Ashley Park Hero Image - Shape

The Motivation Issue

Science-backed strategies, real-talk advice, and inspiring stories that will motivate you to crush (or table) any goal.

“Once cancer physically left my body, I made it my mission to not let it affect my life…I am going to go after what I want and just do it.”

—Ashley Park

Letter from the Editor

Alyssa Sparacino - Letter from the Editor Image

Motivation is a finicky thing. Sometimes you feel like a superhero who bounds out of bed for a morning run before sunrise, and other times all you have the mental energy for is takeout and a true crime documentary. Here’s the thing: This ebb and flow is normal. And there’s no shame in hitting pause when that’s what your brain or body needs.

For Shape’s very first digital issue (!!), we wanted to tackle motivation from all angles, including the people, methods, and psychology that play a role. And what better time than as we head into a new year? The goal is not to pressure you to achieve an unattainable, perpetual state of motivation (toxic positivity is not on the menu), but rather to encourage you to bring kindness, understanding, and joy to everyday movements, as well as ambitious, loftier goals. 

Our cover star, Ashley Park, truly embodies this notion. As a childhood cancer survivor, she launched her career on the Broadway stage, and now stars in the mega Netflix hit Emily In Paris — showing off her singing skills in the role too. Through it all, she’s remained steadfast in her motivation to see her dreams become reality.

With Park’s inspiring story anchoring our issue, we also explore science-backed tactics to increase your motivation and commitment, such as creating the ultimate workout playlist, strategically using or ditching activity tech and metrics, or outfitting your closet with the activewear that makes you excited to get moving. 

We also talk to some of the biggest names in fitness who have not only created businesses around what it means to be motivated but are also refreshingly honest about how they’ve conquered their own struggles.

Then, we dig into the psychology behind motivation (or lack thereof) — destigmatizing setbacks and “failures” and turning them into lessons to build a stronger, more resilient future self.

Before you dig in, I personally wanted to extend a virtual sweaty high-five to Shape’s loyal and new readers alike. I truly hope each and every one of you feels seen in this issue and more motivated than ever for whatever goal lies ahead. 

— Alyssa Sparacino, Editorial Director

On the Cover

Ashley Park Goes After What She Wants

Ashley Park is the walking definition of je ne sais quoi. Her charm and effervescence cartwheels off the screen in Emily In Paris, which returns to Netflix for its third season on December 21. She’s such a natural, she makes everything — including singing, acting, and walking Paris’ cobblestone streets in stilettos — look easy. But make no mistake, Park has worked her butt off to get to where she is, staying motivated and driven even during the toughest of times.