I’ve been talking about what really drives people to succeed for a long time.

The research shows that self-discipline and “motivation”, as most of us think about it, is a very fleeting thing.

And it’s true.

I can go listen to someone like Tony Robbins (I’ve actually seen him live) and leave the session feeling like I am invincible.  About a week later though, the shine is largely gone, isn’t it?

Motivation fades quickly.

When I was a shot putter and discus thrower, I never needed anyone to push me to go throw.  I lived for it.  I got excited each and every day before practice because I got the chance to throw that day.

I loved it. (To this day, I still have dreams about throwing…and I’m actually disappointed when I wake up and realize I hadn’t competed in the Olympic Games.)

I was “all in”.

My dream was to be a World Champion.

Whether it happened or not was not the point.

I knew I was fortunate, because many people can go their entire lives and never find something they can truly love to do.

When I was no longer competitive at Track and Field, I moved on the Scottish Highland Games; a decidedly more relaxed version of throwing.  And I truly enjoyed doing that as well.


At the end of what was my best-ever season of throwing, I knew I had had enough.  I knew it was time to move on to something else.

My inner drive (where true inspiration comes from) wavered…and I recognized it.

I did not compete again.

And I was fine with that.  I put everything into it and had no regrets.

The point is, I had a burning desire from way inside to achieve certain goals because I wanted to see just how good I could be.

I was not relying on motivational talk or self-discipline to get me to the field every day.

The other morning, I caught a segment on Good Morning America.  It featured David Goggins, a former Navy Seal, Army Ranger and ultra-marathoner (that’s insane!)…if that weren’t enough, he held the world record for most pullups done in 24 hours.


His best quote from the show?  “Motivation is crap.”

I agree.  Now you’d think this guy was just a walking bundle of motivation, but he’s stated up front, that’s NOT what he relies upon!

This can be a bit disheartening to those of you looking to make some changes this year.  The common mentality is that you just need to find the motivation to change.


Your goal, no matter what it is, has to MEAN something to you.  You need to have a deep-seated desire to achieve this “thing” no matter what.

That way, on those dark days when you just don’t feel like taking care of business, you have a DEEPER PURPOSE to fall back on.

Examples include:

  • I want to live longer, so I want to lose XX pounds.
  • I want to live with a higher quality of life.
  • I want to be there for my spouse/significant other.
  • I want to look good.
  • I want to feel better about myself. I’m not happy.
  • I want to feel self-confidence again.
  • I want to do things with my family again.
  • , etc.

Living longer is a good one for me!   My father died at age 53.  I’m 57…so far so good.   I have no intention of following a similar path.

I want a high quality of life, and live to see my grandchildren grow up.  These goals are REALLY important to me and I’ll do what it takes to stick with them.

No rah, rah statements necessary to get me going.


How can you put this to use?

Ask yourself this question…

“What goal could you set for yourself that, if you achieved it, would genuinely get you excited to get out of bed in the morning?”

Or this version…

“Who or what would you move mountains for without hesitation?”

Answer that question, and you have your “WHY”…and the battle is half won.