The quote above is from an old Nike ad, and I just love it. It’s something I have to remind myself constantly when I try to justify my excuses not to exercise. The truth is, everyone is busy. We all have tight schedules and heavy commitments. There are plenty of people who have more on their plates and less time to spare, but they make their health a priority. Why would I not do the same?
It’s easy to list the hours of work, school, and married life that I need to tend to. It’s difficult to get out there and just do it (isn’t that another Nike ad? I’m on a roll). It takes work. It takes discipline.
Discipline is a huge part of my fitness journey. While others often focus on what helps them to stay motivated, I focus on staying motivated AND disciplined. They have to work together. However, to me, discipline is the more important of the two. Why? Discipline can be learned and practiced. The extent of your discipline can be developed and honed through routine and goal setting.
I also think discipline is more important than motivation because I feel like when all is said and done, discipline will carry me further. If my reasons for eating well are to lower my cholesterol…what will keep me going when my cholesterol level reaches an ideal range? If my reasons for exercising are to lose Xlbs…what happens when I’ve lost them? Sure, sustaining those actions for the long term could also motivate me…but that’s rarely how my mind works. Motivation is short term and fleeting in my world. Motivation also isn’t around all the time. Sometimes, the Xlb weight loss can’t stand up to Ben and Jerry. :) Discipline can.
Discipline helps me to focus on the long-term goals and ignore the short-term pain, laziness, and hard times. Even on the days when I feel tired, (…unmotivated!), or convinced my workout will be no good – I go because that’s my routine and I’ve got a long-term plan.
The picture below is the calendar that is on my fridge at all times. Each time I workout, I note it on the calendar. The different colored star stickers represent strength vs. cardio workouts, as I have weekly goals I like to meet for each.
Discipline to maintain a workout schedule is like any other habit…it has to be built and slowly sustained. Pull out a calendar right now. Make a commitment to yourself to workout this week….to get in the habit…to be disciplined. Even adding one more workout than you do now is putting you on a path toward long-term discipline. You are not too busy for an extra 30-45 minutes this week.
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