Intellectually speaking, everyone understands this.
Emotionally, this is an entirely foreign concept.
For instance, say you go to the doctor and receive a bad report, causing you to feel anxious, guilty and disappointed.
In turn, you express these emotions by starting a diet and exercise plan.
While your intent is positive and initiative is admirable, minus processing your emotions, a little soul-searching and recontextualizing the feedback you received, you're unlikely to get very far before falling back into familiar patterns because there's a "heaviness" to fear-based emotions.
I often tell my clients: "Fear can get you going but lacks the substance necessary to keep you going."
By recontextualizing, I mean choosing to reframe the "bad" report in a way that transforms your painful emotions into positive ones...so you can enjoyably sustain and feel rewarded by your efforts.
Instead of embodying the guilt of: "I've been a horrible role model for my children," or the shame of: "I'm disgusted with myself," you can say: "This is the result of playing an absent, passive role in my life and now I have an opportunity to prioritize and uplift my fundamental needs."
This reframe is honest in nature and anchors to qualities such as honor, respect, and commitment, stimulating a refreshing emotional chain reaction of peace, love, and joy.
Unless and until you get to love, self-care will always feel like an obligation, a sacrifice and most importantly, unenjoyable.
Even if you reached your goals while continuously being driven by painful emotions, once you get there, you'll encounter the same emotions you initially tried running away from because...how you do anything is how you do anything.
The person who reaches their goals and then "loses motivation" and "self-sabotages" isn't their biggest critic or worst enemy, they're exhausted from feeding the fear that got them there.
Simply stated, fear does not lead to love, love does.
"You have me. Until every last star in the galaxy dies. You have me." Annie Kaufman