Day-4 Syndrome: How to Stay Motivated When You’re Not Feelin’ It - Christine Kane

Sylvia is in my Platinum Coaching & Mastermind Group.  She had a pattern of getting wildly motivated right after our coach calls and going full speed ahead. Then after a few days, she’d lose her motivation.  She’d give up.

I call this pattern the Day-4 Syndrome.

Day-4 is the point you hit when you can’t remember what all the fuss was about in the first place.

Day-4 Syndrome is when you think, “Why bother? Nothing ever changes anyway.”

Day-4 Syndrome is when you order from Dominos, opt for American Idol instead of writing for an hour, sleep through the alarm, and believe the voice inside that tells you you’re hopeless.

The problem with Day-4 Syndrome is not that we’re not “motivated.”

The problem is that we expect to feel “motivated” before we take action.

The Siren Song of Motivation

Recently, I was at someone’s house for a dinner party.  He pulled a photo of himself down from a shelf and showed it to me.

“That,” he said, “is me walking across hot coals in my bare feet. It changed my life.”

“Yeah?” I said. “What in your life changed after you did this?”

He looked confused. He couldn’t think of anything.

All too often, we wait for peak motivation experiences to propel us into taking action. Feeling motivated, inspired, psyched, enthused, pumped up, revved – these are all amazing elements of being here on earth.  But if we require these feelings, this level of inspiration, to be present before we take action, then we’re setting ourselves up for major disappointment and few real changes in life.

So, how do you get around those times when you’re “not feelin’ it.” ?

The Body-Mind-Spirit Loop

As creative beings, we have this awesome system with which to work. It is comprised of these three elements of being:

1. Body
2. Mind
3. Spirit

It’s a circle. Think of it as the Body-Mind-Spirit Loop.

When it comes to motivation, most people think that creating things – wealth, weight loss, songs, companies – is all about inspiration. Or, the Spirit.  And yes, the idea might originate in that place in the moment.  But you can enter the B-M-S loop from any point.  And THAT is the unimpressive truth.

For instance, when I sit down to write, I am rarely “motivated.” I’m never impressive.  I might have an idea of a place to start (Spirit).  But as of this writing, no angel has appeared, pointed at my guitar and whispered fully formed songs while I played.

What does happen is this:

I enter the B-M-S Loop through B, the Body.  I sit my body down and start writing.  My mind becomes involved.  Eventually, the act of writing creates the motivation.  B-M-S is a closed loop – and you can enter it from any point! I choose to enter from whichever point works in the moment, without requiring it to be the one that feels the best.

Let’s say you choose to create wealth.  If you’re like many of my clients, you’ll have to start at the Mind. You enter the loop through your thoughts and mindsets about money.  The thoughts and intention can then lead to the spirit or inspired business idea.  Then, the body gets involved and takes action.

Many people fight me on this one, insisting that the entrance point must be the Body – winning the lottery, getting an inheritance or a hit song.  It’s not good news to hear that you can enter the loop through the Mind – as you don’t have the physical substance on the Body level yet.

But that’s the gift of the Loop! You can start anywhere!

Awareness and Your Ego

I was in a coaching session with a woman in my Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program. She wanted to know how I healed depression without drugs.  As I described the various practices I used, she stopped me and said, “That sounds like a lot of effort.”

“No,” I said. “It’s a lot of awareness.”

Motivation is like that, too.

It’s about being aware of your ego’s tactics to keep you safe and comfortable.  For the longest time, my ego had me convinced that if I were meant to be a songwriter, then God (my ego’s favorite weapon) would’ve made it easier for me – you know, like Bob Dylan.  My ego thought it should be all about Spirit.

Songwriting was not a natural for me. Neither was singing.  Looking back, I’m glad it wasn’t.  It forced me to enter the B-M-S loop through the thing that freaked me out the most – my Body. I took voice lessons, learned guitar, scheduled time each day to enter the loop.

Eventually I learned the most important thing to learn about motivation:

Motivation is created by showing up.  Not the other way around.

I learned that it felt so much more peaceful than the “walking across fire” jolt of a great idea.  It had a clarity and vibration to it that slowly created a foundation.

When I coach people now, one of the most challenging things to convey is that THIS state is the reward. It is where we’re most alive. Not the highly-charged fleeting feeling of motivation.  Both are valid, for sure. But one can sustain you much longer than the other.

