Time, Energy and Motivation …

Reading Time: 10mins

Follow Up Homework Time: 3-7 Days

Hello You,

I’m unsure whether to call this Week 5 of the blog or Week 7 considering I’ve been M.I.A for a wee while. Did you notice? Probably not let’s be honest; if your inbox is anything like mine, it’s over-run with nonsense that really should be unsubscribed at this point – but, the effort, right?!

I had to put the blog on hiatus for a couple of weeks while I got my shit together for college exams (passed) and clinic assessments (failed) . Plus we had to hire a new coach in the gym and my Better-Half gave me a “Priorities And Not Trying To Do Everything” type of lecture talk. He was right but I’ll never tell him and he doesn’t read the FHDD blog so it’ll remain between us – ok?!

Anyways, today I want to talk about this struggle I’ve been having for the last few weeks with consistency: the ugliest word in the dictionary. So I’m going to have a wee whinge now by using this platform in a “dear-diary-esque” manner and hopefully draw up some helpful conclusions at the end for myself and anyone who finds themselves in the same boat.

⚽ Throw in time …

So you know when you want a result, know what needs to be done and feel like you don’t have the time ⏰ / energy ⚡ / motivation 💪 to carry out the necessary actions ?

Well me too folks!




The body image thing is really getting to me now. I made a HUGE mistake 3 weeks ago and stepped on the scales….

I’ve accumulated about 10kg since opening Barbelle.

I knew I’d gained some weight but really didn’t expect it to be that much in ~24months. And it’s not muscle before you start consoling me – cause that would have required eating in a calorie surplus AND lifting a lot of weights regularly. I’ve not had a regular exercise routine since Dec ’21 when I finished my first powerlifting competition and as per a recent impromptu workout, my strength is down ~50%. So no my friends, this weight gain is purely down to me not taking care of myself.

Realising this 3 weeks before a Pole Dance competition where I’ve gotta ooze confidence on stage in minimal clothing is not the best feeling in the world. Panic Dieting or Panic Exercising for rapid weight loss are not the answers I’m looking for either given my aversion to Diet Culture & my busy schedule – and to top it all off, I’ve had a head cold this week that kicked the shit out of me in rehearsals.

I constantly feel like I don’t have the time, energy or motivation to change my ways for longer than 2 weeks before another work / college related task takes over and I revert back to workaholic mode – and this stresses me out cause I know this trajectory is not a healthful one for me in the long term.

  • Being a workaholic won’t give me more time with family.
  • It won’t help me to stay in better contact with people who don’t live nearby.
  • And it certainly won’t allow me to find more time or enjoyment in activities that keep me active & strong.
  • All in all, my ultimate goal of Hosting Dinner Parties & Dancing on Tables at 90 might be in jeopardy.

Now, as my Dad says; There are seasons for everything.

He’s right of course, there are times when you’ve got to work hard – and a business won’t get built well by itself. I’m also young enough to be able to do all these hours, and fortunate enough not to have any dependants to divide my attention . 2021-23 has been a hugely successful and enjoyable season at Barbelle. Probably, the most rewarding season of my life to date to be honest. My aim was to put “everything” into Barbelle during this time and then to relax a little once the main building period was complete. I guess, I just didn’t realise how hard it would be to find the Cruise Control button.

I know you’ll relate to this:

What’s annoying though is now that I’ve decided I need to put my own self care higher on the list, I’m not seeing an increase in time / energy / motivation that would make this an easy thing to do. Things go great for a week or two, then I inevitably end up missing lunch for a couple of days, missing a run and not getting to the gym and that disheartening feeling sets in – maybe now is not a good time to try and I should just start again in a few weeks when things calm down?

I literally hear this all the time in Barbelle from the new members that don’t stay past the 1 month mark or from people (like me) who get overwhelmed by their schedules.

So what do all of us people do who can’t be consistent?

Well firstly, forgive my pedantic nature but “feel like” is a Thought and not a Feeling. Feelings can be expressed in one word – happy, sad, overwhelmed, angry, content, joyous. Thoughts require sentences or stories, and often proceed a feeling whether we are aware of the thought or not. This is something a therapist I had drilled into me a few years ago and I’ll die on the hill of how important this is! I eye-rolled hard at her at the time, not really seeing the relevance. The crux is, a feeling is always real but the accompanying thought may not be true. If we cannot distinguish between them, we lose the ability to check-in with ourselves, detach & evaluate the Thought and loosen the grip it has on us.

Let’s take an example:

I feel like I don’t have enough TIME ⏰

What I am actually saying: “I feel frustrated / disappointed / ashamed because I THINK I don’t have enough time.”

Now let’s examine the validity of the thought:

(A) Do I have enough time to exercise?

(B) How much time do I really need?

