Do Feelings and Motivation Dictate Your Actions?

by | Feb 17, 2023

I have zero motivation to go to the gym today.

In fact, I have zero motivation do much of anything.

I’m tired. I have been on 3 flights in the past few days with 3 time zone changes and I’m just out of it.

You know what I’m going to do today because of how I’m feeling??

I’m going to drink my water, move my body, eat quality food, and go to the gym.

Yup. All of the things I would normally do when I’m feeling my best.

This certainly isn’t a pat on the back for myself. Yesterday I got 5k steps, ate like shit, didn’t work out, and I probably had about 30 ounces of water total lol.

So no, every day isn’t perfect. But …

I have stopped allowing my feelings to dictate my behaviors.

And I truly believe that is one of the fundamental truths of life that can make things so much easier on yourself.

The other truth is that your thoughts are not fact and should not be treated as such.

Two lessons that look me almost 40 years to learn.

Imagine if you took an entire day and only made decisions based on how you were feeling in those moments?

I feel lazy, I don’t want to go to work. You skip work.

I feel unmotivated, I don’t want to go to the gym. You skip the gym.

I feel anxious, I’m going to lean on old reliable … a box of cookies.

I feel grateful, I’m going to tell my partner I appreciate them.

Wait, now I feel angry, I’m going to curse my partner out.

Now imagine if you operate that way day after day after day.

What I find interesting is that most people can separate feelings from actions in many areas of life.

When it comes to going to work, taking care of the kids, doing chores around the house, etc. … you don’t need to feel motivated or happy or enthusiastic about it.

You just do it.

Your feelings do not dictate your actions.

But when it comes to fitness and nutrition, it’s a very different story.


Maybe because the consequences aren’t as obvious and immediate?

Like … I don’t feel motivated to go to the gym. You skip the gym and it’s not like you get fired like you would if you kept skipping work.

Even when it comes to body composition changes … they don’t happen overnight. It’s a slow and sometimes not so obvious progression or regression.

So it’s easier to act on emotion in that area of your life.

I’m just guessing here.

The question is … how do you flip the script?

For starters …

You have to acknowledge and become aware of when you act on emotion.

When didn’t I move my body today? Because I FELT unmotivated. Ok, now I know it was a behavior based on an emotion.

Then, I move to curiosity.

What are my feelings trying to tell me? I don’t have much dopamine right now. Or maybe I overproduced it with cheap dopamine hits. Or maybe I’m stressed.

Then, I move to compassion.

I’m human and it’s totally normal to feel this way. In fact, there are plenty of things I do each day that I’m not motivated to do.

Then, I get to have the final say.

Like those other daily habits that are just ingrained in my routine, I want the gym to become just like that. I also know that once I start moving my body, I’ll feel a lot better. Once I’m done with the workout, I’ll be proud of myself for doing it.

Then, I move to the non-committal, commitment.

How about this … let’s go for 5 minutes and if I’m still not feeling it, I can just stop at that point.

The 5 minute rule always works. Your brain won’t fight back when it comes to such an inconsequential commitment. But once you get started, you won’t want to stop.

That goes for anything … the gym, a walk, cleaning the house, planning your day, meal prep, whatever.

How you handle setbacks will separate success from struggle.

Now, here comes the hard part.

There will be plenty of days where you don’t go through that process and simply give in to your feelings and emotions. You make poor food choices, you don’t move your body, you don’t drink your water, etc.

This is what separates success from struggle.

Do you beat yourself up, call yourself a failure, and allow yourself to spiral?

Or do you accept, acknowledge, get curious about why, and consider what you can do next time that may be more productive?

How you handle those setbacks is probably the single most important variable in goal achievement.

It’s not what you do when everything is aligned really well.

It’s how you respond when things go to shit.

Which is why I always tell people that the best time to start with a coaching program is when real life is messy. Because the sooner we can figure out how to navigate the mess … the sooner you’ll be free.

Free from ever having to worry again about your results. Or questioning whether you can do this or not. Or second guessing your ability to reach your goals.

Freedom is on the other side of navigating the mess.

Hope that makes sense.

Interested in 1:1 Coaching?

And let me know that you’re interested in the 1:1 signature coaching program.

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