We all have been there – The alarm clock goes off, daylight begins to make its way through our windows, and suddenly we are faced with a choice. Do we jump out of bed and head to the gym (like we promised ourselves the night before), or hit the snooze button and postpone it for another time? The snooze button was once a champion of many battles in my household. In fact, there were many times where I could have been doing something active, but something more important always came along… at least that’s what I convinced myself of. Lack of proper exercise and activity is often blamed on a lack of motivation, but it is my firm belief that lack of discipline is to blame.
To have motivation, means that there is an incentive involved with taking a course of action. The lack of incentive reduces the willingness or desire to complete the action. On the other hand, to have discipline, is to have regulated, regimented and controlled behavior. Incentive plays no role in discipline. With so many people tying their fitness goals to motivation, it is no wonder why so many fail.
In my experience, in order to be successful in prioritizing your health, you must remove the reward or incentive from your focus. Your attention must always be on the experience as you create new habits for yourself. Good health is a lifelong commitment, not a short-term goal that you can achieve and forget about. If you have made the decision that you want to live a healthier life, then you must map out necessary changes in your habits and put together a schedule that reflects that decision. This means selecting a time each day to be active, whether that is going to the gym, taking a fitness class, going for walks, etc. You also must make changes to habits that affect your health such as your dietary and drinking habits.
As someone who works full time, having structure in my schedule is important to me. I start every morning with an activity prior to starting work. Although the activities often change, by allocating the time, I allow myself the flexibility of trying different things. Last year I spent almost every morning doing a fitness class, along with going to the gym 3 days a week. I also like to ride my bike, play tennis, and go for walks. Because this is a part of my life, I don’t feel the need for motivation in order to accomplish them. In fact, if for some reason I miss a day, I feel off! Making changes to your lifestyle is crucial to living a healthier life, and you can only accomplish and maintain this with proper discipline.
I hope you find this post useful, and find a way to use discipline in prioritizing your health. If you are a Palm Springs local, I welcome you to join my fitness classes beginning in February.
Good luck and be well!