Tough love Tuesday | motivation doesn’t grow on trees

I’m not the kind of instructor, trainer or coach who yells at or belittles her clients. I believe in setting a positive example and providing education, encouragement and a little ‘reality check’ when it’s needed. The following post is about the closest that I ever get to a ‘rant’. Know that it was written with love, in the hopes that it will help you move forward towards your health and fitness goals ~ Tamara

Lately, I’ve been blessed with a large number of new subscribers to this website. (Thank you all for deeming my content worthy of your time 🙂 If you’re not subscribed, you can do it now!).

Many of them have emailed me to tell me about their biggest challenges with fitness and healthy living (I ask for and welcome these interactions as they give me a better idea of the topics that readers are most interested in hearing about).

While I typically respond to as many of these emails as I can, I will admit to having failed to answer a single respondent citing ‘lack of motivation’ as their biggest hurdle to exercising regularly and making healthier choices in the kitchen.


Because motivation isn’t something I can give them. (Or you.)


Neither money nor motivation grow on trees…


Motivation doesn’t grow on trees. It won’t magically appear on your doorstep. It won’t reveal itself to you in a dream. You won’t wake up one morning and suddenly feel motivated to go for a run.

Sharing the things that motivate me won’t necessarily help you find what motivates you. It’s personal. It requires some insight, some self-reflection, a mindset shift and some thinking about the future. Some good, old-fashioned hard work.

If journalling helps you think and reflect, go for it!


Finding your motivation isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s down-right difficult. You might think you’ve figured it out only to realize you’ve ventured down a blind alley and need to back-track a bit to get back on course. But it’s always worth the effort. Always.

Those of us who know WHY we want to be healthy and fit find it easier to start and stick with the behaviours required to be healthy and fit. (Need some help with finding your ‘why’? Here’s a little how-to book I’ve written on the subject, with step-by-step instructions > 5 Steps to Finding Your Exercise Why)

Perhaps my new readers’ biggest obstacle isn’t really “I’m not motivated enough to exercise and eat better” but rather, “I haven’t yet figured out what will motivate me to make healthier choices”. 

Cancer is hard. Divorce is hard. Losing a loved one is hard.

Exercising and eating well so that you have more energy, sleep better, a stronger immune system, balanced hormones, are able to keep up with your kids and continue enjoying the activities you love for many years to come isn’t. 


It’s all about perspective.

Valuing yourself, wanting to be the best version of ‘you’ possible and desiring to live a full, adventure-filled life.

In the wise words of a friend:

“Yesterday, I was at an event where several of the 50+ aged women there don’t exercise regularly and most were not fit but were talking about knee surgeries, bad health issues… it made me realize the #1 reason I excercise is so that I can continue to be fit and healthy in my later years! There’s your motivation…”

I’d love to hear what motivates YOU! Perhaps your unique motivators will help another reader figure out hers.



  1. As I get older (late 40’s), my motivation for exercise and healthy living is slowly shifting . . . I used to be very focused on vanity (not going to lie). Now, like that friend you mention, I am starting to think of longevity and quality of life more. Many health challenges are foisted upon us, but many can be avoided by consistently exercising and eating well into our senior years. Being able to live independently, cook for oneself, get out of chairs and off the floor – those seem like laughable “goals” when we’re young but can make all the difference to an older person’s quality of life. So. While I’m concerned with avoiding a “menopot” and looking firm in a swimsuit, I’m also priming myself to engage in all the activities of daily living when I’m 80.

  2. I find the way I keep motivated is by putting money where my mouth is. So I enter races, then I know I need to train and run to be ready to run the race. Its sometimes hard to remind yourself that only YOU can motivate YOU.
    Meg recently posted…Things that annoy me about RunningMy Profile

    • Meg, I love that idea! I’ve kind of done the same thing by registering for a program at another facility. The gym that I teach at gives me free access, but apparently ‘free’ isn’t giving me the accountability I need right now.

  3. I love this post, Tamara because it is true. Motivaion is something we cannot give to others. It comes from within a person.

    I am motivated because I know staying fit helps me stay healthy, plus I want to continue feeling my best as I age. Knowing why I want to stay fit is the biggest motivator for me to keep moving.

