Episode 106: Getting Started When You’re Not Motivated to

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There are times in our lives when we have things we want or need to do but we just don’t feel motivated to actually start. Oftentimes we procrastinate, give up, or distract ourselves with lesser things which makes the getting started even harder to do. So how do you get started when you’re not motivated to? Tune in with LDS Life Coach Hannah Coles and I’ll help you out!


Welcome back my friends. Oh how I have missed you! Thank you again for your well wishes and just keeping tabs on me. I can’t express to you how much I genuinely appreciate those comments, your messages, your DM’s on social media. You all are amazing and I am so incredibly grateful for you. We have had illness, travel, a death of a dear friend, service opportunities, holidays, and just about everything under the sun and so I have to tell you that the podcast didn’t get pushed under the rug. I made the conscious decision out of love for me, love for you that I would wait and give myself the time I needed to rest and come back to you with all the energy of my heart and being. 

It’s okay to rest and to step back when you need to – it’s not really stepping back either – it’s stepping around, aside, and still progressing – you’re still moving forward. You can never really move backward. You’re always moving forward because you are always evolving. So follow my example and take intentional, on purpose, compassionate rests, time, and space when you want it and need it. 

And here’s the thing, whenever we stop or pause something it can be difficult to step back up and get started again. What’s really fascinating is that I wrote this podcast out before I took any time off. Before I got really sick, before our dear friends were hurt, before the holidays, before everything and I love that I believe that Heavenly Father was/is always looking out for me that He knew that maybe this was the perfect topic for me to dive back in after these unique circumstances and knew that I’d be in a very experienced position to offer you insight and tools to help you navigate these times.

Let’s go ahead and dive in. We’re talking about how to get started with something when you’re really not motivated to. So many of you, so many of my Catalyst members have dreams and goals that they want to do but they struggle to take those first steps.

There are those of you out there that want to write a book and they have these big ideals and the desire is there but when they go to put it in motion there’s a gap. They find themselves playing on social media or getting distracted with other things and it just postpones that start up even further.

Some of you might be desirous to lose weight or start exercising more and so you tell yourself day after day that you’re going to start tomorrow, you’re going to start next week and yet that day comes and it’s just really difficult to get going.

Some of you have expressed the desire to go back to school and finish your degree but when it comes time to dive in they struggle to get started. 

And if this is you then I’m really glad you’re here and I’m going to help you out with this today so that you can go and do and create all the things you want to in your life and not only that – but the best part of this is that you will have the tools you need to know what to do the next time something like this happens and you’ll be able to prove to yourself that you can be trusted.

That you know how to move forward and that you don’t ever have to be stuck again.

That’s really the best part. It’s that layer of confidence and security that comes when you know how to move forward and it’s never contingent upon the outer circumstances. You all know that I love that quote from Mary Poppins where she sings, “Maybe all that’s missing lives inside of you” – because it’s so true.

I love that so much that I even commissioned an artist to paint a custom painting of that quote for me because human nature – our natural man brain – my inner hobbit wants to argue with that and find every single reason why it can’t be done. Why I can’t start today. Why I’m stuck and it’s perfect for me to remember that “no, I have everything I need inside of me right here and right now”. 

So yes, I’m going to teach you how to move forward and get started but also it’s a lesson in confidence and proving to yourself that you can be trusted to take care of you and create all that you want to create.

In business, they use a particular term when getting started. They call it “launch”, right? And Webster’s definition of that is to “throw forward” – this implies a bit of force right? – Not to be confused with being forced but the actual physics – force, movement, energy behind something to get it off the ground and into motion.

In fact, a spacecraft burns the majority of its fuel to get it off the ground and into motion. It’s somewhere along the lines of 85% of its fuel to throw it forward, right? So when it comes to us getting started it’s no wonder why it can feel like a huge step, why we’re resistant to it. It’s not that it’s “hard” but rather that we’re not as ready or prepared for the initial take-off.

Now I know a great many of you are pro-procrastinators, like that? You’re able to get moving and get started because you have a deadline, people are counting on you, maybe it’s the fear of embarrassment if you don’t get started and so you wait until the last minute and then all of the sudden you have a burst of energy that we sometimes mistake as motivation and that fuel that launches us forward but in reality, it’s more accurately known as adrenaline and fear.

Fear is a great motivator but it sure doesn’t feel good. So what can you do to get started when you don’t feel like it and when you don’t have any external circumstances creating the sense of urgency? Like for our goals, for that book, you’ve always wanted to write, or going to the gym each day? It’s harder because you don’t have an easy compelling reason. In the moment when you don’t really feel like it, it’s easy to keep putting it off but with the example of that deadline, you have a strong compelling reason – my job is on the line, people are relying on me, right?

So what do you do when you don’t have a given compelling reason? You create one! Simon Sinek wrote, “Our WHY is our purpose, cause or belief—the driving force behind everything we do…If we want to feel an undying passion for our work, if we want to feel we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we all need to know our WHY.”

One of the biggest culprits in keeping us on the couch instead of inaction is our lack of purpose. It’s that sneaky but powerful thought, “What’s the point?” 

