5 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Exercise (No Matter How You Feel)

5 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Exercise (No Matter How You Feel)

Body Tips + Tools

I’m no stranger to sweat therapy: I hit the gym on the regular. My running shoes are practically a second set of feet. I’ve never been one to turn down a chance to get down (dog) – heck, I’ve been teaching spin classes since people thought it meant you go to a class and turn around in circles for 45 minutes on end (for real. people used to ask me if that was what a spin class was).

I’m well aware of both the physical and mental benefits of getting my heart rate up on the regular, and consider fitness more of a lifestyle habit than a to-do to get to-done.

So why, then, do I wake up some mornings feeling like the last thing I want to do is get moving?


According to catchy headlines and fly-by-night trends, we’re supposed to sweat it out the same way no matter the season: with intensity, with drive, and with an all-or-nothing mentality that promises slimmer thighs!, better sex!, and brighter moods! 365 days a year. We force ourselves into routines for the sake of routines, not taking into account that we are living, breathing, changing beings who experience enough physical, emotional, and spiritual shifts in a mere day to fill up a week’s worth of SoulCycle classes by 12:01pm on a Monday afternoon.

Study after study shows us that exercise can boost our mood, help our bodies clear out toxins, and make even the most everyday of activities seem a whole lot easier (hello, five-story walk up apartment). But when you’re feeling fatigued, uninspired, or just plain down-in-the-slumps, scientific facts don’t help all that much. And the “accountability” factor of having a class to make or a trainer to see isn’t always a surefire recipe to get amped up.

The solution: You’ve got to make your workout work out for you.


I’ve definitely struggled with this since moving across the country. Not only was I not used to the seasonal shifts, but I had to completely restructure my schedule, top to bottom. This definitely included the way I moved. I loved exercising outside, which I didn’t have many opportunities to do in LA – one point, NYC! The gym was also a huge part of my community on the west coast, and I found that the NYC gyms where I felt that were NOT the ones that were the closest to my house. And then there was rain, there was snow, and there was that huge dramatic shift in early November when I didn’t even want to leave the house let alone break a sweat. Thankfully, ten months in, I’ve figured out my roadblocks and how to move through them in order to get moving.

You’ve got to make your workout WORK OUT for you. Click To Tweet

Feeling blah? I feel you – and there’s no need to let negative self-talk stand in your way. Here are five ways to set yourself up for success and motivate yourself to exercise, no matter how you feel:


1) Give yourself options. Ever notice that the more often you do something extreme, the more your body starts to want its next hit? It’s kind of like that with fitness. When it comes to working out on a down day, it’s important to feed your cravings, not your addictions. That could mean foregoing your usual five-mile run for a meditative walk in the park. That could mean modifying your burpees in your HIIT sesh so there’s no push-up involved. That could mean trading in plank for child’s pose. Knowing you have options within the workout you choose removes that all-or-nothing feeling and gives your body what it actually wants (feeds the craving) vs. what you think it SHOULD be wanting (feeding the addiction).


2) Have a Plan A…Plan B…Plan C….Plan D… I love to run outside. But I know myself, and there are certain situations in which even the most persuasive person I know (hi mom) wouldn’t be able to convince me to haul you-know-what out in the open air. If you’ve learned how to psych yourself to run in brutal heat, icky rain, or I-can’t-feel-my-face cold, more power to you. Me? That’s a big NOPE in my book.

In the past, I’d either force myself to brave the elements or skip out altogether. Not only was the former potentially dangerous and the latter a surefire way to make me a crankypants for the rest of the day, but neither of those options had to be the solutions! Now I know to always have a Plan A, B, C, even a Plan D for making my workout work for me. Running outside not an option? Use the treadmill. All the treads already taken at the gym? Hop on an elliptical. No cardio equipment available whatsoever – or it’s just too miserable to leave the house in the first place? Say hello to my fave, customizable self-confidence boosting workout. Having multiple options at the ready, I’ve found, ensures I can make a decision that’s right for me no matter the circumstance.


3) Wear what makes you feel good. Many fitness pros and motivational coaches will recommend that a surefire way to get amped to work out is wear a rockin’ piece of fitnesswear. And that’s solid advice. Heck, a whole activewear revolution is happening because of that exact school of thought!

