Q: “How Do I Stay Motivated?”

A: Don’t.

“But then I will just sit on the couch and nothing will happen.”

Are you sure?

“Well, pretty damn sure because that’s what I was doing before I started exercising and I was so depressed then, nothing could get me up.”

And what did, finally, get you up?

“I saw something really motivational and something inside me just clicked.”

Had you tried to get a self-improvement program going before, to no avail?

“Of course. Many times.”

Me too. So, for you, what was the final straw with this go around? Why this time and not a day before?

“I don’t know.”

That feels like a very honest answer to me.

“So what do I do … Just sit around not knowing and waiting for motivation to strike?”

No. Making a plan like that is a not-knowing imposter, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Now you’re trying to project onto an empty canvas what ‘not knowing’ is going to look like. It’s empty.

“So what do I do?”

You see that the question itself — ‘how do I stay motivated?’ — is already off in a funny direction. You can keep that motivation around just about as well as you conjured it in the first place. Do you have to remind yourself to stay in love with your beloved old dog? Do you have to get motivated to listen to a song you adore?

“But it seems like if I just went off what I want to do all the time, I’d just sit around and smoke weed and eat cupcakes.”

I’m just wanting to bring your attention to this fact: you also want something else. (Otherwise we wouldn’t be talking.)

“So … what do I do?”

Perhaps a better question is: “What do I most want? What do I really, truly love?”

Let that be your guide.