Intention Trumps Angst

One of the most common questions I hear these days with regard to motivation is connected to the Abraham-Hicks philosophy of doing and thinking only what “feels good.”

“So, if I sit down to write or go to the gym, and I’m angst-ridden, am I creating bad energy and ruining my life?”

Awesome question!

My take on it is this:

Deeper intention trumps momentary angst.

So, intention is your lighthouse.  It is your true desire, your deeper happiness, the guiding light.

In my Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program, we spend many many days on intention, and we revisit it throughout the program. That’s because intention comes from a deeper wiser place.

As such, it is the more meaningful direction you want to go.  So, at any given moment on a challenging day, your thoughts might go like this:

Abraham-Hicks told me to feel good. What would make me feel good is this box of Hostess Ho-ho’s, and I’d much rather do that than go to the gym.

In this kind of moment, it’s helpful to remember your intention.  Intention (created by your deeper wiser self in clarity and deliberateness) trumps angst (the momentary tantrum being thrown by your ego – which will take philosophies like Abraham-Hicks and turn them around in the service of the tantrum.)

What is your intention? Can you let that guide you?

Dreams, Definitions and Deadlines

A more practical application of the Body-Mind-Spirit Loop is to think in terms of Dreams, Definitions, and Deadlines.

The Dream is your intention, your goal, your desire. It is the Spirit. It is your soul calling to you, knowing exactly how you can play big in your life.

But a Dream often means nothing to our minds. Our mind needs daily applications and practices. This is why Definition is a huge key to motivation. Definition helps the mind understand the dream.

One woman in my Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program had a Dream of becoming healthy and losing weight.  She cried as she told me that this intention seemed completely un-doable.  I told her about Definition. I explained to her that Definition might help explain to the mind what she meant by “health.”

In this case, definition could be any of the following:

1 – Read one chapter of a book on nutrition or mindsets everyday.
2 – One 30-minute Crossfit workout Monday – Friday.
3 – Dumping out every single piece of processed food and sugar in the kitchen.
4 – Eating three solid meals of vegetables and protein each day. (No grabbing processed junk.)

It’s good to start small. Don’t try to do it all at once. So, maybe the first week is just #3 and #2.  At the end of the week, you check in and check things off the list. Then you create definitions again.

Motivation is created by momentum.  Momentum doesn’t have to be huge.

However, if you’ve never Defined anything – then you’ve never experienced what it’s like to COMPLETE anything.  So you’ll end up feel like your dreams are out of reach and ethereal. Definition helps your mind get on board with your dreams.

The last element is the deadline.  This is how you can engage your body in this process.  The Deadline is the time-space element of any dream. It is the goal.  I’m a proponent of very do-able goals.  So, don’t set a deadline to lose 50 pounds by next week, for instance.  This is unrealistic.

One of the gifts of my Platinum Coaching & Mastermind group is that we meet three times in person throughout the year.  This creates a deadline for the participants. They don’t want to let each other down. So they have a set date for when they want to accomplish their Dreams.

This is why coaching works. It’s why accountability buddies work. It’s why setting a “release date” works. Your body “gets” deadlines.

This might sound like game-playing at first. And actually, it is!  In fact, the whole idea of motivation is a game. Each day you’ll get to see which voice or excuse is showing up to challenge you.  And you’ll learn how to move around it and move forward.

Most important, you’ll get very good at finding new entrance points to generate new levels of motivation. Yes, even when you’re not feelin’ it.

  • pia smith

    I had to smile …. this was my fourth day of waking up at 5 am to get things done before the rest of the house wakes up and ….. I decided to sleep the extra two hours. After reading the intro I can’t bring myself to sleep through it tomorrow. Heh!