The problem is, sometimes that’s not what actually makes us feel our best – especially if we’re feeling uncomfortable in our own skin. When I’m feeling down on myself and physically uncomfortable, I wear clothes that have a little more “give” to them. Sometimes, I throw on my fiancé’s old t-shirt and call it a day. Point is: if your fitnesswear best makes you feel rockin’, rock on! But if an old concert tee and stretchy pants from 2008 make you feel great, that’s great too. It’s much easier to get in a productive – and pleasant – workout when you’re less concerned with the way you look and more invested in the way you feel.


4) Make playlist presents for yourself. When I find music I love, I become borderline obsessed. So muchso, in fact, that I’ll listen to an entire album or playlist on repeat for weeks, then move onto another set of songs for another few weeks after that. And so on, and so on. That first time I listen is always the most exciting – so what I’ve learned to do is create a playlist for myself (or download an entire album on Spotify) and promise myself not to listen until my next workout. This works with playlists, genre “stations” on Spotify or Pandora (I’m all about the “90s Smash Hits” right now), even podcasts. Giving yourself something to look forward to within the workout setting is a great way to trick yourself into putting the work in and having a blast in the moment.

5) Give it a REST.
Okay, so this one might seem counter-intuitive…rest to motivate yourself to exercise? Isn’t this a recipe for a negative talk spiral? Actually, it’s the exact opposite. I’m not talking about resting when you’ve got adrenal fatigue or are overtraining – which, obviously, require rest. I’m talking about letting yourself off the hook. If you’re constantly pressuring yourself to “be motivated,” how will you ever get there? Just like with food, your decision to exercise (or not exercise) is not good or bad – it just IS. Yes, sometimes it’s necessary to just get up and do it even when you’d rather be binge watching Orange Is The New Black on your couch. But at the same time, it’s necessary to train yourself to cut yourself some slack. How can we ever develop a healthy relationship with our body if we’re constantly putting the pressure on it to look, act, and do things a certain way? In my experience, this is a breeding ground for guilt and exercise addiction. Give yourself the space to breathe – you might be surprised by what happens when you start to approach exercise as one of many opportunities to feel good, not one sole chance or obligation to do things the “right” way.


Looking for more WANT wisdom to help you get moving? Click here for help ramping up…or maybe even slowing down.

Now, you: I’d love to hear how you motivate yourself to exercise when you’re just not feeling it. Is there a specific trick you’ve got up your sleeve? Is there a song or playlist you’ve go that gets you going no matter what? Leave a comment below – your sweat-positive strategy might be exactly what someone else needs to get them spinning in the right direction. Literally or figuratively ;)

Photo by Caddie Hastings

Stop In The Name Of (Self) Love: 15 Things To Call Your Negative Self-Talk Instead Of A B*tch

Stop In The Name Of (Self) Love: 15 Things To Call Your Negative Self-Talk Instead Of A B*tch


That voice in your head is an asshole.

Don’t let your thoughts bully you around.

Inner monologue? More like inner bitch. Don’t give her the power.

“Empowerment” is trending, but somehow we’re still here telling our negative self talk it can go fuck itself.

Tell me again how is this supposed to be helping?


For what I’m guessing is some sort of evolutionary advantage, we’re programmed to interpret the world in very black and white terms. There can be no middle ground when it comes to right and wrong, and when we disagree with something, we typically villainize it rather than try to understand where it comes from (or what the real solution should be). Good Versus Evil. Us Against Them. It’s a formula that’s easy to understand and easy to master. It’s caveperson-like. So it’s only natural that with this sort of mentality, we’d choose sides with our self-talk and try to bully one of them into submission.

Brené Brown says to give your inner voice a name – she calls hers Gremlin. For some people, providing that separation might be useful and allow you to distance yourself from the harsh, usually untrue things your inner voice likes to say.

I, however, have never been able to separate my inner voice from myself.

Because the thing is, it’s all a part of who I am.

Maybe my brain is playing tricks on my heart, maybe my inner voice is misguided at times, but at the end of the day – it’s all just me, telling myself what to believe.

