inner motivation
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“To-Dos” Don’t Matter if You Can’t Implement: 5 Steps to Sustain Your Motivation

Just a few years back, motivation was my MAIN struggle when it came to lifestyle change.


I was a new mom (again) with a small toddler and a child in grade school. One morning, I received an email in my inbox from an acquaintance (who is now a friend) who was starting a local running group at the park near my house. Since I really didn’t know where to start a lifestyle change, I thought that having a “group run” a few days a week would get me started with some type of physical activity AND hold me accountable. I decided to join in (and hoped to gain some inner motivation!)!


Over the next several weeks, I walked and jogged and walked some more until I finally worked up to running a 5k in just 2 months time. This was an exciting accomplishment!


inner motivation

Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss

What I achieved was getting started down the road to being fit. What I didn’t achieve were any stellar fat loss results. I didn’t know that cardio wasn’t the best way to achieve fat loss (see the image for the difference in weight loss vs. fat loss). Sure I shrunk in size a bit, but I still had flabby arms, a muffin top, and a less than desirable mid-section. I was a smaller, mushier version of myself.

 Then I found weight training!

I started hitting the weights and got slightly better results. It wasn’t until I ignored Tony Horton telling me to go light with 12-15 reps simply because I was a girl that I began to see true body change!!! 🙂 Instead, I started following his recommendations for MEN. Boy was there a difference!!

How I eat and exercise has changed a few times over the years since receiving that email from my friend, but exercise being a part of my life finally stuck. What changed?

I found my inner motivation!

I was tired of getting a little bigger each year. I didn’t like how my clothes fit. I had bulges in all the wrong places. Sure, I was active before I began to run. I liked to hike, camp, go on family walks, and more, but I was not a regular exerciser until I got to a place where I didn’t like the direction I was headed anymore. I was FED UP! I wanted to be a mom who was fit enough to play with my kids at the park. I didn’t want to end up with diabetes or heart disease (both run in my family). I wanted to feel better so I could get more out of life and be the best version of me!


Now that I can truly say that I’m living the lifestyle of fitness and fat loss, I often find myself in conversations about finding the motivation to keep up this lifestyle on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s a conversation with a friend or family member, and other times it’s an email question from a reader of this blog or even a client. When I’m asked about finding the motivation to get started, I have to tell you that I can’t provide you with that. I can lay out the best plan there is, guide you along the right path, give you all the “to-dos”, but I can’t offer intrinsic motivation.


Not knowing what to do and where to start can certainly squash any inkling of motivation in a person. I get that! Been there myself. Having a coach offers you an edge and provide you with some “to-dos”. A coach and the accountability offered in the coaching/client relationship give you a spark that will hopefully ignite your inner motivation (see the end of this post for my top recommendations for coaching). We all know those “fitspiration” pictures (see below) only last as motivation for so long! Ultimately, you have to dig a little deeper to find lasting motivation, because, without that, the “to-dos” will never be implemented.

inner motivation


Let me walk you through 5 steps to help you find YOUR inner motivation…


Step 1: Determine your “why?”. Why is it that you want to make a lifestyle change?

  • Is it to feel better? Don’t we all want to feel good? YES!
  • To move better? I’ve had so many clients and friends who make positive changes say how much better they feel. I remember one person telling me how awesome it is to be able to bend over and clean their own bathtub without losing balance. Who would think that any of us would get excited about cleaning bathtubs!!?? Once you lose that ability, it would be pretty exciting to regain it!
  • To gain health?
  • To look better? To fit into your jeans from college? 😉 (I get it! We are all a little vain, right?)
  • To set an example for your friends or spouse?
  • To meet a specific challenge or goal?
  • To set an example for your children? I believe this is the #1 reason for most moms!

Step 2: Write down your “why”.

Keep it in a place that you will notice daily. Maybe on a note card in the book you read each night or even stuck to your bathroom mirror. Reminding yourself of your why will help keep you focused on what matters most to you and make implementing the “to-dos” much, much easier.

Step 3: Reflect on your “why” daily.

