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I was speaking with a new client awhile back, and she expressed her frustration with staying motivated. She said she would always “start” something all kinds of gung ho, but then eventually lose steam, get frustrated, and go back to her old ways.

And, it wasn’t just in one area of her life. She said she did this with just about everything from dieting, to communication, to making a budget, to keeping her home organized, to working with coaches.

I was her fifth coach, actually.

She’d read dozens of books, downloaded hundreds of programs, even went to several in-person immersive retreats and seminars.

Totally Motivated.

Totally Inspired.

Feeling ALL the Feels.

Then a few weeks in, like a pin to her proverbial balloon, she deflated. And back to square one for another 6 months or a year until she’d saddle up and try again.

I totally understood. And so I tried to explain why this happens so often to so many of us, myself included.

Motivation is like soap. You use it to cleanse the debris of the day. But each day comes with its own set of junk, so if you don’t lather up daily, sometimes multiple times a day, you end up a yucky mess.

Think about it, you shower regularly, it keeps you clean. But ever have a day where you are working outside and your hands are covered in dirt? You don’t walk in the house and say, “I think I’ll wait til tomorrow’s shower to clean this stuff off of me!” No way!

Most likely you don’t even think about it. You just head over to the shower or sink and scrub it off.

Or ever have a plumbing issue? Ugh that’s gross, right?! But you deal with it, and clean up immediately after.

Life can be incredibly beautiful, wondrous, and amazing, but it can also be a challenging messy mess. Motivation can give you a boost, reset your attitude, and help you through. But like soap, you’ve got to regularly use motivation to keep your mind/body/spirit at optimal level.

Inspiration is a bit different. Inspiration as the word says comes from within you. It’s not something from the outside world helping you, but rather an internal force that brings forth your most capable, highest self, or your Emmanuel (your God within). It can’t come from something external.

This can be the frustrating part. You can find thousands of resources to motivate you, but what inspires you???

As frustrating as it sounds, the solution is simple. Being inspired is who you were born to be. Inspiration is within all of us, it doesn’t select a few lucky people – we all are magnificently made, born for a purpose, and capable of far more than we know.

You just have to allow yourself to be still.

Stillness is the key that unlocks your potential. Stillness, not action, connects you to your highest self. Stillness brings you to complete peace, unconditional love, and immense power. Present moment connection to God is the strongest energy source available to us.

And that’s why immersive retreats and seminars are so powerful – you are so connected to the moment you are deeply inspired, moved, and energized.

But life, to-do lists ten miles long, and the spinning, swirling mind can move us far away from the present moment, hence depleting our power more and more for every moment we are not connected to the actual moment we are in. The good news is, you can be in motion and move through those to-do lists while being present.

Motion is different than action. Motion and movement allow us to take action with present moment energy. Action without the present moment can make us feel like the rat on the wheel. Running into action without stillness (and the inspiration stillness provides) is like going on a road trip to a place you’ve never been and are completely unfamiliar with, with no map or GPS. Inspired action guides us, moves us moment to moment, turn by turn in a way that action alone cannot. Inspired action allows us to experience the moments fully with more joy, connects us deeper to one another, and allows us to hear our internal guide more clearly.

So here’s the breakdown:

1) Motivation is Good, but It’s Not Everything – External motivators are helpful tools, but swinging the hammer is all you! Fuel your heart, mind, body with things that energize and ignite you, cleansing the muck of the day regularly.

2) Practice Stillness – Begin tapping into present moment energy. Be aware when you are not fully connected to the moment, and the awareness will allow you to shift yourself back into the present. Create some simple rituals around stillness. For example, when you wake up, spend 60 seconds connecting to the moment, completely clearing your mind, and being still. Breathing can help as you can focus on connecting to your breath; as can exercise, dancing, stretching. Stillness does not solely happen while sitting quietly in one place. It’s about connecting to the present. Allow yourself to be still and know.

3) Move by Inspired Action – Take a beat, pray, ask, connect to the moment, and then listen. This will help you to move from the heart with an ease and flow vs run like a bull in a china shop ramming into life. You can handle obstacles and challenges with a different grace, embracing the chaos and mess life sometimes brings without allowing it to derail you from purposeful living.

Understanding why motivation doesn’t last allows us the opportunity to do the deeper work, and make small shifts that bring us back to the incredible people we were each born to be. My client felt like there was something wrong with her, but nothing could be further from the truth. When we remember all that is right within us, and connect to that awesomeness, possibilities are limitless.