How Do We Motivate The Unmotivated, Which Means Ourselves From Time To Time

Hi folks!

Motivation! Now there is an interesting subject. I was perusing the LiveStrong website, and I came across an interesting article on this subject by Dania Sacks March. Up until recently, I considered motivation to be just a matter of using a carrot or a stick to get you going. For instance, carrot-wise I am motivated to train by all the good stuff that goes with it. Stick-wise I am motivated to train, in spite of the necessary pain (good pain, I hasten to add) that goes with endurance training, by having a coach to report to. I hate having to tell my coach that I missed a workout unless it is for a good reason. Such reasons are rare indeed!

In the article referred to above, it is stated [my bolding] that “understanding how change works can help you find and maintain your motivation.” This author cites the work of “University of Rhode Island researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, [who state that] there are six stages of change: pre-contemplation is the mindset before you even think about making a change; contemplation is the stage in which you start to think about making a change; preparation is the stage during which you start to get ready for a change; action is when you are in the midst of changing; maintenance is remaining consistent with your new behaviors; and relapse (which people tend not to realize is one of the stages of change) is falling back on former behaviors.”

So! How do we use this information as a road to motivation? The answer to this question is approached by Dania Sacks March through the support of others and selecting people and environments that are nurturing, rather than destructive:

“Rarely do people make it through changes without support. Look at the people, institutions and environments in which you interact and ask yourself which are helpful and which may be detrimental to you. Setting your sights on positive influences and asking for help will assist you in your new behaviors. No doubt, if you have the bug, you can do it alone; but why struggle when there are likely many people just like you with whom you can share the efforts of the challenge and the celebrations of success?”

I have a whole team of people encouraging me to train, in one way and another, and here are a few of them – I am a lucky man!

Part of Kevin's Support Crew, From Left To Right, Nick, Deb, and Tara

But at the end of the day, I have to get myself out of bed for that early morning run or bike ride, or to jump in the cold water. No one can do it for me! If that is the case, how can we help people who really need to train to save themselves from heart disease or diabetes if they just refuse to get off the couch? Any suggestions would be much appreciated, as I know quite a lot of people like this and I sure would like to get them moving!

Thanks for a great article, Dania!




  1. Hi Kevin,
    I don’t imagine you miss much time exercising. You’re pretty ripped in most of the pics I’ve seen of you!
    For me, having a goal to focus on is key. I find myself getting lazy and complacent without one. I’ve been blessed with a speedy metabolism so if I did nothing but sit on the sofa and eat mcdonalds everyday I wouldn’t get fat. That blessing can also be a problem because it makes it even easier for me to be complacent. After open heart surgery I was terrified I’d never be the same and the only thing that got me out of that train of thought and into training mode was a goal. I set a far fetched goal of running my first marathon on the one year anniversary of my surgery. The goal kept me busy the entire year after, fighting tooth and nail to get in shape. I ran the NYC Marathon a year after surgery to the day. That was last November, and in the months afterward I got complacent again…..working out on and off, but with no real focus or committment. I should have had some new goals lined up. About a month ago I picked some small races, a bi-athalon that incorporates mountain biking and running, and a few other interesting events to do over this summer. I’ve also made a routine of getting involved with my 4, and 7 year old on their bikes, going for runs, etc. So suffice it to say I’m back in a regimen again. GOALS, GOALS, GOALS! They keep you going.

    • Hi! Benjamin,
      Have you considered getting a coach? I find it helps a lot as I don’t have to spend time working out my training plan, which is complex, leaving time for me to focus on the workouts. It works for me anyway. Like you I need a goal!
      Enjoy the kids. They grow up far too quickly.

  2. Dania Sacks March says

    Thanks Kevin! I’m glad my article has inspired you.
    Indeed, it does sometimes take sheer willpower to get out of bed and into the water or onto the road. What we sometimes don’t realize is that what we call “willpower” is actually a choice. Every time you go in a particular direction, that’s you making a choice. Snoozing in, dragging yourself out of bed, bounding onto your bike – those are all choices you make in, or away from, the direction of your goals.
    I find that when I can remind myself of the options I have *at any moment*, I’m more likely to chose the healthier, more oriented-towards-my-goals, path. And that, over time, makes a difference in my behaviors.
    In terms of helping others do the same, I’d suggest it’s a matter of helping them identify their own goals. And sometimes, the goals that others choose for themselves look quite different than those we would choose for them. The key to understanding that, is that a goal that someone sets for themselves, which is important to them, is a goal to which they have bought in.
    Buy in to goals is sometimes more important than accomplishment. I could set plenty of goals for you, given a bit more information about you, but if they’re not what you’d like to do, it doesn’t matter. However, if I can help you identify what matters to you, and facilitate your setting objectives to achieve in that direction, then you’re set up (with support from me) to go get em!
    It’s helpful to remember when we want to help others, that a personal goal set up and achieved will likely lead to further goal setting and attainment. In other words a little self-efficacy goes a long way.
    (You can read more about the concept of self efficacy here: or

    Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Dania,

      Thanks for your response and offer to help with my motivation. I’ll think about that. Right now I work with a coach, but we always need one. What does interest me is methods to inspire motivation in others. Especially ‘older others!’ I was wondering if you would mind if I took your comment and turned it into a post, with the links you attached. Or, better still, you could write such a post, and I’ll post if for you.

      Right now, I am ‘small potatoes’ in the blog-o-sphere, but my traffic is slowly growing. It is an interesting process building quality in-links!

      What do you think about a ‘motivation’ post from yours truly, on my blog! Remember, my key audience for this blog is people who are scared to death of the effects of their AAA!

      Your comments remind me of one of the things Prof. Dumbledore said to Harry Potter! See:


      Kevin (Old Dog!)

  3. Dania Sacks March says

    Hi Kevin,
    (Sorry it took a while to get back to you). If it’s still relevant, I’d be happy to take the post and turn it into something more. Let me know.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.