How to Get Started. (And How to Keep Going.)

I struggle with staying motivated.


Most people struggle with staying motivated.


In his new book, "The Motivation Myth", author Jeff Haden informs us that actually "motivation is a result of process, not a cause". This means that once you get started, a domino effect will take place and the success you feel from accomplishing a task is going to allow you to feel motivation for the next task. It's why some people are seemingly able to do everything while others of us struggle with doing anything.


It's also been well studied that talking about goals is actually a direct inhibitor to achieving them. There are chemicals in our brain that associate the joy of discussing our goals with the same joy we feel in accomplishing our goals. In fact, people who keep their goals private are more likely to achieve them.


I'm not saying to not find accountability buddies, but the power of self-motivation through a process, is inherently the best way to achieve anything.


And when I say it that way, it's easy to see how I have achieved success in the music world. I have a daily process of practicing and I've had it for decades. The idea that I would go to college with a nice music scholarship seemed lofty in 5th grade. But I practiced daily, took lessons weekly, performed concerts frequently and collaborated with others as often as possible. I (and my musician parents) worked out a routine that set me up for success twenty years later.


"Motivation is a result of process, not a cause" - Jeff Haden 


The same thing happened when I began running. It started out as a way to keep of weight gain on a summer music tour. I'd finish the concert and, rather than eating post-performance second dinner, I'd hit the streets for a mile and a half jog. This was my new habit.


When I finished tour I very happily continued in this new habit running two to three miles now four to five times a week.


Then a friend encouraged me to run a half marathon. I thought, "No way, there's absolutely no way I can move my body 13.1 miles." How would I fit it into my schedule? How will my knees and joints react? Will I be safe training? Millions of excuses flooded my mind and one positive motivational surface and escaped from my thoughts to my voice, "If I can do a five mile run, then I'll think about it."


So the next day I laced up the running shoes I'd owned since 8th grade (I was a senior in college at the time so this tells you my running/athletic ability for the majority of my life...) and set out on the five mile course I'd mapped out; a two and half mile up-hilll out and back route. It was easy. Well, maybe not easy, but it was possible. And I succeeded.


True to my word, I signed up for my first half marathon and began training with a schedule I found online. Four months later I was ready for 13.1 miles.


It's the power of process as motivation. What started as an impossible concept became a reality. In fact, I've now got several half and full marathons under my belt and can happily call myself a runner. I practice it with three to five runs a week. I learn it by going to physical therapist and studying running advice online and in magazines. I perform it by signing up for races. And I collaborate with others by being an active part of a running club.


Feeling strong at mile 22 of the LA Marathon where my running club waited with my sunscreen.


This process is the same for any activity or goal.


I don't want to minimize the proven reality of visualization, verbalizing your goals to give them power or the incredible usefulness of having a solid accountability buddy to check in with. These things are also necessary components to achieving.


But when it comes to integrating stretching into your practice routine, going to the gym consistently, taking on part-time job, teaching, producing, arranging or anything that doesn't have to do directly with playing your instrument, the only thing that can get you motivated to do it regularly is beginning to do it regularly.


This is how to get started and how to keep going.


For this week's podcast, I sit down with Kristen Klehr, a percussionist, concert producer, ACE certified fitness instructor at Equinox Gym, entrepreneur and runner. She seemingly does it all and she's graciously discussed with me what she's up to, how she balances it all and the importance of fitness in both her mindset and music so please watch for the post this Thursday on the blog.


If your body would benefit from rest and recovery or from finding fitness or even from getting back into the practice room, then consider this your mental push into a new process of motivation. Remember, your body should never limit your art so learn how to train like an athlete to play like a musician.


Health and happiness,


  • Jan 22, 2018
  • Category: Blog
  • Comments: 0
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