Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


4 Words That Will Motivate You to Do Anything

Unleashing the power of not waiting to feel motivated.

Do you struggle with motivation? If so, do any of these statements sound familiar?

  • Once I get motivated, I'll start a diet to lose some weight.
  • Once I feel motivated, I'm going to look for a better job.
  • I need to get motivated and then I will look at options to go back to college.
  • I'm just not motivated yet to join a dating app.
  • I can't get motivated enough to go to the gym, what is wrong with me?!
  • Once I feel motivated, I'm going to clean up the house.

Assuming any of these reflections of frustration resonate with you, please do yourself a huge favor: Stop waiting for the motivation fairies to magically appear out of nowhere and get you to do what you don't want to do.

And, please stop toxically labeling yourself as "lazy," "bum," "worthless," "loafer" or "a mess" if you struggle to feel motivated. Enough already!

Guess what? Everyone struggles with motivation at certain periods of their lives. In fact, I often struggle with motivation.

But I have some great news. I have found for my counseling and coaching clients—as well as for myself—that a four-word formula I've developed will help you to overcome "motivational constipation" (a term I affectionately coined for this "disorder.").

The secret to becoming motivated to do things is to stop waiting to feel—motivated! That's right, regardless of how you initially feel, you will more likely feel like doing whatever you need to do, once you simply start doing it.

Your Four-Word Motivational Formula

Do you remember the "Just Do It!" Nike advertising campaign? I love that slogan. But that's not my four-word motivation formula. That's because not many people get motivated by being told what to do. Yes, you might have purchased Nike running shoes or other apparel after you saw that advertisement. But did that commercial really make you want to consistently run over time? Probably not.

So, here is my simple four-word magic formula for you: “I’ll do it anyway!” This four-word strategy is more fully described in my recent book, The Anxiety, Depression, & Anger Toolbox for Teens. Yet this activating slogan actually works well for all ages.

Making “I’ll do it anyway!” your mindset empowers you by realizing that you don’t have to “become ready” to approach demands and challenges. Here’s what makes this formula a great way to “unslump” yourself:

"I’ll" puts you back in the driver’s seat to claim responsibility for what you want or need to do.

"Do" redirects your thinking to being active (Do Instead of Stew) instead of continuing to spin your wheels.

"It" focuses you back on the specific task to be done.

And what about, "Anyway?"

This word "anyway" is what makes the rubber meet the road. "Anyway" creates a huge motivational influence because it allows you to have resistance yet also push through it to act and get things done! This inspires grit. Even if you aren’t completely feeling it, you can still do something that is in your best interest.

Putting "I'll Do It Anyway" Into Action

Here’s how you can apply this. Let's say—just hypothetically, of course—that I was resistant to writing this post. Perhaps I said to myself things like, "Jeff, no one really cares about what you have to offer about motivation."

But then I say, "I'll Do It Anyway"

"I'll" gets me owning the task.

"Do" focuses me on the fact that I will be writing this post, so it is my responsibility. This helps me get rid of the magical thinking that someone else will do it for me.

"It" sheds light on what I have to specifically do.

"Anyway" activates me and detaches me from my own anxiety that what I have to say is not good enough. "Anyway" frees me from worrying about haters who may not like what I have to say. The word "anyway" also emboldens me to reflect on all the times this four-word phrase has helped my counseling and coaching clients, and myself as well.

For more about Dr. Jeff, please click here.


Bernstein, J. (2020). The Anxiety, Depression, & Anger Toolbox for Teens, Eau Claire, WI: PESI Publishing.

Bernstein, J. (2015). 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child (2nd Ed.) Perseus Books, New York, NY.

Bernstein J. (2009) Liking the Child You Love, Perseus Books, New York, NY.

Bernstein, J. (2019). The Stress Survival Guide for Teens. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Bernstein, J. (2017). Letting go of Anger—Card deck for teens. Eau Claire, WI: PESI Publishing.

Bernstein, J. (2003) Why Can't You Read My Mind? Perseus Books, New York, NY.

More from Jeffrey Bernstein Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today