Why you shouldn’t rely on motivation alone, the mental benefits of being terrible at something, and middle split flexibility

Happy Monday,

It’s hard to feel motivated all the time. Even the people we think of as the most motivated — the top athletes, entrepreneurs, and change-makers — don’t always look forward to their daily grind.

The biggest difference between high achievers and everyone else is that they don’t rely on in-the-moment motivation to keep them going. Instead, they get clear on their deeper values — their “why” — then tie their motivation to those values.

The unscientific term for this is called stacking motivations — finding multiple motivators to keep you going even when you feel like doing just about anything else.

For example, if you’re having trouble feeling motivated to work out, dig deep to think about all the reasons you do want to exercise regularly, like:

  • Keeping your immune system healthy (deeper value: long-term physical health)
  • Learning a new skill or sport (deeper value: lifelong learning)
  • Better cognitive performance (deeper value: long-term brain health)

Try making a written list for any areas of your life that are important to you (I.e., health, career, relationships, etc.). That way, you’ll have something to remind you of your “why” any time you’re not feeling motivated at the moment.

What I’m reading —

The Mental Benefits of Being Terrible at Something / Brad Stulberg for Outside Magazine

Brad Stulberg (@bstulberg) is one of my favorite writers on high performance and well-being. He writes the Do it Better column for Outside Magazine. In this one, he talks about the joy of lifelong learning and mastery.

Writes Stulberg:

“Adults tend not to try new things because they are worried that they’ll fail, or at the very least believe they won’t be any good. The best way to break through that, of course, is to just start trying new things.”

What I’m listening to —

Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas by Alexi Pappas

Alexi Pappas is an Olympic runner, actress, and filmmaker and one heck of an inspiring person. I first heard her interviewed on the Rich Roll podcast earlier this year and was blown away by her authenticity. Her book is well written, heartbreaking, funny, and incredibly inspiring.

“Being a hero is a choice you can make, not a cape someone else will drape over you. You make your own cape.”

A quote that inspires me —

“The only thing more difficult than the emotional toil of pursuing true excellence is the emotional toil of not pursuing true excellence.” — Steven Kotler

What I’m training this week —

Middle split flexibility.

I’ve never really enjoyed working on my flexibility. To trick myself into stretching more, I create skill-related goals that require greater flexibility. For example, some of the handstand and martial arts skills I’d like to achieve require greater middle splits flexibility. To make it easier on myself, I sprinkle in stretching as a rest in between reps rather than do an entire flexibility-focused session. A little bit of consistent stretching goes a long way.

Three new workouts from last week —

4-Minute Tabata Finisher Workout (Tabata, equipment-free)

Full Body Stronger Challenge Workout (Challenge, Kettlebell, sandbag or dumbbells, dip bar or parallel bars)

Outdoor Sprint + Bodyweight Challenge Workout (Challenge, equipment-free)

And here’s a slam ball workout I posted on Instagram.

Remember, you can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete (this is WAY cheaper than joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer! In addition, you’ll be helping to support the site and making future features to the app possible.).

As always, I value your feedback, so please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!

Here’s to staying motivated over the long-term,

– Krista Stryker

PS. I’m finally starting to get the appeal of TikTok, and am starting to use it as a platform to post tutorials, workouts, my training progress, and mindset-related content. Follow me if you’re on it and we can learn together!


Sign up for Krista's Movement + Mindset Mastery newsletter to get your FREE eBook, 5 Keys to Building Mental and Physical Fitness. You'll also receive weekly physical and mental fitness-related content to help get you fired up for the week ahead.

Leave a Comment