Ah, yes… Motivation! We have all uttered the words “I’ll do it when I am motivated” before, haven’t we?! That “it” could be in reference to a myriad of topics; changing jobs, building that new shed, painting the house, finishing that epic novel, the list goes on and on. Undoubtedly, it has been said by many of us about establishing a fitness regimen and enhancing our nutrition plan. We wait for motivation to finally kick in tomorrow, but then tomorrow, turns into next week, next month, next year, etc. When the hell does this motivation thing happen? The reality is that motivation is fleeting. It is a feeling. And because it is feeling, it is unreliable. Feelings change constantly from day to day, hour to hour, even minute to minute. With that being the case, it is unlikely that we will develop healthy long-term habits when the foundation is based on a fleeting feeling, as issues will arise when the motivation disappears. What happens when that feeling is no longer felt? How do we maintain healthy habits when our inspiration or motivation is gone? The answer… Through discipline.
Developing behaviors that are present even when motivation and inspiration have disappeared is imperative. It's easy to become unmotivated if we can't fix something immediately or if we can't have it all at once. We must continue to remind ourselves that reaching our goals takes time. Allow inspiration and motivation to be an extra kick in the pants that we all need from time to time. Let that be the spark, but let’s refrain from allowing it to be our eternal flame. Otherwise, we are destined to burn out. Rather than focusing on grandiose wholesale, life-altering changes, realize that simple modifications can be made to improve our individual health. Possessing the frame of mind of, “win the battle, not the war” or “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” and grasping that incremental changes over time will yield success is essential. Here is a question we can all ponder; “What is a positive impactful incremental change I can make today that I can maintain for the rest of my life?” Whether the answer is simply going for walks, playing outside with the dog, having only one can of soda for the day, intaking more water daily, or doing 10 pushups before and after bed, whatever it is, that is the start of the journey. Doing even just one of those things is the first step in the right direction of the best version of you.
Over time, day by day, these incremental modifications will develop into more pronounced enhancements in our lives. We will see and feel the benefits. Rather than relying on bursts of motivation to fuel our health-charged existence, we will have developed the key ingredient to long-term success… Discipline. Famed American author, Frank Herbert's astute quote of, “Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.” is overwhelming true as it pertains to lifelong adherence to health and fitness. The key to our long-term fitness success is not rooted in extreme motivations, but instead, it is based on enjoying the process, developing habits, and learning how to maintain discipline. So now that we have set the stage… Do tell, what is the next step of your fitness journey?