No one knows I’ve been thinking about a book, so why write it? Why start today? What’s the point?

Or when we think, “No one will know. I don’t have a gym buddy so I’m not letting anyone down, what’s the point?”

It’s these super sneaky thoughts that sabotage our dreams and keeps us from getting started in the first place.

I can’t even begin to count how many coaching sessions I’ve coached on where it’s devoted to that question, “what’s the point?” And in every coaching session, I throw the question back to them and ask them to answer it.

What IS the point?

Why do you want to write a book? Get your degree? Start your business? Start that podcast? Lose the weight? Start journaling? Start running? Homeschool your kids? Host that book club or other event?

What is the point? And the more you ask yourself that question the more energy and mental fuel you’ll feel behind it because the answer to that question is your WHY. It’s your purpose. It’s the driving force to launch you forward.

But you’ll need and want to dig deep. It can’t be a casual response because it needs to be compelling. Do you know what the definition of compelling is?

“to drive, to urge forcefully and irresistibly, overpowering”

These are some high-energy packed adjectives, right? Launch, urge, power. The way I was taught about my compelling reason was to think of my favorite person in the world – it can be your kids – don’t worry, you don’t have to play favorites – just someone that is really special to you, someone you’d do anything for.

Now picture them off a ways in the ocean and they’re struggling. They need help. They need help NOW. What do you do?

You dive in and save them, right? You’re not going to stop and talk to the lady sitting on her beach chair and compliment her hat, right? You forget everything else and all you can think about is saving that person. 

But why? Why did you do it? What was the driving force behind that action? What was it that got you started when maybe 5 minutes earlier you definitely had no intentions or desires of wading in the ocean – especially if you’re on the Pacific Coast like I am. The water is frigid. I love the beach but I’m in love with the Caribbean sea. Okay, besides the point.

What was your compelling reason?

That I love them. That I can’t imagine my life without them. They need me. I  must save them.

This is the caliber of your WHY that you need to get started. You need something that launches you forward, that carries power and force behind it but not from a scarcity or fear based standpoint but rather an irresistible one. One that is so rich with love and desire that you can’t help but get started.

This is where you’ll spend most of your time in the getting started process because it’s the force behind the entire thing. It’s like a pendulum – the why is what is drawing it back and the higher it goes the more force it will create and the more momentum it carries to continue on and on and on.

As adults, one of the best things is our free agency and the use of our time. Why do you do any of the things you do? What compelling reasons do you have in place already? How can you use those to help you with this endeavor as well?

When it comes to writing a book or starting a podcast, or a business or anything new it’s important to think about why on a grand scale. The words won’t get written if it’s not done by you. No one will get to hear your voice or  read the unique words that come from your mind.

I was reading one of my favorite books recently. I read it every November. It’s fiction and I just love it for so many reasons but I was thinking how grateful I am that she overcame whatever resistance she had in her mind, whatever doubts came up and you know they did because they always do. Because my life is all the more richer with her writings. I needed her contribution in my life. It stirs magic in me each and every year and without her, I’d have missed so many opportunities to savor and appreciate this world that she created. The book is, “The Scorpio Races” for those who are curious – I know I was going to get some messages asking about that. 

But, listen, what words, what message, what ideas, what creativity is in your mind that can only come from you – because only you have your mind – that the world is less than because it’s not out there to share?

Knowing your significance and valuing your ideas and your voice can be a very strong compelling reason. You have an idea to share. You can help someone. You have the answers someone needs. Can that be your reason why? Can that be what launches you forward?

Oftentimes it’s these moments where we allow ourselves to just explore and ask these questions that can already act as the catalyst that creates more energy within us and has us ready to move forward. Moving forward is less about the actual action – the A line on our model and more about focusing on the T line – your thoughts, your story, your mindset.

Whatever stopped you in the first place wasn’t a circumstance. It’s never because something outside of us. It’s always because of the story we’re telling ourselves. It’s always the thought that creates the resistance, the added weight, the drudgery and so looking at this from a model perspective – which is that circumstances trigger our thoughts and our thoughts create our feelings which drives us into action or inaction which is still an action and our actions creates our results. 

So it’s never what happens in the circumstance line that thwarts us. It’s never what we do – what happens in the A line that moves us forward or stops us. 

It always starts and ends in the T line- with your thoughts, what you’re allowing yourself to believe and think about and what thought track you’re running with. So give yourself time to ask the questions and don’t feel in a hurry to answer them either. Let the question sit there so that your brain will keep coming back to it and adding more and more insight.

I’m telling you, the stronger your compelling reason is, the more clear your vision/your why – the stronger your start up can and will be. If you’ve been stuck for a bit or struggling to get started again – focus less on the doing and way more on what you’re thinking and what feelings you’re creating. 

It’s your feelings not your actions that drive what you do. We can force ourselves to move forward but it’s usually fleeting. It doesn’t last long and it’s miserable. But if your feelings are compassion, understanding, and curiosity you’re naturally going to want to get started and start taking steps forward.

Okay, my catalysts. You can do this. You have everything you need within you already. Lots of love for you! See you next week!

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