Momentum vs Motivation

Have you ever wished you could accomplish more or have been frustrated that you couldn’t stick to a goal – if only you were “more motivated?”  If you’ve been there, I’ve got good news for you:

Motivation is not what gets results.

If that is true, you wonder, how come it seems like some people get a whole heck-of-a-lot more done than you do?  Well, it’s not motivation that creates long-term consistency in their workouts or to finishing their projects.

Think about it for a second: how many times have you totally gotten pumped after watching a documentary about healthy, clean eating or some amazing underdog story like Kung Fu Panda that gets you all excited and ready to change the world… and then the next morning you’re back to the same ole’ routine?  (For me: so many times!)

The secret isn’t Motivation.  Motivation is fleeting.  It is generated from outside of ourselves and it comes and goes.

The secret is learning how to build Momentum in your life.  Momentum is generated from within.  It’s Newton all over again: an object in motion tends to stay in motion.  True for life as well.

Here are four secrets I’ve learned when it comes to keeping my Momentum fire lit and getting things done (even when I feel like I don’t want to).


JOY! What kind of fitness activities or food bring you joy? 

I was helping a friend troubleshoot her weight gain the other day.  I asked her what she was doing for exercise.  She said she was running, but she hated it!  So I asked her WHY in the heck-ito are you running if you don’t like it?!?  She said she felt like she needed to run to lose weight.  It was also something she had done in the past that she familiar with.

If you’re like my friend, STOP.  Just stop.  This never works!   The psychological benefits of exercise far outweight the physical ones.  So if you feel like you are flogging yourself through your workouts just to check the box, you are missing out on so many good things about the experience.  There are hundreds of ways to move your body to get the benefits from exercise!   Don’t get trapped feeling like there are just a couple of options.   Surely there is something you can find that you will actually enjoy and look forward to.  If you’re not sure what zumba or barre is like, give it a try.  If you don’t like it, try power yoga or weight training or something until you find what you love!  Looking forward to your workout will help generate momentum to do it and keep it going.

Food can be another stumbling block that zaps momentum – for multiple reasons.

Focus on what you love and what brings you joy.  Then do it!  You’re so worth it!

There are some vegetables that I don’t like either, but what works for me is focusing on all the healthy foods I love to eat.  Create a list of winner dinners for you and the family that are quick, healthy and delish.  The list might be small for starters, but it will grow.


MEANING!  Are you focused on your health in terms of a bigger life picture or why it’s important to you? 

When I was in college, I worked as an aid taking care of Alzheimers residents to get experience for graduate school.  There were lots of rewarding things about this kind of work, but it was also really hard – physically as well as emotionally.  One of my big takeaways was that I was going to do everything I possibly could to stay active and healthy well into my 90’s (or 100’s if I live that long!) – 70-80 years down the road.  Twenty years later, I still feel this in a big way.  I want to be dancing with my husband, biking, and hiking with my grandkids and be mentally aware enough to love it all.

It’s easy to separate the day-to-day choices with what our lives will look like 10-20 years down the road.  What we eat, how we sleep or spend our time today shapes our destiny. When it matters, people find time to get things done.

The trick is getting what matters to you to align with what actually gets done.

So what does that look like in my life on a daily basis?

One of the things I do to help me stay focused on my purpose is that I have a very specific morning routine that helps me get set for what I want to get out of the next 16 hours.  This helps me create meaning and forethought that generates momentum for the day – and my LIFE.


STRENGTHS!  What are you good at?  How have you applied your natural gifts (strengths) to cultivate that?

I’m a firm believer that YOU are awesome at something.  I know you are!  All of the qualities that make you a good friend, parent, spouse, manager, business owner or employee can be used to help with your health success as well.

Think about something you’re amazing at for one second.  What did you do to get really good at it?  How much time did it take?  What strengths do you have that you applied to get great results?

When starting out (on a new fitness regimen, for example), it is easy to compare our newbie, beginner status with someone else’s expert status (and results).

It’s uncomfortable, and sometimes embarrassing, to try new things for the first time (we all like to look like we’re good at things, right?).

Apply your strengths to learn how to be healthier and you’ll slowly start to generate momentum in this area of your life as well to the point where all your efforts, though small at first, will start to snowball into great results as you gain mastery.


IDENTITY!  What do you really believe about yourself and what you can accomplish? 

Which group of words do you resonate more with?  Fit. Active. Capable. Tenacious. Love To Learn…  OR  Busy. Stressed. Uncordinated.  Give Up Easily.  Unhealthy…

Which group of words, as beliefs, do you think would create more momentum?  The first group, right?  Of course!

We will never be able to out-perform our own expectations or beliefs about who we are.  The best news: these beliefs or identies about ourselves can be changed!  

One of my favorite mantras is:

Where Your Attention Goes, Energy Flows.  

Start to catch negative, false beliefs you think about yourself (let me tell you, if it is mean or negative in any way, it is NOT TRUE) and cultivate positive truths instead.  (Don’t believe me?  Let me ask you this: If you heard someone tell your daughter or your best friend the same words you tell yourself, how would you feel?!?  MAD, right?  Because it’s not true.  It’s not true for you either, my sweet friend.)

I used to feel like I couldn’t get started on this until I was perfect.  I’ve learned that when I am focused on progression instead perfection it is much easier to be gentle with myself and cultivate the empowering identities that I want to think and feel about myself.  (My dialoge has totally shifted: “You’ll get there!… Look how far you’ve come!… You can do this!  Keep trying!”)

Now it’s your turn.

Out of these four Momentum generating habits, which one do you need to focus on first?  OR  If you have a Momentum multiplier that I missed, please share in the comments below.  I would love to hear from YOU!

xo, Janeen

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watercolor splash with text Start to building momentum in your life by focusing on joy, meaning, strengths, and identity