The past few weeks many people have shared the same lament with me again and again: “I was motivated at the beginning, but I just couldn’t stick to it…” I get calls from friends and clients alike that sound more like confessions than catch-ups. They are feeling slightly guilty, ashamed, or down on themselves for not keeping up their fitness routines.
Sound familiar? Here’s WHY you couldn’t you stay motivated:
Motivation comes from a subtle dance of extrinsic in intrinsic factors. In a “normal” world, the first step to motivation is typically extrinsic. It could be anything from wanting to be fit in time for a special occasion, a specific outfit you want to wear, an upcoming vacation, an athletic competition… and then as you get going and start to see progress happening in your body the motivation starts to become intrinsic. The satisfaction and encouragement of making progress becomes it’s own reward; enough to keep you coming back for more.
Motivation gets you started. Discipline keeps you going.
Motivation gets you started; discipline keeps you going.
We start to prioritize fitness, and it becomes part of our identity. “I’m someone who exercises three times a week.” Before the kids wake up. After dropping the kids off at school. On my way home from work. Before the weekend.
Like a vine climbing up a trellis, we find ways to weave and attach a fitness routine to the structure of our life’s routine. Soon enough a new occasion will come up on the horizon and the motivation cycle renews itself.
Guess what? For the past three months, routine got cancelled. So did your special occasion, school drop-off, and the evening commute. With the trellis gone, it’s no wonder the vine went a bit limp. We lost all our external motivators and the structure to which we were adhering our routines in one fell swoop. Intrinsic discipline can keep you going for a while, but eventually this can fade. If you are coming out of Spring 2020 with your sanity semi-intact, you’re already winning! This past season the goal wasn’t “gains,” it was survival. But now we are on the other side and ready to roll. So stop beating yourself up and decide what comes next!
Here’s the good news: gyms are opening back up, and with it routine and structure. Special occasions are coming back too, I promise.
More good news: everyone’s in the same boat. Everybody feels shy. Everybody feels nervous. Everyone feels like they shoulda / coulda / woulda done more if only… And many people will let that feeling overcome them and keep them at home. But a small few will show up ANYWAY, despite their nerves. And these are the ones who will start to see the results that will kick start a new cycle of motivation and discipline. Only you can decide which camp you’ll be in.
“OK. I’m in. Where do I go from here?”
The first step is to figure out WHY getting fit again matters to you. Is it for your identity, your kids, your self esteem, your spouse? Is it to prove something to yourself?
There’s no wrong answer, but once you have a WHY, you’ll avoid the pitfalls of false starts. You’ll want to get going and stick with it. Knowing your WHY will help you decide between what you want now and what you want most. And that is the secret of discipline. Contact us to figure out your WHY and how to get started.