with. morning routines because I am natural night owl, work from home, and have a really long ramp up into my day. I always joke that getting up early is my Everest. As a result, my morning routine is usually “oh no! you started your day later than others so you should skip everything else and jump right into work!” Then, because I missed the me time for m in the morning I definitely have revenge bedtime procrastination at night. Rinse and repeat.

    But I tried an Atomic Habits thing. I bought myself a really pretty white board and nice set of markers. It took me days to get it all mapped out, but I made a pretty detailed list of things to do for my morning routine and in the best order that works for me. I even included my skincare order on it! Then I hung it on the wall in my bathroom. And, because I really love checking things off a well-organized list, this has really helped. When I have the list, it feels more manageable and removes the extra mental burden of indecision or having to ask “okay, what next?”

    Also adding that I work out at home using a Hydrow rower. And I remember during one of the workouts one of my fave instructors, Dani, said something like “Greatness happens in the dark”. meaning greatness happens when no one is looking. And I think that works here, when it comes to discipline and building healthier habits.

    8.3.23 Reply
    • I love this. Atomic Habits is one of the best and most helpful books I’ve read… it really frames things differently and sets you up with systems that work!

      8.4.23 Reply