Whatever your fitness goals are, there will be days when you won’t be motivated to exercise. It’s okay. It happens and is normal. Don’t let it discourage you!
“Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.”Jocko Willink
To get motivated, you need to ACT. You can’t expect motivation to just strike you as you’re sitting on the couch binge watching the latest show on Netflix. 😉 In order to get motivated, you need to take action. And taking action takes self-discipline. So, let’s dive into what self-discipline is.
What is self-discipline?
Basically, it’s your ability to control your actions, feelings, and emotions. When it comes to fitness, it’s your ability to stick to your goals of exercising and practicing good nutrition.
Getting a handle on self-discipline will help you to stay motivated and encourage you to keep going. You are more likely to become successful. Besides helping you to stay motivated, self-discipline has other benefits including:
- More decisiveness. You will spend less time debating whether to indulge in things that don’t align with your goals. Example, sleeping in vs. waking up and going to the gym. You won’t let impulses or feelings dictate your choices.
- Increased happiness. When you realize that you are the architect of your own life, you will likely find greater happiness, freedom, and decreased anxiety. YOU are in charge. Life isn’t happening to you. Also, accomplishing your goals feels good. As you make progress, you will feel happier.
- Resiliency. Your ability to resist temptation increases as your self-discipline grows.
“You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” ~ MARCUS AURELIUS
Okay, so hopefully I’ve sold you on how desirable developing self-discipline is! The question now is….
How do you develop self-discipline?
First off, it takes time, practice and effort. You’ll also make mistakes along the way and that’s okay. Progress and growth is not linear.
Here are 5 steps that can help you develop self-discipline:
- Get to know your strengths and your weaknesses. Becoming more self-aware will help you overcome your weaknesses. For example, if your strength is getting to bed early, but you have a weakness of scrolling through your phone after you get in bed which causes you to stay up too late and as a result, you skip your morning workout, you can learn that this weakness is preventing you from accomplishing your goal. Replace your habit of looking at your phone at night with reading a book or meditating.
- Set clear goals that are realistic, simple, and clear. We all have big, lofty goals, but those can be super overwhelming If that’s all we have. You need to set smaller goals to get you to those lofty goals…and they need to be realistic. For example, you have a large goal of losing 50lbs. Some smaller goals you can set could be to get 5,000-10,000 steps in each day; make sure you have a protein with every meal; eat slowly and mindfully; etc. These smaller goals need to be realistic and attainable. If you’ve never gone to the gym in your life, setting a goal to go daily will be hard. I want you to accomplish your goals because the satisfaction of doing so will give you the motivation to keep going. Be patient with yourself. ¨̮
- Practice diligence. No one is born with self-discipline. It takes practice and time. Habits take time to create and that is essentially what you are trying to do with self-discipline – make it a habit so you don’t even have to think much about it.
- Get an accountability buddy. Get someone to hold you accountable to your goals. This could be a friend, spouse, family member, a coach or trainer. Someone you trust will follow up with you and help you make good choices that align with your goals. Everyone needs a cheerleader. You don’t have to do this alone.
- Be nice to yourself. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to fail. Like I said above, success is not a linear process. When you do mess up, don’t ruminate on it forever. Ask why it happened and move on! Sarah Blakely the CEO and creator of Spanx said that her father encouraged her to fail. At the dinner table each night he’d ask each of his children what they failed at that day. If they didn’t have anything, he would be disappointed. It redefined how she thought of failure. If you don’t have failure, that means you aren’t trying.
“Success doesn’t just happen. You have to be intentional about it, and that takes discipline.” – John C. Maxwell
Make the commitment today to develop self-discipline. I also suggest writing down your goals, tracking your progress. Seeing the little wins each day is motivating. Good luck!