Some people might say to snap out of it – to tell your inner critic to shut up. And hey, that might work for some people. But it NEVER works for me. Identifying my negative self-talk as someone other than myself – an ass, a bitch, a bully – only puts me on the defensive and gives me yet another thing about myself to dislike (on top of whatever it is I’m negative self-talking about). 

Empowerment, for the record, is defined as “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.” Yet I cannot see how throwing insults at insults does anything to make us feel anything but more aggressive and afraid. They’re just harsh words to combat harsh thoughts. Abuse masked as “empowerment.” Which, to me, is anything but empowering.

Instead of fighting against what is, why not try fighting for what could be? Click To Tweet

Instead of fighting against what is, why not try fighting for what could be? Instead of taking sides, why not confront the perceived enemy? Instead of viewing your inner monologue as separate from your “true” self, why not try to understand what it’s actually trying to tell you? Calling a very real part of who you are a “bitch” just reinforces and strengthens those negative-talk muscles that have been trained over the years to come to your defense in their negative-talk way – and focuses on the problem, not the solution. Berating a part of who you are is not the answer. Tapping into a new reserve of power to retrain that voice – that voice that so longs to be helpful – IS. 

Next time you’re tempted to punch your negative self-talking self in the no-no zone, sideline the smack-talk and reframe it as something more. Here are a few ideas of what your negative self-talk really is…

1) An invitation to explore

2) An opportunity to rise

3) A clue to an imbalance

4) A way to practice moving forward through fear

5) A wound to be nurtured

6) A signal for help

7) A warning preview of what it looks like to not be self-actualized

8) A sign of neglect

9) A cry for help

10) A distraction from the truth

11) A language that’s been learned all wrong

12) A muscle that can stop working and go recover now, thank you very much

13) A call to action

14) An empathetic pathway

15) A clue as to what needs some extra love

When I first started working on WANT, I would get pitches from people with books or websites with names like “Bitch On The Inside” or “#StopHatingYourself Life Coaching.” We’re so aligned, they would say. We’re all about empowering women. I respectfully declined every single one of these pitches.

Again, to each her own. I guess I can understand how some people need a metaphorical smack upside the head to catapult change into motion… But I don’t think that’s what makes the change LAST.

Because here’s the clincher: the quicker we are to call our inner monologue a bitch, the quicker we are to find fault outside ourselves. The quicker we are to clique up and take sides and tell our friends to “get over it” or “snap out of it” when they’re feeling down on themselves, the easier it is to do it to ourselves. Life becomes arduous and unfair. It’s a negativity loop that goes on and on and on – all in the name of self-love.

Teaching yourself a new language, whether it’s Spanish or Self- Respect, is a process. Sometimes it’s as simple as going word by word. Phrase by phrase. Today, pledge to stop calling your inner voice a “mean girl” or your “inner bitch.” Your mind and heart are smart, and they’re most likely just trying to protect you from disappointment, shield you from loneliness, or numb that Ghost Worry pain that’s predicting what other people might “find out” about you so that when they do “find it out” it won’t hurt as bad.

Your inner voice is just used to using this warped defense mechanism – a defense mechanism you don’t need.

It’s not You vs. Your Mind.

Not Good vs. Evil.

They’re all on the same side.

It's not You vs. Your Mind. They're all on the same side. Click To Tweet

WANT Yourself:

Think back to the times when your negative self-talk starts to act up. What is it usually trying to tell you? What does it signal? How can you reframe your most common self-critiques…without resorting to name-calling? Tell me in the comments below.

And know someone who needs this? Share it with them today to help them shift their negative self-talk.


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We Go High: An Election Day Survival Guide.

We Go High: An Election Day Survival Guide.

Community Motivation + Inspiration Tips + Tools

Apparently, election-related anxiety has become so prevalent that it’s become an Actual Thing. In a new survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), over half of American adults report that the election is “a very or somewhat significant source of stress.” Even those who I’d never peg as political, even the most apathetic people I know, even they have vocalized the concern, stress, or just dis-ease with the way things have panned out since eighteen months ago.

Before we go any further, I should say this: I’m not writing this to tell you who to support. I’m not here to make a case for one person over the other. We’re past that. This election is happening, and in a matter of hours one of two people will be our new President of the United States of America. I am writing this to offer support to those who, like me, might be struggling.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m three decades into elections – seven, to be exact. I remember six of them. I grew up with friends, community members, teachers, even family members who had all kinds of backgrounds and a host of different viewpoints. I sat at tables listening to people argue over politics. I was taught that just because we have different views doesn’t mean we can’t be kind to one another. And if we can’t be kind, at least we can be respectful.

