self-dis·ci·pline: The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.
Synonyms: willpower; self-control; strong-mindedness; resolve
“With self-discipline, most anything is possible.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
What is the big secret to getting in the best shape of your life? What is that mythical, long sought-after “magic pill?”
I am going to tell you what it is – but you might not like it. You can’t buy it. You can’t get it from someone else. You can’t give it to someone else. But no one – aside from you – can take it away.
The secret? Plain and simple, good old-fashioned self-discipline. We live in a society where if we aren’t happy with something or someone – a job, a spouse, a car, a school, a city – we change it. Instant gratification has made self-discipline harder to practice, more uncomfortable to face and, for the most part, unnecessary in many situations. If we want to eat something, we eat it. If we don’t feel like working out, we don’t.
SELF-DISCIPLINE TRUMPS MOTIVATION
I always chuckle when people make the comment to me Oh, you must love to work out or I’m just not motivated like you. Or my favorite I love food too much to eat healthy (blank stare).
I chuckle because I don’t always love to work out, most of the time I’m not motivated, and I think about food 24/7. Motivation rarely drives me to work out or eat healthy. I do get inspired when I watch a fitness competition, or see someone’s hard work paying off, but that is more reassuring that I chose a good lifestyle for myself than it is motivating to keep working out and eating healthy.
Actually, what really motivates me to continue this lifestyle is when I hear about ailments and illnesses people my age have. This may sound odd, but when I hear the word motivation, I actually associate it with a negative connotation, and here’s why: motivation is so fleeting and fickle that it’s almost a tease – setting someone up for a crash and burn. But if you have a solid foundation of self-discipline instilled in you, that increases your chances of success much more than occasional, random bursts of motivation.
My workouts, healthy eating habits and my lifestyle are fueled by self-discipline about 80% of the time. About 10% is fueled by emotions (have you ever had a really hard workout or a great, fast run when you were all lit up about something?? Amazing!) and the other 10% is motivation, … when it decides to show up!
You are not always going to feel like eating healthy. But when you have goals, what you want right now and what you originally set out to do may conflict. There are so many clichés and memes that revolve around this, one of them being Remember why you started. Even trying to focus on that may not work, because when you started your journey you were all excited with a full, happy tummy and fresh, rested muscles that hadn’t been worked to the point of exhaustion yet.
You will be tempted, and you will have weak moments – there is no question about that. When push comes to shove and you have been driving toward your goals for months, when you are tired and hungry and in a moment where you just want to forget everything – that is when only one will save you from going over the edge: self-discipline.
WHY YOU ARE THE KEY
Peeling away the layers, here is what it looks like if you have everything you need to reach your goals, and where and how self-discipline plays the most important part:
1. You make the decision to start a fitness journey, or to take your fitness to the next level.
2. You hire a trainer, or you find a plan on-line provided by a knowledgeable trainer.
3. You now have a structured fitness plan complete with detailed strength-training, cardio and nutrition all mapped out for you.
This is where the outsourcing ends, the rest is where internal sourcing -. self-discipline – begins.
4. You now need to plan your meals and workouts for the week ahead, which takes self-discipline.
5. You need to make a grocery list, go grocery shopping and cook all your food for the week ahead, which takes self-discipline.
6. You need to schedule strength-training and cardio around your work day and any family activities, and then you need to actually do the workouts, which takes self-discipline (hopefully a little motivation will be there for you from time to time, but even when it’s not there, you have to get your butt out of bed and hit the gym weather you feel like it or not!)
7. You need to do all of these things consistently over time, which most certainly will take a lot of self-discipline.
Whether you achieve your fitness goals is completely up to you. YOU are the only one who can get in the way of succeeding, and YOU are the only one who – ultimately – can achieve success.
It is up to you to set your goals. And when you do, it is up to you to seek guidance on how to achieve those goals. If you aren’t sure how to go about achieving your goals, hire a trainer or a nutrition specialist or a fitness coach to help give you better information, guidance on what exercises to do, and help you design a fitness program that will help you on your journey toward a fitter, healthier body. It is up to you to gather the resources you need to help you achieve your goals. Obviously since you are reading this you’ve acquired Nicole and her team as one of your resources, so good job!
But that’s only a fraction of it. You can have all of the right tools in place, all the support and guidance you will ever need, but the most important thing is having self-discipline in those moments of weakness to keep you on course. When push comes to shove, you have to dig deep and find it within you to do what you promised yourself you would do – especially when you feel like you don’t want to.
6 TIPS TO HELP YOU OVERCOME OBSTACLES
Here are six ways – in addition to practicing self-discipline – that you can push through the times I don’t feel like sticking to my plan:
1. Find someone – or something – to keep you accountable. Having something or someone who is counting on you to show up and keep your promise can be just what you need to ensure you will stick to it. Unfortunately, we are sometimes ok with letting ourselves down, but we wouldn’t think of letting someone else down.
2. Listen to great music. Get a playlist together of some of your favorite, all-time motivating songs that really get you pumped up or motivated to dig deep and stick to your goals.
3. Don’t overthink it. Just DO it! The more time you give yourself to think about it, the more opportunity you have to dwell on negative thoughts and talk yourself out of it and justify why you should cheat or your diet or skip a workout.
4. Show up. Nine times out of 10, once I start to work out – even if I am not in the mood or don’t have the energy or just am in a funk and don’t want to train – I eventually start getting into it. If you just get started, you will might be surprised and have the best workout of your life, even if you were on the fence and almost didn’t go to the gym. At the very least you will feel a whole lot better afterwards.
5. Have a solid support system in place. In a previous Tip Me Tuesday, I mentioned taking a look at your “village” and looking at all of the things in your life that can positively or negatively affect your chances of reaching your goals. The more support you have, and the more you align other areas of your life to complement your goals, the less likely you are to experience lows and challenges and stumbling blocks.
6. Keep going. Even if you have a bad day, a bad week or a bad month, don’t let that stop you dead in your tracks. Get back up and brush it off! So you accidentally hit the pause button. It happens. Just push play and resume where you left off.
Tip Me Tuesday: Muscles Matter Most
Tip Me Tuesday: Gaining vs Losing
Tip Me Tuesday: How To Work Out Better
Tip Me Tuesday: Become A Dieting Expert
Tip Me Tuesday: Trust The Process – And Your Trainer!
Tip Me Tuesday: Your Village Is The Key To A Healthy, Fit Body
Tip Me Tuesday: It’s Not Always About The Calorie Burn
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.