(A) Well, my subconscious thought is “I SHOULD BE doing as much & the same type of exercise as I was when I was powerlifting because that’s when I felt good happy in & proud of my body. Therefore anything else is not acceptable. So to answer Question A; NO, I do not have enough time to train 4 x per week for 1.5hours. Feeling: disappointment & powerless

(B) BUT when I write this out & create space for the thought, I can assess if I really need this amount of time to reach my goals… HELL NO! I know from research and from Barbelle that I can build strength, fitness and body confidence in other people in WAY LESS TIME PER WEEK than this so it’s highly likely that I can do the same for myself. Ooooh, now I feel: relief, excited.

Ok, let’s keep going:

I feel like I don’t have enough ENERGY ⚡

What I’m actually saying: “I feel defeated & powerless because I THINK I don’t have enough energy”

The same validation process can apply here because I now know that I don’t need to summon up energy for 4 x 1.5hr intense, heavy sessions. I could follow the Barbelle model and attend 2 x 50min sessions per week along with 1 x 30min cardio-style class.

A further question to ask myself here is (C) Can I influence the amount of energy I think I have?

YES! I can add a short walking break during the day which will lower some energy zappers: namely, sedentary time & screen time. I can balance my blood sugar by not skipping meals & bringing snacks to work. I can get to bed earlier before my early shifts. Feeling: Optimistic, Nervous – sounds like a lot !

Ok, the big one:

I feel like I don’t have enough MOTIVATION 💪

What I’m really saying: “I feel guilty / ashamed / skeptical because I THINK I don’t have enough motivation”

Of the 3, this is the tougher one to detangle and probably requires a full blog post in itself.

There’s a lot of sciencey stuff to understand around motivation and there’s other unhelpful “non-science” rhetorics that we need to unlearn such as “you mustn’t want it bad enough if you’re not prepared to do the work”. In most cases our difficulty in progressing towards the goal doesn’t lie with the QUANTITY of motivation. It has more to do with the (1) sheer amount of competing impulses & drives we are exposed to as humans every day and the (2) QUALITY of motivation that we are tapping into, i.e. Your WHY.

So let’s break it down into those two sections.


It will NEVER be the case that you find yourself with one singular motivating factor where nothing else competes for your time, energy and attention – NEVER.

We will always (sub)consciously split our focus into a bazillion pieces every day. Therefore, goal setting in any facet of life needs to be set within the context of our lives with a self-compassionate mindset. In my case, my biggest competing drive was to build a business that I love from scratch. I thought I was very healthy at the time and felt happy with my body so, I figured that I’d just fit exercise in wherever (humble pie: I decided it just wasn’t that important for awhile). So adopting a bit of self-compassion here, I can be grateful to my body for allowing me to complete this important season in my life and I can be confident now that in reducing my working hours, the competition between Work & Health will reduce without any negative consequences for Barbelle because we have such a great community, coaching team & biz foundation put in place. (Calming, Confident Feeling)

Your turn:

  • (D) What are the main competing factors that split your focus away from your Goal?
  • (E) How might they affect the Time and Energy you need to achieve your goal?
  • (F) How might they affect the timeline you’ve set for yourself to achieve your goal?
  • (G) What actions & behaviours are acceptable on my Worst Days versus my Best Days?
  • (H) How will I speak to myself on my Worst Days versus my Best Days?
  • (I) What do you need to start saying No to?
  • (J) Who can you say this to: “I need more support from you so that I can achieve my goal and that means _________ [eg you cooking the dinner twice per week so I can get to the gym] “


Our aim is to increase the intrinsic type of motivation (linked to our values & what brings us joy) and to rely less on extrinsic motivation (external validation, ego, compliance to social ideals).

Here are some questions that you can try to answer to solve this part of the puzzle.

  • (K) Why is the goal important to you? Write this down!
    • Clue 1: it’s going to be deeper than “I just want my clothes to feel better”
    • Clue 2: if you find it difficult to verbalise the goal without stirring up some emotions, you are getting closer!
  • (L) What kind of person do you want to be now, in 5 years / 10 years / age 90 ?
  • (M) What values & beliefs do you want to live your life by?
  • (N) How will the behaviours and actions needed to achieve this goal help you to become this person?
  • (O) How might life pan out if you don’t do any of this?

So now, you got about three blogs in one there! That should make up for my absence in spades!

I’ll be interested to see if you actually take time to write out any of these questions and do the deeper work which in the research is associated with MORE long term goal achievement & improved life purpose, & quality of life. You can let me know your findings if you like. Part of our 2024 Barbelle Goals will be to increase the amount of support we offer to people outside of the gym and this kinda psych work will play an integral role.

Now, it’s time for me to have some food (himself is cooking while I write). Then I’m off for a walk cause I’ve only taken 319 steps so far today (16:30) and my lungs aren’t ready for a run in the cold air yet. Plus I’m saving myself for LAST REHEARSALS for the pole competition this Tuesday!!!! Competition is Saturday in Dublin. I’m so excited and nervous for it now cause my Mam & 3 sisters are making the journey up. It’ll be their first time seeing me dance in person and I need to practice my fake Beyoncé confidence.

Lots of love,

Bye, bye-bye, bye, bye …. bye!

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