This time around has been entirely different. I’ve seen family members all but disown one another. Friendships come to an end. Actual violence. 

So this is happening. How can we fix it? How can we keep kindness, or at least respect, intact?

The direction in which our country goes (and grows) does not start with the President, or any part of the government – it starts with us. From the way we talk to one another to how we disagree to how we manage our own discomfort and dis-ease, it ALL STARTS WITH US. 

From the way we disagree to how we manage our own dis-ease, it all starts with us. Click To Tweet
this girl is ready to rock the vote
when they go low, this chick goes high.

I had other things planned for today. But since I’ve got the privilege of being my own boss, I decided to scrap it all and put together an Election Day survival guide. From making amends to standing your ground, here’s how to go high (even when it might be easier to go low):

• A big concern of mine? The aftermath of what’s already been said in the heat of the moment. I’m not talking the politicians. I’m talking US. For some relationships, damage might be done and it might be too late. But maybe not. For those looking to go high (even if someone *cough*yesevenyou*cough* has gone low), I’d love to offer up my guide on how to apologize if you think an argument has flared up that became disrespectful or hurtful – especially if you’re sensitive like me and mistakes hit hard.

• For many of us, there’s still time. These past few months have been polarizing, but if we look closely and choose to listen, we can see and hear that everyone’s POV comes from somewhere deep inside them, usually fueled by an impactful story or set of personal beliefs they associate with who they are. Who (or what) they choose to support is simply the closest thing they can find to express the way they feel. Still, it can be difficult to get past the surface arguments and into the heart of the matter. If you need a primer on how to listen even when you disagree – and who doesn’t? – this post is for you. (it’s also one of the most popular of the last few months. fancy that!)

• Then there are the friends who say things that trigger something deep within you. Something that reminds you of a time in your life you’d rather forget, or a negative belief you’ve cultivated based on years of experience on Planet Earth. And all you want to do is lash out at this person you love. If that’s you – hold your horses. Here’s a guide re: how to respond when triggered by friends. Read first, then make your move. You’ll thank yourself later.

• Speaking of feeling triggered – this guide on how to know if your intuition is speaking or you’re being triggered is crazy-handy ALL times of year, not just November 8th.

•But since we’re talking about November 8th…let’s not forget all we’re fighting FOR. Not fighting against – fighting FOR. Hope was the chant. And it still is.

Was this dose of pragmatic, proactive positivity helpful? Share with a friend to help her out, on Election Day and beyond. And remember – when they go low, we go high. That’s what a WANT Woman does.


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Beside The Point: Should I Follow My Calling And Change Everything?

Beside The Point: Should I Follow My Calling And Change Everything?

Beside The Point Community

Hey Katie!

I hope this email finds you well and in joy, and that you’ve been settling into NYC nicely.

I’m reaching out to you because I’m curious as to what your decision making process was when you decided to move across the country. I’ve had a calling to relocate to the Bay Area (where I’m from) and yet, have had qualms, setbacks, and doubts, especially because life in LA has been wonderful.

I know every journey is different, and your decision to move is yours and yours alone, but any insight you might share to illuminate my path?

Sending love and kindness,


my last walk through my "backyard" the night before moving

my last walk through my “backyard” the night before moving

The short answer to why I moved is usually the easiest to give people: my partner had a job opportunity here. The long answer, which applies more to this question, Anais, is that it was a long time coming. A lot of lessons and stories and dreams evolving to the point of expansion.

Some backstory: NYC had always been in the plans for me – and by “always,” I mean it was the path I thought my life would lead me down post-college. I had it all figured out: I’d go to school for theatre, move back to LA for five to six months to get a solid base of work (why I thought six months was a reasonable time to get a “solid base of work” as an actor, I have no idea), then leave for New York in the late fall to pursue a career on the stage.

That’s obviously not what happened. My prediction of six months to get work was miraculously spot on – not only did I get work, but I got into SAG-AFTRA and was on track to be able to join AEA (Actor’s Equity Association), too. An AEA membership was essential to my NYC game plan. It was all working out just as I’d planned. By the end of the year, I was all lined up to be able to make a career move to NYC.

