Warum Motivation nicht funktioniert

Why motivation doesn't work

Motivation as the key to success is grossly overrated.

Motivation never works consistently.

And that is mainly due to a lack of understanding of motivation.

The basic idea is: 

I act through motivation.

When I'm motivated, I train.

If I'm motivated, I stick to the nutritional guidelines.

However, that doesn't work.

Nobody is always motivated.

And especially when you need motivation the most, it is often missing.

However, the fact is:

Action is only secondarily the effect of motivation.

Action is primarily the cause of motivation.

This means it is much easier and more sustainable to motivate yourself through action. Than to act on motivation.

Most only act when they feel some level of motivation.

And they only feel motivation primarily when they feel an emotional stimulus.

People are usually motivated to study for the exam when they are afraid of the consequences. 

People only pick up a dumbbell and train when they feel inspired by the people who have used the dumbbells to achieve something they want to achieve.

Everyone has slacked off at some point due to lack of motivation.

Especially at times when you shouldn't.

Feeling lethargic and apathetic towards a particular goal we set because we lack motivation, and we lack motivation because we don't feel an overarching emotional desire to achieve something.

We usually think of motivation as working something like this:

Emotional stimulus → motivation → action → progress → success

However, there is a primary problem here: 

Oftentimes, the changes and actions we need most in our lives are inspired by negative emotions that at the same time prevent us from doing anything at all.

If someone wants to clean up their diet, the many emotions of the situation - more effort, no pleasure, possible depressive moods as a result - are in complete contrast to the positive effects based on optimizing the diet - more energy, more well-being, less body fat.

As soon as the negative aspects outweigh the positive ones, motivation dwindles.

The focus must also be on managing the negative consequences and emotions.

Especially since the negative emotions always outweigh the positive ones.

Cognitive science has proven this several times.

A constant focus on the positive aspects of change is only possible if the negative aspects are optimally managed. 

If someone wants to clean up their diet, the most common negative aspects are the effort involved in buying and preparing, the lack of enjoyment - it just doesn't taste good - and possible depressive moods as a result of the change in diet.

Few want that permanently.

This is why diet changes rarely work permanently.

Therefore, a focus must be on the management of these negative aspects. How can I get food that consistently tastes good and makes me feel good with minimal effort?

Only those who manage to do this will permanently change their diet.

Only in this way can the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones in the long term.

Whether for yourself or in coaching clients.

Motivation through action and motivation through management of the negative aspects of change are two of the most important foundations of communicating with clients in any form of work as a trainer, therapist and coach.


In the YPSI trainer license , I primarily deal with the competencies and skills to be taught in the areas of training and nutrition.

However, since the competence in conveying coaching content is also an essential and often underestimated factor, I summarize the most important principles and their application examples in practice for the first time, based on more than 13 years of experience and success in coaching in the YPSI Live Webinar "The Communication with customers" on Saturday, August 7th, 2021.

Image: "Work harder" is one of the most nonsensical motivational slogans of our time. On the one hand, this intention is not sustainable and, on the other hand, it is almost never successful in the long term. It should actually be called “Work smarter”.

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