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Ask E. Jean For DearSugar: The Olympics Have Me Down, How Do I Get Motivated?

Dear E. Jean,

I’ve been watching the Olympics. How do I get as motivated as these athletes? Watching all this extraordinary achievement makes me feel like such a loser. And the worst part is I can’t stop watching them.

I’ve been glued to the TV since they started, and I mean glued! Tonight while I watched the gymnastics I ate three bowls of cereal and a plate of lasagna! God! Am I the only person who's stopped exercising completely and is doing nothing but getting fat watching Shawn Johnson and Michael Phelps? I want to be successful, too!

I keep watching and hoping I’ll find out what their secret is, but nobody can put it into words. Should I just hire a life coach? — Coach Potato Girl

To see E. Jean's answer,


Miss Couch, My Kumquat,

Oh, but the Olympic stars are revealing the secrets of their success. (And I’m not talking about Michael Phelps disclosing that he eats 12,000 calories a day or Nastia Liukin saying she likes to keep her “legs together on the dismount.”) Anybody watching the games has picked up a few Tips of Triumph:

  • Don’t focus on what’s wrong, concentrate on what’s right.
  • When an opponent falters, seize the opportunity.
  • Half the battle is knowing exactly what you want to do.
  • Play to your strengths. Know what you’re good at. And concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.
  • When you can’t go on, go on.
  • And the single idea which seems to be shared by nearly every athlete: “I suffered all those horrid practices, pains, tears, sweat, blood, and set backs . . . and now that I’ve made it to Beijing, thank God I didn’t give up!

As for hiring a life coach, well now. I’ve seen a couple of specimens on Oprah who were so brilliant that I gained a brain size just looking at them, but, alas, in the real world, 99 out of 100 life coaches are total douchers.

The motivation required to find a good coach (i.e. a coach who did not receive his “certification” from an online moron factory) and the patience needed to listen to his bull hockey if/when you do locate one, will waste any energy you have left.

Best to form a “Just Do It” group with your friends and enjoy a hilarious time energizing one another, or read Self-Reliance by the great Ralph Waldo Emerson. Old Ralphy will jam you so full of success strategies, you’ll run the 100 meters of life in 10 seconds flat.

To see more advice from E. Jean, visit Elle magazine and

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