But I didn’t. It wasn’t a conscious choice not to move, but to be honest, it never really felt right. I kept getting work in LA. I was making friends who encouraged me to be who I was, not who I thought I should be. I was learning how to live in the “real world” as myself, tied to no institutions or predetermined social groups, for the very first time ever. I became an L.A. gypsy, living in a grand total of nine places in the span of eight years. Each place I landed was a perfect representation of where I was at that time in my life (although I rarely realized it in the moment). L.A. became not just where I grew up, but my own treasure-filled city to explore and discover. I became an L.A. evangelist and its biggest fangirl. “People who say they don’t like LA don’t REALLY not like LA,” I used to tell people. “They either came here with an expectation of what it should be like and moved to a place that wasn’t that…or they just haven’t found the part of LA that speaks to them yet.” I truly believed there was something in LA for everyone. I still do. 

When Jeremy asked me if I’d be willing to try out some time in NYC, my decision to say yes didn’t come without qualms, setbacks, or doubts, probably much like your own. Like you, I didn’t have any beef with the city. Like you, life in LA. had been wonderful. 

But here’s the thing: life in LA had gotten familiar. It had gotten comfortable. And after living out an entire decade as an LA gypsy and am entire lifetime before as an LA resident, it had gotten to be a place I felt I’d explored from top to bottom. In order to learn anything new about this city, I knew I was at the point where I’d need to learn a lot more about myself first.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

You say you’re feeling a calling to relocate. You also say you’ve had qualms, setbacks, and doubts, and that life in LA has been wonderful for the most part.

I have two questions for you, which can apply to any time you feel called to change something up in a major way:

First off, is your calling telling to run toward something, or run away from something – is it telling you to escape, or to expand? I mean, obviously if you’re in a dangerous or harmful situation, get the hell out of there. But if you’re running away and escaping from things like big, scary opportunities or awkward situations that you just don’t want to deal with, that’s a different kind of running away. On the other hand, running TOWARD something means you’re more curious and passionate about what’s on the horizon than you are comfortable sticking with what already IS.

Are you running toward something, or away from something? Do you want to escape, or expand? Click To Tweet

Second: Are you still learning? Are you still growing? And maybe the most importantly, are you able to be the YOU you know you’re meant to be? For me, LA had become a place I was able to be most of who I knew I was meant to be. But I had never known life outside of my small familiar bubble. I also felt like I was at a growth standstill, especially when it came to self-perception in my career. Yes, I had crossed the line from novice to expert and become a professional writer, editor, speaker, what-have-you. But I still felt like something was missing. I felt incomplete without being able to pinpoint exactly whyIt wasn’t ’til I came here and was forced to really, truly OWN being my own boss that I was able to BELIEVE that I was. I realized I’d been taking cues from others for so long that it had become so much easier – and almost accepted – to emulate others’ paths instead of do the challenging but eye-opening work of finding my own way. In five months here I’ve done almost as much as I did in a YEAR in LA. Sure, the fast pace of NYC helps, but it’s also because displacing myself from my safety net of familiarity has made me confront all those little parts of myself that, in the past, have held me back. The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is just a fraction of the biggest lesson I am still learning: I don’t need to know everything in order to make shit happen.


Now, I’m not one to do things “just because,” and I certainly don’t make big choices based solely on adventure. I probably wouldn’t have made the move if I had not had a concrete reason like J’s job.  I’m way too pragmatic for pure risk. But – and this is a big BUT – I do not view a “calling” as risk. And you say you have that calling. That’s your intuition speaking, girl. That’s your gut and heart and soul knowing something your brain and body don’t yet, which is probably why it feels so weird and confusing. I can only speak from my own experience, but I have a hunch that yours is a lot like mine in that what’s holding you back is that confusing disconnect. I didn’t know what was here waiting for me, and in many ways I still don’t. I only knew it was right. And for me, the risk of going for it, hating it, then moving back was way more scary than the risk of staying safe, staying the same, then regretting it later when life had gotten in the way so much that I no longer had the strength to push it aside.

