Self-Motivation For Losers


I am not a fan of motivational things. It’s a weird quirk, seeing as I’m a generally warm, excitable person, but when it comes to things that are supposed to make me root for the underdog or defeat the odds… They make me feel kind of icky. I hate John Mayer’s “Daughters,” most self-help books (I’ve read a bunch during a low point) and don’t even get me started on Seabiscuit. I’ve never seen it, but the trailer was enough. THERE’S NO WAY THE HORSE KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON. QUIT BEING INSPIRED BY THE HORSE. That movie is literally horse shit… Underdog racehorse shit.

So when it comes to motivating myself to do things, I’m kind of at a loss. For the most part, I’m inspired by necessity and guilt. I’ve got to go to work because if I don’t, I’ll get fired and won’t be able to live. I’ve got to do my work once at work because if I don’t, my bosses will get mad and I don’t like when people are mad at me. I’ve got to clean my room once it’s gotten out of hand because if not, it may be difficult for my roommates to find me if I were to die among the piles and I’d feel guilty if they were inconvenienced by the smell or task of finding my dead body.

For everything else in life that I should be doing (reading books or making myself a better person), I’ve convinced myself that because I’m in my 20s all of that can wait a few years.

There’s really only one thing that requires motivation in my life at this point, and that’s getting to the gym. As a former fat kid, I know the gym is something that has to be part of my life for ever and for always, but because I didn’t grow up ‘enjoying’ physical exertion, getting to the gym takes some internal prodding.

The amazing thing is how great I am at motivating myself to NOT go to the gym. If not working out were a thing people aspired to achieve, I would be the Dr. Phil of sloth. I’d be worth like 4 billion dollars. The problem of course, is that no one is bragging about how they brought their gym bag to work EVERY DAY this week and managed to convince themselves at the very last second not to get off at train stop for their gym, and instead went home and got drunk on their couch and then ordered a calzone and mozzarella sticks. Yes, it is a redundant order and that’s why it’s so damn good… You judgmental bastards.

Here are the things I tell myself that successfully get me to skip the gym:

“C’mon… It’s Monday.”

Summer is six months away!”

“Just don’t eat dinner.”

“C’mon… It’s Tuesday.”

Remember that article you read in Glamour in 7th grade. Remember how it said the average woman is 5’4″ and 145. You only weigh 143. YOU ARE SO THIN.”

Treat. Yo. Self

C’mon… It’s Wednesday.”

“Everyone gets fat in the winter.”

“You’re missing happy hour!”

“You’re like, Tina Fey’s size. She’s the Poster Child for normal women!”

“You don’t want to get too muscular. You’ve already been to an “Abs & Ass” class this week.


When it comes to getting myself off the train and onto a treadmill, the tactics escalate. I go from trying to repeat everything I’ve ever seen on The Biggest Loser or heard in a yoga class to verbally assailing myself.

It starts out so nice:

“You don’t have to do much, you can even do the elliptical today!”

“Just go! It’s only one hour. You can do anything for one hour!”

“Think of how good you’ll feel afterwards!”

Then I move into the motivational stage:

“Become the best version of yourself!”

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life as a thin person!”

“You deserve to have a happy, healthy temple.”

After that, bargaining comes into play:

“Look at your calorie tracker. If you go, you can have that third glass of wine.”

“Summer is six months away. You still have enough time to not feel extra sweaty this summer!”

“You can buy candy on the way home, just fucking get off the train.”

And then… It gets ugly:

“C’mon… It’s MONDAY. If you aren’t going to work out on a Monday you’re never going to work out every again. EVERYONE works out on Monday. Chris Christie works out on Mondays, you fat piece of shit.”

“No one loves you and they never will until you lose these eight pounds. Not even your mom.”

“Remember last week, when you ate that crouton?”

“If the average woman weighs 145 pounds, then why are you the fattest woman on this train?”

“You look like Tina Fey if the camera subtracts 10 pounds.”

I had a bit about comparing myself to starving children around the world, but I figure that’s getting out of hand. Don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind….

Anyway, I did go to the gym today. My feeling afterwards… I didn’t do enough. So I’m probably going to need to get motivated to pick up a coke/meth habit or something like that. Does meth make people skinny? It seems cheaper than cocaine. Either way, do not rely on me as a source of motivation and if you ever see me on the C train heading North of 81st street before 8 PM, take that gym bag out of my hands and use it to slap me across the face. That’s the kind of motivation I need. 

You should like Thought Catalog on Facebook here.