When You Just Don't Feel Like It

When You Just Don't Feel Like It

Amy Snow 6 min read

Warm Up

"Just Do It.”

Nike knew something when they came up with their slogan.

Motivation is not going to strike you like lightning. And motivation is not something that someone else—coach, trainer, doctor, family member—can force on you or create for you. The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation.

Just do it.


Go to the weight room, run the extra sprints, lose weight, write that paper, or whatever. Begin without motivation and then guess what? After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easier for you to keep doing it.

As Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner says, “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.”

If we wait until we feel like doing something, it likely will never happen.

We can see this in many aspects of our life…

…in our sport. Not feeling like getting up before the sun comes up to go to get our training session in. Or going the extra mile or doing more drills to improve your skill. Or helping teammates gain an edge.

…in relationships. Not feeling like calling Mom and/or Dad. Or dealing with a conflict with your significant other, a friend or teammate. Or just going out to get to know some new people.

…in school. Not feeling like writing the paper or studying for that exam. Or getting up to go to class.

Even though I’m intrinsically motivated to stay fit, there are days I wake up and want to roll back over and keep the covers tucked under my chin rather than get my workout in. I love eating healthy but there are times I just want to down the whole bag of PopChips.

We all have our days. And that’s when telling yourself to Just Do It needs to kick in. As world renowned sports performance and motivation guru Tim Grover says,

“Do.The.Work. Every day, you have to do something you don’t want to do. Every day. Challenge yourself to be uncomfortable, push past the apathy and laziness and fear. Otherwise, the next day you’re going to have two things you don’t want to do, then three and four and five, and pretty soon, you can’t even get back to the first thing.”

Mel Robbins, author of The 5 Second Rule, says that at some point we all bought into the lie that we have to feel ready in order to change, but our brains are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable, scary or difficult. The key is to learn how to take control of micro-moments and make reality-shifting decisions within a matter of seconds.

What you need is already within you. It’s within every person. The challenge for a leader is to tap into that reservoir of motivation and channel it in the right direction. And that’s why it is vital to tap into your purpose. What naturally lights a fire in you? In those you lead? Three simple questions can help you uncover what makes you and those you lead tick.

  1. – What makes you cry? What weighs heavily on your heart that you want to act upon?
  2. – What makes you sing? What activities bring you joy?
  3. – What do you dream of doing or becoming?

The answers to these questions will help you know what motivates your people at their core. Then you can respond to their needs, position them well in their strengths and encourage them in their hopes and dreams.

The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”

It makes sense that we would thrive in the area that God has uniquely wired us. What a gift that we have all that we need within us to accomplish those good things, and it honors God to develop those gifts to the best of our ability. Every day.

Living on purpose. Success on purpose.

Whether we are in an athletic competition, in a classroom, a boardroom or at home, we are a reflection of something far greater than just ourselves. And as believers in Jesus, we ultimately are a reflection of Him.

“Your talent is God’s gift to you and and what you do with it is your gift back to God.” - Leo Buscaglia

Remember that what motivates you may not be what energizes your teammates. Every person is different so what motivates your teammates will be unique to them as individuals. That’s why it is so important as a leader to get to know each person and build a relationship with them. Also, understand that what motivates them now could change and evolve over time. Stay in constant communication and make adjustments as needed.


Here are some ways to help you get and stay motivated to keep moving forward to reach your goals.

Clarify your vision – Vision activates your sense of purpose, connecting your daily work to your understanding of why you were put on this earth. The clarity of your vision relates directly to your level of motivation.

Take 100% responsibility for your life – Trying to live out someone else’s expectations for your life leads to burnout. Follow your own dream. Make your own decisions. It’s your life. Live it on purpose.

Remember your “Why?” – If you are lacking discipline, stop and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Remembering your purpose helps to kick discipline back into gear.

Do the hardest thing first – That thing you’re dreading or fearing? Do it first before anything else. It will free up so much mental space for everything else you need to attend to. Otherwise, it hangs over your head like a dark cloud.

Recommended reading: The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins, _Eat the Frog_by Brian Tracy, Intentional Living by John C. Maxwell, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

To learn more about Amy’s one-on-one or group coaching for current athletes and athletes in transition, as well as her leadership training, go to www.amysnowcoaching.com.