Where Are YOU?
This is a topic I’ve been itching to talk about for a while. It is that intangible factor that you can’t quite quantify. So why is it that YOU achieved your fitness/health goal, but your best friend gave up? Or, why is it that your friend managed to lose 5% body fat but you didn’t budge an inch? Just pause and reflect for a moment. Be honest. Don’t look straight away for the most unlikely reason, because it’s probably much more obvious than that.
Yes, when you tweaked your shoulder, that set you back a little. Oh, and then you had a holiday booked which interrupted your training… And then there was that time that you had to work late. These are all realistic obstacles in our lives, but ask yourself honestly, “ARE THESE ACCEPTABLE REASONS TO FAIL?”
My answer would be a resounding NO. These are obstacles, sure, but YOU have to decide whether you want to use them as an excuse to stop dead in your tracks OR whether you see them as a barrier to climb over. (N.B. There is always time in the day to walk or to do a few pushups or squats. If your shoulder is hurt, you can focus on your legs, and if you are going on holiday then there is a bottomless pit of exercise you can do in your own room!)
What are YOUR Priorities?
A common situation in the fitness world is to see people giving up or failing to achieve their health/fitness goals, and yet smash goals in all other areas of life. They are climbing the career ladder, staying late for meetings, working at weekends to get ahead, staying on top of weekly chores, maintaining a well ordered social life… And managing a minefield of life demands like a pro!!
So what’s the difference between 1) doing these things without fail and 2) turning up to the gym consistently, without fail and smashing your health/fitness goals (please also apply this in your mind to DIET)??
The answer to this is DISCIPLINE. Discipline refers to the ability to follow a code of behaviour or conduct. If you say you lack discipline then I would argue this is not true, given all the other areas of life that you are excelling in. So the difference must be WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO BE DISCIPLINED ABOUT. In other words, what are your priorities in life? What are you choosing to be disciplined about?
If you put getting a big house or having a family at the TOP of your list and being healthy at the BOTTOM of the list, then I will try and appeal to you in a different way. What value do you put on your health? If you want to buy a big house then you probably need to work long and hard… Well, how can you do this if you aren’t healthy? How will your body cope under stress? How will you stay awake all day if you are putting crap food into your body? Will you be healthy enough to keep paying the mortgage for the next 30 years? Will you be able to play footie with your future kids?
I am confident in saying that being strong and healthy should probably be at the top of everyone’s list since without either of those it is less likely you will have the strength or resilience to enjoy the rest of your life goals!
Have a look around you at those who are successful. I’m not talking about being rich and famous, as personally, I don’t care for that. I’m referring to the people who are the best at what they do. The best athletes, the best business people, the best anyone – I guarantee that their success will have been carved out of years of consistent, hard work. You might see them at their best and assume they got lucky, but that’s because you didn’t see them grafting day in and day out, making constant sacrifices along the way, in order to achieve their goal. This is where discipline comes in. You have to be disciplined in order to follow your chosen path. All successful people have discipline! Let that sink in.
I had a chat with a wise man the other day. He told me that discipline is the first step on the path to success. You must have discipline to achieve your goals – you must be able to turn up, on time, when planned, and put the work in. Then repeat like clockwork. This is the initial hard part (but nothing worth having ever came easy!)
After a short time, good discipline will lead to habit formation. And let me clarify for you, this is where we want to be. At this point, you no longer have to talk yourself into doing something. You just do it because it’s what you do!! This is not about seeking a quick change to our body/health – quick changes are “easy-come, easy-go”. This is about building a good habit that will change us for the better forever.
What About Motivation…?
Do we need motivation? Absolutely. Doctoral Research performed by Gro Jordalen looked at the correlation between motivation and discipline in athletes from the early stages to an elite level. What she found was in the short run (5 weeks) the athletes needed to be very disciplined to stay motivated, but in the long run, those who were better motivated found the discipline came much easier. I take this to mean you have to work hard to be disciplined at first, but in the long run, discipline will be much easier as long as you have a strong motivation/desire for your goals. As I said previously – what value do you place on your health and fitness?
One last thought on motivation – external vs internal… External motivation is a motivation that comes from outside. This might mean the music you listen to whilst you engage in an activity, or doing something for money or reward. Internal motivation comes from the satisfaction of your own actions eg. the pleasure you get from your own successes. If you rely on extrinsic motivation, then there is a greater chance that you will burn out – this is because you are likely to show less restraint and will, therefore, become more exhausted. Intrinsic motivation is easier to keep in check and thus will lead to better long-term success.
What this means – motivation is good, but it is much better if it comes from within.
I hope this article has given you food for thought. You may not agree with everything, but if it makes you re-evaluate the importance you place on your training and well-being, then that is good enough for me.
To leave you with a quote from the great David Goggins…
“People always ask me if I listen to music when I train. I don’t because I am always trying to master my own mind. The more time you spend figuring yourself out, the easier it will be for you on your own to do the same job you used to rely on external distractions to get you through.”
Be the 1%,
Author - Craig Peterson - Personal Trainer & Mentor
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