  • lisa

    Hey, look what I got in my “Daily Quote” e-mail from the A-H site yesterday!
    This sums it up nicely.
    “If there is something that you have to do, resist the temptation to do it under duress. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that would happen if I didn’t do this?” And if you can get away with not doing it at all, don’t do it. And then imagine what would it feel like to have this done. Spend a day or two, if you can, just 15 minutes here, 5 minutes here, 2 minutes here, here and here, imagining it completed in a way that pleases you! And then, the next time you decide that you’re going to take action about it, the action is going to be a whole lot easier.”
    — Abraham
    Excerpted from the workshop in Phoenix, AZ on Sunday, April 5th, 1998 #386

  • lisa

    This is a great article, really really great, but Holy Moly, I’ve got to come to the defense of Abraham’s message! To say that they say to “only do or think what feels good” is taking a piece of their message muchly out of context, in that way that makes members of cult-watching groups write in complaining that their spouses have lost their jobs, started cheating on them, quit paying their bills, etc., because all they heard was “feel good”.
    I think it would be more accurate to say that Abraham suggests that we should (can) make the effort to feel as good as we can before we take action, and that we should (can) make the effort to find the best-feeling thought we can on any subject. Ain’t hardly NOBODY enjoys doing their tax return, for example, but you can do it feeling tense and irritated and resentful (“GAWD I hate doing this/look how much the gummint takes/why the hell didn’t I keep all those receipts in one place dammit/can’t-make-mistake-can’t-make-mistake-can’t-make-mistake…”), or you can do it after reaching for the best-feeling thought you can about it (“GAWD I’m glad this only happens once a year/I’m just gonna do the best I can filling this out/HEY I can use that cool box for receipts next year and just throw them all in there, that would be easy/I’m glad SOMEBODY’S taking care of the roads and parks and schools/hey I’ve never had a problem with my returns…”). Same action, but coming from a different mind-set. It’s about “which thought feels better”.
    Anyway, I hope I’m preaching to the choir here, and that you were just using that Abraham thing for effect.
    I love your writing, it’s really extraordinary! I can feel your great energy when I read your blog.

  • Jennifer


    I was relaxing and praying for answers. And I truly find them on your site. I do not want to give up or feel it is just barely making it in life, no matter what age or life cycle and no matter what experiences, hard or not have come my way. It is a new beginning and you filled my cup with fresh enthusiasim and tangible concepts for BMS and Dreams, Definitions and Deadlines. Thank you !

  • Andrea

    Dear Christine, A wonderful essay and a great reminder of the power of your retreats. I have only just recently learned about the Abraham-Hicks “replace that thought” approach and tried it when my mind goes on the hamster wheel of worry or self judgement. It is not easy for me. In fact it is sometimes painful but when, in that moment, I think kind thoughts about my BODY then I can reach a new space of emotional SPIRIT and my MIND gets out of the way.
    Thanks so much for what you share with all of us.

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks for all these great additions to the blog post. And yes, Jen – that’s a cool idea. I forget, sometimes, to reward myself! (Though – i’m definitely no stranger to massages and pedicures!)

    And jenny – yes indeed – ho ho’s don’t REALLY make us feel good. (But then again, when I was bulimic – you’d have had a hard time convincing me of that! 🙂 ) It’s still a fine line to walk when you’re dealing with those inner tantrums!

  • Jen Trinque

    Thing one: There is so much wonderful information in this post that I think I’m going to have to reread it quite a few times to get it all!

    Thing two: The four day thing reminds me of one of the ways I coach, as taught by Martha Beck, that to keep things going we should practice “four day wins”. Each day we do the desired activity we get a teeny reward – say, get to watch a favorite TV show, or get a new shade of nail polish. On the fourth day of completing the desired task, we get a bigger reward, like a pedicure or a new box of colored pencils or whatever works for your budget. By linking a few four day wins together, rewarding yourself along the way, you can develop a habit you’ll stick with! (If only I could do this on a regular basis, ha ha)

    Thing three: I was just turned onto your blog last week by a woman who was in the same coaching program as me who lives all the way out in San Diego. It’s so funny that she introduced you to me, because I live half an hour away from Asheville! I hope to meet you someday and really enjoy your blog!

  • Jenny

    Christine, You have so many gems of wisdom here. I love the idea of a Mind-Body-Spirit loop. That in itself is motivating to do the things that we do, when the motivation might initially be hard to find.

    When I read this:
    “Abraham-Hicks told me to feel good. What would make me feel good is this box of Hostess Ho-ho’s, and I’d much rather do that than go to the gym,”
    my thought was that ho-ho’s don’t really make us feel good. They cover up the bad feeling. I think this is where the body connection in your M-B-S loop is important. Listening to how the body really feels is critical; the mind likes the ho-ho’s because they numb the pain, but the body knows better (and the spirit, too). At least that’s my experience.

