What drives us to make a change?


Pain is an incredibly powerful motivator.

And by pain I mean also often FEAR.

It’s an odd thing, but we humans are truly more driven by pain than by gain.

We may want a specific outcome, a specific positive…

But we are most likely to actually make a change toward that goal when there is pain not just something to be gained.

The idea of a six pack, the idea of millions of dollars, the idea of running a PR…well…as weird as it sounds…they aren’t really powerful motivators as much as we think we want them.

They only become powerful motivators if there is a great pain with NOT moving forward toward them. Or a great pain in where we are now.

Pain is what drives us to make a change.

Like think about during the holidays….when we feel…well…out of shape, disgusting, clothing feels uncomfortable and tight…we feel like blobs.

We feel “in pain” so to speak.

This is when we most often take action.

However, in taking action often we lose focus on this pain and start to focus on the gain we want.

While you’d think focusing on a positive outcome would be good, it may actually be what holds us back from achieving our goal.

Instead we may actually need to EMBRACE and OWN our pain and use it as a POSITIVE.


There is positivity in embracing and truly feeling and reminding yourself of your pain.

While we tend to shy away from fear and pain as negative emotions…emotions to be avoided at all costs, instead we need to find ways to use them to actually achieve the goals we’ve always dreamed of.

And here are 3 ways I think you can do just that.

#1: Pain Reminders – An Anti-Vision Board.

So often we hang inspirational photos or quotes around to motivate us.

Like I’ve tried years ago personally to hang inspirational physiques on my fridge to help keep me in check when I first started even trying to “eat healthy.”

But honestly, they never inspired me to make a change. If anything, often the inspirational images would backfire…If I ate something off plan, I’d be like welp, ruined the day may as well give up upon seeing those images.

Because honestly, the pain of restriction in the momentum was greater than the GAIN of achieving the physique I wanted shown in those images.

As negative as this sounds, it was actually better to remind myself of the pain of my current situation.

A reminder of where I didn’t want to be.

A. Because I understood that emotion.

And B. Because I didn’t want that pain any longer. It was worth embracing the hard of change.

Pain can be a motivator. A driving force to change.

Instead of running from it, use it to move you forward.

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the negative to get ourselves to embrace change.

So if you’ve felt like nothing will motivate you, if the idea of a gain doesn’t keep you passionate about moving forward, remind yourself of the pain.

Create an “anti-vision” board. Put up things that remind you of why you want the change.

Again as negative as this sounds, put up a result of a race you didn’t like the outcome of.

Put up a photo where you didn’t fully want to embrace the time.

Because you aren’t dwelling in the past, you’re reminding yourself of why it’s worth it to move forward even when change is hard!

#2: List Goals Less In Gains And More Eliminating The Pain.

Again, it sounds so negative but this is about using your pain as a positive.

So often we say we want a six pack. Or we want to move better.

But those things truly aren’t motivating. Especially if we’ve never had that thing before, we have no real connection to the outcome.

But what is motivating is pain and fear.

What will happen if you don’t move forward toward those goals? Why don’t you like being where you are currently?

List out goals as how you’re going to move forward out of the pain.

This can sometimes even make us feel vain because it’s about avoiding how clothing feels. Or what we see in the mirror, but these goals are just for you and guess what?!

Aesthetic goals aren’t shallow. They’re valid. We each deserve to feel and look the way we want and life is meant to be about being our best, healthiest, fittest, most fabulous selves.

“I’m going to dial in my macros because I’m sick of feeling lethargic in my training and like I’m working super hard in the gym without those results showing. I’m frustrated by the fact that I don’t look like the athlete I am so I’m going to change this and get a six pack.”

Or if your goal is to move better….Instead of saying you want to move better, maybe you remind yourself of the pain right now of not being able to chase after your kids. Or not being able to do an activity you love.

“I’m going to do my mobility work because it’s horrible waking up every morning feeling like I’m 20 years older than I am unable to walk around the park without pain. I’m going to get rid of this constant ache in my back and move better through this mobility work!”

While you want to focus on the positive outcome, you want to use that pain to drive you to change.

#3: See Pain As A Positive.

No one likes to experience pain. No one wants to suffer from fear.

But instead of running from these emotions, instead of hiding from them, realize they are a powerful tool you can use for good.

See pain as a positive as you can harness it to make a change.

Realize that if there is some pain, it means you’re able to make a change.

If we live life out of avoidance, ultimately we won’t avoid pain. We’ll experience more of it and keep ourselves stuck.

So recognize that you can use that pain, even that fear of pain, to drive you forward and achieve wonderful results.

Remember too, you can’t know the good without the bad!

Pain can be used to help you drive toward GAIN!


So as negative as it can feel, embrace the pain of the situation you want to change and remind yourself of that pain to keep you on track and moving forward toward the ultimate gains you want to see!