This goes back to step 2. If you are keeping it written down and putting in a place you will see daily, you will be reminded often. When you are reminded of your “why”, take just a few seconds to reflect. Be introspective. Think about how you’re doing with your lifestyle changes without judgment. Just be real with yourself. Honesty is the best way to begin acceptance of your current circumstances and will allow you to move forward.

Step 4: Use Visualization.

Visualization is a powerful tool that many of us don’t utilize often enough. Try this. Close your eyes and visualize what it looks like in the future. Visualize how you feel when you meet a goal that you have set for yourself. Think of being healthy and fit. Pretend as if you have already achieved it. This vision gives you an emotional attachment to your “why” when you think about it. Think about success. Know that YOU WILL SUCCEED because you can see it and taste it.

Step 5: Think about the alternative.

The alternative to changing your ways is staying exactly the same. Are you happy with where you are in life? Do you like the example you are setting for your friends, family, and children? Do you feel good in your own skin? Are you happy with the status of your health and fitness level? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then great. If not, then the only alternative to changing your ways is to continue down the same old road that is not giving you the results you are after.

Assignment: Go through these steps and see if you can channel your inner motivation to get started down the road to a healthier lifestyle! Once you connect with your BIG WHY, the “to-dos” become essential and nearly second nature.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

I submit that getting started begins with the steps listed in this article. 🙂

Ready to get started? Here is my top suggestion for a program and coaching service to help you reach your goals!

FASTer Way to Fat Loss is a 6 Week Boot Camp that Utilizes Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting – HIGHLY effective program!

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!
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How to Get Your Priorities Straight Once and For All

Meet my friend, Maryalice. 🙂


Maryalice Goldsmith, Founder of InsideOut Wellness

Maryalice, over the past couple of years, has become a great friend of mine. We me in Winston-Salem, NC at a photo shoot for fitness professionals that was hosted by our mutual business coach, Jill Coleman.  I was immediately drawn to Maryalice’s lively personality and energetic presence. Plus, she’s hilarious and makes me laugh out loud constantly when we are together-  and who doesn’t love laughter?!? It’s healing for the soul! We had a fun weekend getting to know each other and have been friends ever since!


Maryalice is a leader when it comes to working with clients to lower stress, set priorities in order, and pursue a fulfilled life! This is a journey she knows very well herself (as you will read below), so she’s the perfect person to offer her perspective on how to go about pursuing your own purpose. Maryalice a person who sets out to help others every single day!


I was chatting with Maryalice recently, and she mentioned that she had a “Finding Your Purpose” program she’d been using with her own clients. This was an exciting revelation since I’m often asked by busy women about how to stay motivated and how to keep health and fitness a priority.   I asked Maryalice if she’d make an appearance on my blog to share some ideas about how she navigated this journey and offer you some tips on getting started with setting priorities in line with your goals and purpose!


Enjoy this journey with Maryalice… 🙂

Hey everyone, I am thrilled to be here on Jill’s blog and even more excited to share a bit about my journey. So thank you for being here!

A few years ago I had one of those revelations, you know the kind that people talk about that changes their whole life…puts things into perspective – that kind. But, unlike many people who have those ‘A-HA’ moments, mine was more of an ‘A-HA’ journey.

I think many of you can relate to those times in your life when you are driving along and you think ‘There must be something more ~ this can’t be it!’ I have to tell you while having these thoughts there was no way I wanted to share it with anyone. I actually felt a bit guilty as I had a pretty awesome life. I was married to my high school sweetheart for 16-years, we had 3-awesome boys, and at the time a beautiful fur-baby (our Yellow-Lab – Abby, now we have 2!). Life was good and there was no way I should be feeling sorry for myself and looking for more. But, in all honestly, I was.

I had this ‘Ho-Hum’ feeling. Every day seemed the same and in one word I was bored. It sounds ridiculous now, but at that time it was what it was. I was a stay-at-home mom, a dream of my husband and mine and I loved being a mom for my boys, there is no greater blessing. I think that is why I was even more dumbfounded. Here I had anything I could have ever wanted and still wasn’t satisfied, I wasn’t 100% happy. This was a struggle because I was ashamed.

