How many times have you woken up and thought, “I have no motivation to work out today.” Some days, you work out anyway. Other days you throw in the towel.
But why? Is it because you need more motivation? Is it related to self-discipline? Spoiler alert…it’s both.
Motivation is a feeling.
Motivation isn’t tangible. It’s virtually impossible to objectively measure it. Motivation is a feeling – a fleeting feeling. It’s a reflection of your energy and excitement levels, and it fluctuates all the time.
Because motivation is constantly changing, this is why some days you wake up ready to work out, and other days you want to crawl right back into bed. A lower level of motivation isn’t a sign that something’s wrong; it just means that you’re normal.
So, if motivation is so unstable, what are we supposed to do? How do we keep going with the goals and activities we want to be part of our daily lives? Enter discipline.
Discipline is a skill.
Unlike motivation, discipline is a learned skill. So when your motivation starts to dwindle, discipline can take over and help out.
It’s important to remember that self-discipline is a skill that can help you make a change. The goal of developing self-discipline isn’t to become superhuman and avoid all failure. It’s not a rigid, inflexible, drill-sergeant mentality based on unrealistic expectations.
But discipline does require some effort. And you can practice and create self-discipline through your daily actions. Over time, disciplined steps lead to habits – healthier habits.
Here are a few ways you can practice becoming more disciplined:
1. Write down what you’re trying to do.
Be very clear about the behavior you’re trying to accomplish each day. Is it getting in a workout? Drinking enough water? Avoiding sugar? Whatever the action, write it down and post your goal someplace where you’ll see it frequently throughout the day.
2. Start small.
Change happens in small actions that build up over time. If your goal is to work out more, then start small. Start with two or three days a week instead of seven.
3. Remove obstacles.
Try to make it as easy as possible to do the thing you’re trying to do. If your goal is to avoid sugar, keep cookies out of your house. If you plan to wake up and work out first thing, set your clothes out the night before. Remove any barrier that stands between you and your desired action.
To accomplish your goals and create healthier habits, you need both motivation and discipline. You need the feeling and the skill. You can keep your motivation level high by remembering why it’s important for you to make a change to your lifestyle. And then do a little bit each day to develop discipline and build healthy habits.