Your gut is telling you something right now. Whether it has to do with a move or something else, I can’t say. But it’s telling you it’s craving something MORE. Find out what that is first, then move forward fearlessly toward that and see where it takes you.


Have a question for Beside The Point? Submit it here.


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WANTcast Episode 021: On Adrenaline Addiction + Forging Your Own Path with Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde

WANTcast Episode 021: On Adrenaline Addiction + Forging Your Own Path with Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde

the WANTcast

I always remind myself that no big choice I've made has failed me yet. - @balancedblondie Click To Tweet

Chances are, you’ve heard of Jordan Younger, akaThe Balanced Blonde.” Maybe it’s because of her best-selling book, Breaking Vegan. Maybe it’s because of her lifestyle blog that’s literally read by thousands of people worldwide weekly. Maybe it’s because of her adorable clothing line, or uber-popular social media channels…

…Or maybe it’s because you saw her on virtually every morning news circuit two years ago, when she “came out” to her readers saying her intense focus on healthy, vegan living had spiraled her into an eating disorder. One that had zero to do with veganism but everything to do with the way she was using the label to mask her unnatural obsession with eating as “pure” as possible. And one that, subsequently, made her the target of intense hate and even death threats from people convinced that she was speaking ill of the vegan community.

In reality, nothing could have been farther from the truth – or the real Jordan behind the news headlines and blog posts. Only 26 years old (as of today! Happy Birthday, Jordan!), Jordan’s transition from The Blonde Vegan (her former blog name) to The Balanced Blonde made her a wellness “It Girl” virtually overnight. She’s managed to navigate both the highest highs and lowest lows of being in the public eye with grace, humor, and integrity, all while unapologetically being, well, herself. She is bubbly like champagne, kind to the core, and just as enthusiastic about championing others’ success as she is when it comes to pursuing her own. She takes her work seriously but takes reactions in stride, and treats each person she meets like a new friend in the making. In a scene that’s becoming almost overly-saturated with a wellness-elite vibe, Jordan is a breath of fresh air and true authenticity.

After years of “knowing” each other from afar and running in so many of the same circles, Jordan and I finally got to met at the WANT Moving Forward Fearlessly event back in April. She crushed it (check out the recap here). And she’s become a cherished friend ever since.


What I love about Jordan is that she doesn’t apologize for being who she is, and she doesn’t tailor herself to fit other people’s liking. We share countless similarities – from our history with Orthorexia to our blogging backgrounds to our Libra birthdays – and I know I can always speak candidly to her about both the exciting moments and, well, b.s. that comes along with starting up your own purpose project from scratch.

The thing about Jordan is that while she’s gotten a lot of outward success in a relatively short amount of time, what impresses me the most about her is how completely transparent she is about her journey getting there, how she was feeling at the time, and how she currently navigates the extremes that come with both being a highly creative and driven person. It’s a lot easier to take risks and pivot when you’re lesser known or just starting out at whatever you’re doing, but once you’ve got all eyeballs all on you, it can be tough not only to take those risks in the fist place, but also manage the reactions of others you get in response to those risks. She’s able to laugh at herself, is incredible self-aware, and takes it all in stride without throwing out the sensitive parts of her that have made her so magnetic to so many people.

In this episode we talk about adrenaline addiction, the fear of success instead of fear of failure, finding the work style the works for you, how Jordan has learned to manage both the highs and lows of her business while staying true to herself, being a leader when you still feel like you’re learning, and forging your own journey even when it’s tempting to compare yourself to other people in your age range or career field. We also talk about some of her not-so-traditional health and spiritual adventures, the latter of which starts off with us laughing about it, but ends with a lesson all of us should remember about believing what we can’t see.

I can’t think of a more perfect, pragmatically positive person to kick off Season Two of the WANTcast.


Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Direct download

Show Notes:
The Balanced Blonde
Breaking Vegan
E-book preorder
Jordan at WANT’s event in April
That time she was on Chelsea Handler’s Snapchat
Miranda Alcott
Orthorexia, Explained

WANT to support the WANTcast? Click over to Amazon via this link, then shop as usual. I will receive a small-but-meaningful kickback, which means we can invest in things like sound editing, new equipment, and more. No extra charge to you. Easy as that!

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!