    I like what you wrote about Dreams. I’m in a phase of my life where I’m re-dreaming what I want my life to look like. life recently took a turn and is headed somewhere different than I ever imagined. I love the idea of entering this phase in the Spirit sense. I’ve been trying to enter dreaming from the Mind and it hasn’t been working. Thank you very much for the Spirit suggestion–I will surely try that out!


  • Jodi at Joy Discovered

    Hi Christine,
    This is an incredible system and one that I live by. I know it works! One of the big lessons I have learned to apply to life just in the past six months is showing up–not just for the big things but for little moments, too. I have limited time to work on the projects that are important to me (my dreams) and I used to whine that when I did have a pocket of time, I was tired, or didn’t have the energy, blah blah blah! But when I sat down and just started working, the motivation and momentum came to me. Just like you write here, we can’t always have this wave of emotion lead us, sometimes we have to show up and attract it back into the moment. Everytime I overcome a little ego tantrum, I am rewarded with the positive feeling of nurturing my soul, feeding the dream and accomplishment. Thanks, Christine, for sharing this in such an organized, descriptive fashion. Have a great week!

  • Caren

    How did you know I was in Day 4? I remember, years ago, reading “don’t ask yourself how you feel about doing something”, and that was SO eye-opening to me (Oh, yeah! That was HERE.

    This was a great expansion on that thought, and a great reminder to keep my intention in the forefront, ’cause Lord knows, those Ho-Hos (watching dumb TV in my case) sure seem like they’re in the flow!

    And wow! The definition part… so clear. Just what I needed to read today!

    (You need a “share on facebook” button now!)

  • Catherine Cantieri, Sorted

    I love the B-M-S idea, and I think I need to start trying to enter that loop wherever I can. The mind and spirit are feeling pretty laggy lately, but the body’s always game! Great post, Christine!

  • Judy

    Christine, thank you for the mp3 recording of this blog. It was so great to hear your voice with it. Some how it just has more impact.
    A friend and I are in the process of putting together a video and class project with art and painting. We started out, and still are fired up. But we are in the mist of getting all the necessary “geek” info and do’s and dont’s. This is a daunting tasks for two right brained artists. Your blog really helps remind us, where the motivations comes from.
    Thanks for remind us how to stay focused on our goal.

  • Julie

    Hi, Christine. It’s my first visit here, and I found it wonderfully affirming. Just as we can jump onto a merry-go-round (remember those?) from any point on a circle, we can swing right into our mind-body-spirit advancement by focusing on any of the three aspects—and the advancement truly begins when we put any of our newly learned concepts into action. It’s activity that brings concepts to life. You explain it so clearly. Thanks!

  • sue

    I love all of this! One thing our group has helped me with is the deadline thing, and being accountable. When there’s no deadline, I can get in a ‘hamster-on-the-wheel’ motion about the work I’m doing. When there’s a deadline, the momentum has forward motion, more like a moving sidewalk- and there is a definite destination at the end.

    You’ve helped me see this in everything, not just work. (That’s why my house is always cleanest right before a party as well!) 🙂

  • Tracy

    Hi Christine,
    Your posts are almost always a real contribution to me. This one may be the most powerful yet. Thank you. You are truly amazing!

  • Lynne

    After spending the morning yesterday with my new Sunday Summit ritual (and using the new planning sheets!), I realized that for many of the goals I have, I will need to do just this. So this morning, first thing, even though I didn’t “feel” like it, I got up and got going… and was able to cross three things off my list before I’d finished my first cup of coffee. This approach definitely creates momentum… now I am raring to go! Thanks, Christine!

  • Hrvoje (Her-Vo-Yeh)

    I’m on day 6 of my vacation from my day-job-thing. I’m (or was) having trouble filling the extra 8 hours in the day with things I want to do – unbelievable. Then I realized that I really didn’t define them.

    pencil/pen + paper = one-mean-weapon against wasting time

    There’s so many things…

    This is a great reminder that I’m on the right track. Couldn’t have come at a better time.

  • Positively Present

    This was a perfect post for me today. I really needed to get motivated today and there are so many great words of wisdom in this post. Thank you! 🙂