“Sore today, strong tomorrow.”
“Don’t wish for a good body, work for it.”
“Stop wishing, start doing.”
“Man, that really pumped me up! I’m ready to seize the day and conquer my goals!”
“This time it’ll be easy, I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been in my life!”
This is the voice inside my head almost every night as I scroll through Instagram and see what my favorite fitness professionals, athletes, and celebrities are up to. I get so fired up at around 8:30pm, right as I start my bedtime routine.
At 4:30am when my alarm goes off, it’s a totally different story. I’m tired. I can’t see straight, my body is sluggish, and I feel like a truck just hit me. You know what sounds good to me right now? A 35 min ascending WOD consisting of running, power cleans, burpees, and toes to bar…said no one ever. Where did all that motivation go?
I try and conjure up a feeling or two from last night, and just laugh quietly to myself. Yeah right, what was I thinking? It’s gone, the motivation, the moment, and the chance at achieving the goal I set out on.
That’s the bad thing about motivation, it’s never there when you actually need it. You’re pumped, primed and ready for action, but the feeling is fleeting. Do you think all of those celebrities, CrossFit Games athletes, and fitness professionals are just mainlining caffeine and YouTube videos into their bloodstream, to get them to do what’s necessary to achieve their dreams? No. The answer is no.
But what they do have is a little secret they use to get them to do the hard stuff. It’s something you do in other areas of your life, but maybe not when it comes to fitness. Maybe not when it comes to the “hard work.”
The secret I’m talking about is discipline. Not in the punishment sense, but in the Merriam-Webster definition 5C of the word discipline. Self Control. Pushing yourself past resistance and doing it anyway. Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is stepping foot inside the gym.
How many times have you woken up, taken a shower, made your coffee, and headed in to work? Probably more times than you can count. This year alone, you’ve probably done it over 200 times (and it’s only November).
Imagine you completed 200 workouts this year. Where would you be in relation to your goals? Would you finally have that pull-up? Would you still be looking to lose 30 lbs? Or, now maybe it’s just 10? Most people don’t complete 200 workouts in two years, let alone one. And 200 workouts is only 3-4x per week (the Axistence recommendation).
You go to your job, or school, you brush your teeth, you take showers (most days) because it’s just what you do. If you didn’t there would be consequences. The same goes for your health and fitness. If you don’t do what’s necessary, there will be consequences for you later in life. It’s like smoking. One pack won’t kill you. It’s the prolonged use, or in the case of your body, the prolonged disuse that will lead to health issues and poor quality of life.
That’s it. Reframe the way you view your workout. View it as an automatic, like going to work, or brushing your teeth, or any other task you accept as necessary and just do, whether you want to or not, because the gain is worth the pain.
That’s the secret weapon successful people use. It’s not motivation. Motivation is sexy, it looks cool, it makes you feel emotions that release endorphins that get you fired up. But using discipline over motivation means that you accept that you don’t have to be pumped about it all the time. Discipline is something you might associate with getting in trouble, or with monotony and boredom. It’s not sexy, it’s not cool, it doesn’t elicit those uber-satisfying feelings. What it does do is get you to do what is necessary in order to achieve your dreams.
Imagine it’s your last day on earth. Are you satisfied enough with the person you became, that you would want to stand face to face with the person you could have become? What other areas in your life can you leverage discipline to achieve your dreams? Your actions become who you are. Make the right choices. Take care of your body. Remember, this is just something that you do now.