Then the journey began…












One day a friend of mine introduced me to this book called the Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly. I hadn’t read a book in I don’t know how long so I was excited to have a book that came highly recommended. I began to read this book and I was having those ‘A-HA’ moments non-stop! There was so much he was speaking about that was resonating.

  • Lacking focus
  • Feeling bored with life
  • Lacking energy – depression and frustration
  • The yearning for something more.

He spoke about how many of us struggle with lack of direction and focus…(Hello – I can so relate!) how we allow ourselves to get caught up in the chaos of life without taking the time to touch base with our soul. We let stress, anxiety, and frustration to build up and we block ourselves from true happiness.

I decided that I was not going to take these ‘A-HA’ moments and do nothing with them – I was going to start my process ~ my journey inward. I began to meditate every morning – I would wake before the entire house and I would sit in complete stillness. This was REALLY hard to get used to, but once I did, it became a highlight of my day. I would then journal and express what was on my heart and mind.

4-Key elements we all need to focus on…

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There were 4-key elements I would address at the end of my journal entry – how was I going to address my spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical needs of that day? I would dedicate part of my day to address these 4-area’s because in that I was honoring my soul. When we honor our soul ~ when we give our soul a voice we are then able to be the very best version of ourselves, we are able to thrive.

This journey was an amazing experience. It made me realize that I wasn’t lacking in anything except the connection to myself. I had lost myself. I was undefined – lacking focus, energy, and my purpose. I had entrenched myself in my role of a wife and a mother, which is a great thing, but as the kids got older and needed me less I became more and more lost.

It takes more than an ‘A-HA’ moment to reveal your true purpose!

Self-discovery of any kind takes time and commitment. The more I practiced stillness the better I got at it. The more I addressed my physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual needs the more I discovered who I was, what I loved, who inspired me, and who I inspired. I began to live my life with purpose and everything changed – Everything!

I remember waiting for my youngest son to come home after school one day, he was 8-years old at the time. I saw the bus come through the neighborhood, so I jumped up to meet him outside. He came running up the hill to our house and I said: “Hey buddy, how was your day!?” He looked up at me with a quizzical stare and simply said: “Why are you so happy!?

Now someone might have taken offense to this, but for me, it was so affirming. I was not happy the way I was living. I wasn’t miserable either but there is a difference between a person who is grateful and aware and one who is always in search of something more. When you look at someone who is lost and confused versus someone who is confidently clear about his or her life – there is a HUGE difference. This was a profound moment for me. I knew I had revealed my purpose through my practice and the work I had put in. Even more importantly, I knew just how important it was to live with purpose and how it can have a profound impact on one’s life and the people in it.

It doesn’t take a miracle, just respecting your process…

There is no miracle here, by any means. Like I said, there was no one ‘A-HA’ moment that changed my life forever, there is a process and a journey that led me back to me. This process has given me clarity, direction, inspiration, and passion for living my best life yet. If it weren’t for this process I wouldn’t be typing this right now. It allowed me to take risks to design the life of my dreams from the inside out!

I am a believer that when you discover or learn something it is our obligation to share it with as many people as we possibly can. In fact, I have discovered that one of my main reasons I am on this earth is to help others – to bring people to a better understanding of themselves. Doesn’t necessarily matter how I do that, but I know that when I am doing it, I get fired up in a really good way! I am living with purpose. Are you living with purpose?

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There is no need to rush your process. This is your journey and should be respected as such.

People who live with purpose are more focused, grateful, happy, and successful. Their success comes from, not so much in what they are doing but more from the fact that no matter what it is they do, they do it well. They are fulfilled and they embrace life 100%. Their priorities are in order and they go to great lengths to address them daily. They know themselves to the core and they live their life based on their values and morals. They are ‘doers’, risk takers, and they live a passionate life. We all deserve that!

If you have any questions you can reach me here:

In Health & Fitness,