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Episode 1

How to get motivated

Street art person smiling

Trying to get motivated to exercise, lose weight, or make a change?

EPISODE SUMMARY: This is the first episode of my walk cast, Walking & Talking. It’s part walk coaching and part chatting about motivation. If you’re feeling unmotivated to do a workout, lose weight, or make any change… this episode is for you.


  • Where motivation comes from
  • How to get motivated
  • How to get started
  • What to do when you’re tired
  • The 5 minute trick
  • Why faking yourself out works
  • Being grateful for this one special thing

So lace up your sneakers and let’s go for a 17-minute walk together. (Note: I’m walking with you, so you will hear some outside noises.) Transcription below.

Podcast Transcript

You've looked for it everywhere: In your purse, under your bed, in your closet. You just can't find it, and it’s something you really need. But you have no idea how to find it. What is it? Motivation. Sometimes it hides and is not easy to find.

I can show you how to at least grab a little bit of it.

Let's talk for a moment about motivation. Motivation is the hardest thing when it comes to reaching whatever your goals are.

Sometimes you just feel like you're not good enough. Sometimes you just feel like there's something wrong with you because you're not as motivated as some of these other people everybody talks about. You’re not getting up at 5 a.m. to work out, go to yoga, work, and then magically make dinner for the family and help with homework and -- you know -- still go to bed at a decent hour.

Your house is perfectly clean by the time you wake up in the morning with those magical elves, but we all know that that doesn't really happen.

So the way to find motivation is to start small. I was reading a book recently where the author talked about how you don't get motivation -- you make a motivation.

And I think that's true because if you wait until you're motivated to do something, it will never get done. So if you start small -- like if you're working on a project -- you start with 5 minutes or 10 minutes and get warmed up. Then suddenly motivation usually will come along.

The same thing applies to our fitness and healthy eating goals.

And maybe even sleeping, which I'm really bad at.

(I see a young girl and her mother out for a jog with their dog. They look happy. They look like they motivate each other.)

So the best thing for you to do is to get motivated to start something for just like 5 minutes or give yourself that time.

A certain type of thing to do for example -- sometimes after teaching spin I would want to do some strength training.

But often I was really tired. So what I did is -- I took my gym bag and put it over by the front desk (by the exit) and I walked to the back of the gym and I said, “Okay, we're just going to do 5 minutes of machines.”

So I started at the back and I did 5 minutes of the closest machines. Those 5 minutes actually felt okay. Then I thought, “Well, you can probably do another 5 minutes.”

So I did another 5 minutes and by then I was kind of feeling the moment. My fatigue had come and gone away, and I was feeling a little bit more motivated. So I did another 5 minutes and then another and pretty soon I had done 20 minutes.

So I “faked myself” out in two ways: I gave myself an exit. My gym bag was over by the front desk, which was by the door. So I had to work my way out.

And then I gave myself time for it. “Try for 5 minutes. If you don't want to do anymore after, then don't do anymore.”

So if you think about something in your life that you could do or try for 5 minutes -- like you can’t say “OK, I'm going to go to the gym for 5 minutes” if you're not already there because you're not dressed for it and you're still in your pajamas and you have to drive to the gym. In that case, you can do something at home. You can do a short workout. They have quite a few 5-minute exercise routines on YouTube. Start there.

Or you can do something on your own for 5 minutes.

I think about what you could do. Something that you wanted to do more of like exercise.

What could you do for 5 minutes?

See the picture in your mind.

See yourself doing it for 5 minutes. It's not that hard, right?

Unless you're jumping, in which case you might want to wear a bra if you’re a chick and doing it for 5 minutes.

We're going to walk for just around 20 minutes today.

See yourself doing the activity you want to do for 5 minutes.

When you get home from the walk? I want you to try it for 5 minutes.

Stretching? You could do a 5-minute wake-up yoga.

My favorite thing you can do is dance. Put on your favorite songs, and just dance around for 5 minutes.

Dance your pants off.

You can work out with weights for 5 minutes too.

If you don't have much time to warm up, just lift very light weights or use some tubing.

You can do 5 minutes of triceps and biceps during those 5 minutes and it will feel like 400 minutes to your arms.

If you want to start writing, take 5 minutes. Pick a random subject. Let's say your cat or your dog (I’m just making this up). Just spend 5 minutes writing about your topic. I know that's probably not going to make a lot of money, and that's not what you want to write about.

But it's a prompt to get you writing.

So the 5-minute increments of motivation will probably get you to go longer or to get you to start, which is the hardest part. You just need to start.

Make a list of some of the goals you want to do and see if you can start one for just 5 minutes. Sometimes 5 minutes becomes 10 to 20 minutes.

Your goal is to just start.

Don't beat yourself up if you don't feel like it and if you can't get started for 5 minutes. It's okay. You can try again another day. Not every day of the week are we able to be productive or do whatever we're supposed to be doing according to other people.

Take care of your physical health and your emotional health first.

So think about motivation for a moment.

Maybe think about why you can't get motivated. Think about why you can't get started.

I'll wait.

Sometimes you're just too tired.

Sometimes we don't believe in ourselves enough.

Maybe something you want to think about?

You did this today. You started walking with me today.

That was motivating because you believed in yourself that you could do this. You just might not be able to do it as fast as you think you should and that's okay. Go at your own speed.

When people go on fad diets, they want to lose weight fast –- not at a reasonable pace.

Oftentimes they end up gaining weight because they can't stick with the strict program.

Crash diets do not always mean results and they do not always work.

You want to take baby steps every day… toward your health and weight loss, or any other goals.

And if you have one day where you eat too much that day and you’re not working towards your goal... That's okay because you always have the entire week to do it.

Take a moment while we’re walking to feel how good it feels to be alive.

I think sometimes we forget that.

We're healthy. And that's something to be grateful for.

So when you get back in, take out a pen and paper – may be a cute little notebook – and write things down. First, two reasons why you think you're not getting motivated. Then write down five things you can do in 5 minutes towards different goals.

And for the rest of this week, I want you to try one of those 5-minute sessions a day. Even if it's only 5 minutes. Yeah, you want to go to a class. But are you ready, or do you just want to do 5 minutes of walking today, or 5 minutes of yoga, or 10 minutes or 15 minutes of something else, in blocks?

The blocks are the things that will get you there. I use blocks with my coaching clients. Blocks for healthy eating. Blocks for exercise.

You might not be able to work toward your goals all at once. You might have a family. You might not have unlimited money. You might not be 25.

For sure, it's not me. Next year I'll be able to get a discount at Denny's and IHOP. A senior discount at 55. Isn’t that magic?

And yeah, I waited until I was 37 to do some things with my life. And now I still have a lot of ideas but not a lot of extra time.

Write down the 5-minute things you can do right down and the reasons why you want to do them.

Write down the reasons why you think you're not doing them.

Why not break things up into bite-sized blocks?

A big project that you want to do… break it down into smaller pieces, because sometimes you just feel it’s way too big to even start.

I'll talk about that in a later podcast -- how you can take a big project that just overwhelms you, that gives you anxiety and break it down into manageable pieces.

Bite-size morsels that are like the little bite-size chocolate chip cookies.

When you get back do a little bit of stretching. Shake out your body a little bit.

Remember what we talked about?

Find 5 minutes.

The only way we can do this is to do this together. Help each other. It is really hard to do alone in the long run.

This is Helen. Thank you for walking with me. I'll see you next time.


Helen is an author, entrepreneur, certified personal trainer, and lifestyle coach. She lost over 80 pounds and kept it off for 16 years. She loves travel, chocolate, and cats.