    • I love your motivations Evelyn. I truly wish more people realized that they have to find it from within; that you and I and other coaches can’t create it for them!

  4. Jill Lange says:

    I, too, don’t want to spend a lifetime of doing nothing and then complaining about the resulting negative health effects. I know we can all be struck unexpectedly by illness or the general “wearing out” process. I just want to set myself up for the best possible scenario in aging as I can through exercise and diet.

  5. Thank you! So well said, Tamara, so well said!

  6. For me it is all about balance and I feel balanced when exercise, diet and sleep hit the ultimate mix! Feeling good motivates me!

  7. I don’t have a problem at all with exercise (if anything I might do too much) but eat terribly, very little fruits & veggies and sometimes I don’t know if I want to.

  8. Watching my body change
    muscles emerging from their hiding places
    new strength and spirit appearing

    ….that motivates me.

    There’s nothing like standing in the shower after a Grueling Grand Session, washing my shoulders and arms, and seeing actual muscle there instead of mid-40’s jiggle…THAT is what pushes me to show up at the gym tomorrow, and the next day, etc.

    I want to see what this body can do! All this good, healthy food, a good night’s sleep, energy to spare – let’s see where it can take me!

  9. I just feel better. I workout in the morning, and it clears my head. I use my run time to pray. Eating food good for my body makes me feel good. I guess just feeling good in my own skin motivates me. #mybodyisatemple

  10. Hi Tamara,
    I too use to get my motivation from what I wanted to look like on the outside. I have very cellulity <— I made it up lol…legs. I could exercise forever and still not get rid of it. So, I'd lose interest, start eating poorly again and so the yo yo cycle continued.
    I suffered for too many years from poor body images issues…then one day, overnight I made a complete mental switch. Literally overnight…I decided that my most important asset was/is my health. Since I shifted my focus away from appearances and onto internal health, physical as well as mental, I have had an almost perfect track record for motivation!
    Yup, I still want smooth legs, then i say oh ya, these old bubbly stems allow me the freedom to move!
    And you're right, you can't give someone motivation, it has to come from within. And not to be nasty, but I think, as you said, people need to start placing more value on their health.
    And another 'and'…I walk 5kms to work when it's not raining and every morning I see an elderly lady out for a walk…she motivates me because I want that to be me… ?

    • Yes! So many of us don’t seem to want to take responsibility for our health (and fate). I truly believe that we all have choices to make in this life. And I love that you’ve figured out the perfect motivator for you! xo

  11. I tell my clients that “motivation is not your friend. Motivation is not reliable. Sometimes you’re motivated and sometimes its just not there. ” and so, we don’t rely on motivation to get to where you’re going. You must clearly identify your goals and then make a commitment to acheiving those goals. Motivation wears off, gets lost, or disappears. And thats where the commitment becomes more important . So on any particular day, whether you’re motivated or not, you remain committed.

    • I love that quote. And you’re right, so many people place all of their trust in motivation and forget that commitment and consistency need to follow 🙂

  12. It is such an individual thing…. Of course I have been at it a long time BUT the beginning – when I was teased & made fun of still sticks with me honestly. PLus I have new things that keep me motivated now as I did when I was in my 30s & 40s. I have learned to tap into what makes it worth it to me… all about choices. But yes, growing old & being able to care for myself – so important now!

    Tough love is needed sometimes – my blog post today. 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 58 recently posted…I Didn’t Wake Up Like This! 2016 TRUTHS!My Profile

    • Yes, of course it’s individual and highly personal. That’s the point of the post. Many people think that motivation is just flying around waiting for us to grab it. The truth is, we have to do some inward-looking work to find it.

  13. I run circles (literally) around those who are much younger than me (turing 63 this year) because I keep up my yoga, swimming, running, cycling. Headed out for a 20+ miler on my mountain bike this a.m. and can’t wait to see that sunrise. Yes, women who talk about 40 and 50 being “old”- well I just shake my head and am glad I am not in the same mindset/bodyset they are and thank my luck stars daily for what I can still do!

  14. It is so true we are all motivated by different things, and also it depends on where we are in our life. For me right now, I think I what motivates me the most is trying to be as healthy as I can so that I age gracefully. I love to watch people faces as i tell the how old I am. They always say they thought I was younger
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