Do a Mind-Body Scan
Do a Mind-Body Scan
Practice De-Stressing
Practice De-Stressing
Create and Use a Sleep Ritual
Create and Use a Sleep Ritual
Use a Targeted Recovery Strategy
Use a Targeted Recovery Strategy
Think on a Continuum
Think on a Continuum
Eat Mostly Whole Foods
Eat Mostly Whole Foods
Eat Protein and Colorful Plants
Eat Protein and Colorful Plants
Practice 80% Full
Practice 80% Full
Practice Your Fitness Mission
Practice Your Fitness Mission
Maintain Progress
Maintain Progress
Deep Health
Deep Health

Action Before Inspiration

Act first, get motivated later

There are three big lies about what sustainable exercise and good nutrition are made of.

Lie #1: You have to be “inspired” to practice.

Lie #2: You should always be “motivated” to practice.

Lie #3: “Experts” are always motivated to practice.


Even for healthy lifestyle pros, there’s no such thing as unwavering motivation.

You will not always be “motivated” or “inspired”. You will not always feel “flow”.

Motivation comes and goes. Some days that motivation will be totally MIA.

But that doesn’t matter.

You don’t need motivation nor inspiration to follow through on plans to practice, consistently.

In fact, what differentiates an “expert” from an “amateur” isn’t necessarily motivation. It’s action. “Experts” find focus. They find ways to move their body through the essential actions, regardless of how they feel.

(within reason).

Action before motivation

Common knowledge assumes that motivation and inspiration—in other words, a particular mental state—come before action.

Sometimes that’s true. Most of the time, it’s not.

Action often comes before motivation. Action creates the mindset of momentum.

For instance, let’s say one day you decide to go for a walk. You’re not really inspired per se, but your brain feels fuzzy and you want some fresh air.

At first, you just sort of clump along, staring at the ground.

After 5 or 10 minutes, the brisk breeze starts to clear the cobwebs. You stand taller and breathe more deeply. Your stride lengthens and your hips loosen up. Now you’re walking proudly. You have direction.

The movement is actually giving you energy.

After 20–30 minutes, you finish that walk on a high.

Your brain fuzz is gone, replaced by crystal-clear thoughts. Your body is energized. You feel re-engaged with life and the universe.

Now you’ve found that motivated mental state.

What changed?

You acted first.

Motivation is fickle

Motivation and inspiration are like cats: They’re fickle in their affections, and they tend to disappear when you want them around.

You can’t depend on cats. Nor can you depend on motivation and inspiration.

Instead, you can depend on 3 Ss:

  • structure
  • systems
  • scheduling


Structures are the things and environments that surround us, and the things we put in place to ensure that things get done.

For instance:

  • Have a daily or weekly routine that helps you stay organized.
  • Look for a gym that is convenient and on your way home from work.
  • Make sure your kitchen is full of healthy food.

What needs to be around you in order to support your goals? How can you make your structure easier for yourself?

Then build those structures.


Systems are the processes and practices we use to make things happen.

For instance:

  • Have an evening ritual of packing your gym clothes.
  • Or have a morning ritual of making your food for the day.
  • Start your workout with the mobility warm-up routine that prepares you to move comfortably and effectively.

What needs to happen for you to be effective? What processes and practices need to be in place?

Then create and do those things.


You don’t just wait for the morning when you feel like going to the dentist. You book an appointment.

Likewise, we don’t just wait till inspiration strikes—we book a time to hit the gym. We know that at 5 p.m. on Monday, we should be pumping some iron or pounding out the miles at the track.

Book your fitness and nutrition just like you book any other appointment.

Make it a time priority, put it into your calendar, and stick to it.

Write In Your Journal

How will you make one of the 3 “Ss” work for you?