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On Jealousy vs. Envy: A Primer On Wanting What You Don’t Have

On Jealousy vs. Envy: A Primer On Wanting What You Don’t Have

Community Love Tips + Tools Work

We’ve known each other for over a year, WANTers. We’ve learned what it means to love fully, we’ve redefined what it takes to move forward fearlessly, I’ve even let you in on the lessons I’ve learned from a little “too much” sideboob. We’ve become like family – the kind of friend family you choose, the one you can swap tips and tricks with and ask even the most personal of questions without batting an eye.

So I’m going to let you in on something I’ve told only a handful of people, something I am still mildly ashamed to admit yet fully accept as my own: I am a naturally jealous person.

Ok, so maybe I am not really the *jealous* type anymore, and maybe I was never the overly jealous type even when I WAS jealous. But my childhood was sprinkled with moment of envy, and my adolescence and young adulthood speckled with pangs of that type of yearning that almost resembles resentment if you let it.

I am a naturally “jealous” person. And I know you get it – because I know you are too. 


Let’s break it down: we throw one word, “J E A L O U S,” around in multiple scenarios. However, there are actually TWO instances we stick under the ambiguous “jealousy” blanket:

True jealousy, by definition, is a reaction to the threat of LOSING something you have.

Envy, however, arises when you find yourself LACKING something someone else has.

For most of my life, I would beat myself up for feeling these “jealous” feelings. I would not experience them often, but I was (and am) such a highly sensitive being that when those feelings would kick in, my heart and mind would go into major SHAME mode. I would scold myself for being such a “bad” human being, for thinking negatively and harboring ill feelings. I was told jealousy was bad, and so I was ashamed of these instinctual reactions I was having.

Not to mention the fact that they just didn’t. make. sense. considering who I was. I was taught humility and kindness. Lifting others up (figuratively) was my favorite pastime. I delighted in celebrating the successes of others, most of the time way moreso than celebrating my own. So why were these “bad” feelings showing up and crashing the party?

In reality, very few of those instances were actual jealousy. Sure, I was jealous when I went to Disneyland in 1993 and was worried Minnie Mouse might like the other kids more than she liked me. I was jealous in elementary school when my best friend was paired on a team with another girl, fearful that they’d become new best buddies (note the through line of uncertainty – we’ll get to that later). But most of the time, what I thought were feelings of “jealousy” were actually envy: a strong, strong desire to be in the position of someone else. To have something. To do something. To BE something.

Jealousy and envy are natural and healthy, yet in this culture of constant competition, we’ve come to associate them with negativity. And if jealousy or envy ever bubble up to surface level (you know, where other people could ::gasp:: potentially see them), we’ve learned to mask them in words of judgment, malice, or pretending like we know better or even that we don’t care.

That’s how the relationships are hurt. That’s what happens when it goes bad.

But what if both jealousy and envy were ways to lead us to our true calling, help us reach our fullest potential, and access our deepest desires?


There is a saying that goes “Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.” And it’s true: without a sense of control over your own jealousy, it pushes people away, squelches opportunity, and is one of the most effective forms of self-sabotage.

Yet learning to harness your jealousy can actually inform you of an important missing link, the most important element in any relationship (including the one with yourself): trust. When there’s trust, jealousy cannot be present, at least for very long. They’re like night and day; neither can exist while the other is around.

Of course, we’ll sometimes get jealous-seeming pangs even though full trust is present, but that’s us confusing jealousy with a type of yearning to be in on the action: ENVY.

Envious moments are little gifts from the universe, informing us of our most sacred desires and all the potential we have within ourselves. Maybe a friend got an amazing new job, or left her old job to go solo, or has finally launched the business she’s been talking about for years, or decided to take time off for herself and see where life takes her. Maybe your brother decided to rent that cool minimalist loft, or your sister bought her very first house (with a full-on backyard). Maybe you see a couple walking together on a warm summer night hand in hand, randomly breaking out into skips or dance parties for a few steps. Your heart grabs in your chest a little and you think, that is what I want.

Does it mean you’re a bad person and wish failure upon the others? Far from it.

But something resonates with you: a glimpse of what your life could be like if you were to be fully, wholly expressed in the way you were uniquely meant to be.

Envy is a gift from the universe, informing us of all the potential we have within ourselves. Click To Tweet

Find yourself prey to your own jealous mind? Here’s what to do…

1.) Determine if you’re actually jealous, or if you’re envious. To reiterate, true jealousy is a reaction to the threat of LOSING something you have. Envy, however, arises when you find yourself LACKING something someone else has. Are you afraid of losing or wanting something you’re lacking? Or maybe a little of both?

2.) If it’s jealousy, ask yourself: What about my situation is leading me to feel a sense of distrust? If you’re jealous, it might be time to sit down and have a heart to heart – with others or with yourself. What about your situation is leading you to feel a sense of distrust? Is it a missing link in your connection? Or…is it a story you’ve been telling yourself, one that’s keeping you in a place of possessive hostage-holding? Maybe it’s just that you are scared of loneliness. Recognize the areas of wariness in your life, whether externally or internally – then either take immediate action to establish dependable trust, or (if you’re weaving stories for yourself or afraid of being alone) be brave enough to internalize all the signs around you that let you know there is nothing to worry about.

3.) If it’s envy, ask yourself: What about what this person is doing – or who this person is being – is attractive and enticing to me? When you find yourself envious of a friend, coworker, family member, or even stranger, ask yourself – what about what this person is doing or who this person is being is sparking my envy? It could be what it looks like from the outside (the actions they’re taking or the connections they’re forming, or it could be emotionally based), or how happy or complete they seem to be. These are all clues to accessing what YOU truly want out this life: they type of work you do, the type of relationships you have, the type of impact you make and existence you long to lead. We only feel envy when we feel we are capable of the same. These strategically placed clues are signs that you have it within yourself to have everything you desire.


It might seem like envy is the more… productive of the two. But don’t be fooled. The thing with envy is that you can’t let it fester. It’s like a carton of milk with an expiration date – your envy needs to be used or be chucked, or else it’s gonna stink up your whole damn fridge. When envy is left unchecked, it runs the risk of turning rancid. Envy can pave the way for resentment if we’re not careful. It’s way less emotionally risky to to react to a threat than respond to an opportunity. So if  we get too used to living a “stuck” life filled with wanting what other people have, our easiest self-defense becomes viewing the success of others as a threat to our own worth. Which is very rarely the truth. There’s space for everyone in this world, whether you believe it or not.

I am blessed to have some pretty talented, driven friends in my life, ones who are constantly accomplishing something new (in real life, not just on Facebook). I am president of their fan clubs and celebrate their amazingness to the fullest.

I also find myself envious from time to time. These feelings aren’t mutually exclusive, nor do they need to be. I’m not jealous of their circumstance because I feel no threat. Yet I am envious of the aspects I know I long to set free within myself. And so I am so glad they light a fire inside me and set the example. My friend Shelley Zalis, founder of The Girls’ Lounge, taught me the phrase “If you can see it, you can be it.” I’m so glad there are people out there who have either shown me what can be done, or inspired me to grow the ladyballs to be able to do the same for someone else.

When I left my full-time job last year (exactly one year ago!) and shared it with you all on here, I mentioned how my drive and enthusiasm had played a big part in letting me know it was time to go. What I failed to include is that, in the hidden crevices of my heart, I’d also gotten so envious I could no longer ignore it. I saw people in my field accomplishing things, personal and professional, that I wanted for MYSELF too. But instead of letting the envy fester and turn sour, I let the reality of my longing sink in. It wasn’t about anyone else. It was about ME. Watching others step up their game and own their full selves – and watching myself react to those displays of courageousness – was like a call to action. No one else was waiting for the “right” time, so why was I? Because I was able to identify my envy as productive, not destructive (and not jealousy), I could use it to guide me in the right direction.

We all deserve a life that’s lived to the max, a life filled with love, success, abundance. What this looks like differs for each person, and is sometimes hidden in a murky haze of dreams and ambition. When you see someone else moving forward fearlessly through the blur, it means you can too. Clear the smog and debris of distrust – then allow those beautiful moments of yearning to help you see an endless horizon all your own.


WANT Yourself:
Now that you know the difference between jealousy and envy – do you ever feel them? Maybe one more than the other? How have they helped you in your life – or how have you kept them in check? Let’s take the shame out of the game and start being proactive together in the comments section below…

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