Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. ~Jim Rohn
As a health coach I’m always curious about what’s holding people back. When I ask “what keeps you from staying the course when it comes to getting healthy and fit?” the number one answer I get is discipline. You know, “If I had more discipline…” People talk about discipline like it’s something I could swing by Target and pick up. After years of working to get people on track, I found that the truth is, they lack great habits, not willpower or discipline.
Let’s get really clinical right now and define willpower it’s defined as the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to make long term goals
And in all my research, I found that you are not born with a certain amount of willpower. It’s just not even something that’s in our DNA, you know. I believe willpower is a battery. And I believe that it can be this long lasting battery or could go as quickly as your iPhone battery goes, it all depends on you and the situations that you put yourself into.
Willpower is fueled by strong habits and routines, and you know how I feel about habits and routines. If you want to get a little of that fit girl magic, you have to focus on having great habits, because those habits will become routines that build consistency, and that consistency will give you results.
Building great habits, this building great willpower, this building discipline, it’s like building a muscle. People say, “I just don’t have it.” No, you just haven’t built that muscle. You can be as weak as a kitten but over time, you can be as strong as the Hulk with the right guidance.
It’s really easy to burn out that willpower, and how do you do it? And the biggest thing I see over and over and over again is that people take on too much. You want to do everything at once to reach some arbitrary goals. Watching my client fumble through this, I saw that they didn’t really want to define their goals in specific. Listen up, if you don’t you define your goal, you are for sure going to not hit it. The truth is, you’re afraid that your willpower, your discipline isn’t going to cut it. Because somewhere in that space between starting something with that bullish enthusiasm and depending on your willpower battery, that is a pretty hard space to maintain.
Your Past Behavior
So, here’s where I want you to take a look at your past behavior. Whenever you start a thing, have you gone from zero to 60? And how’s that worked out for you? Even if you think so, I want you to know you have not failed. You’ve just found a route that doesn’t work. Life lesson, don’t go that way.
That’s what I want you to think about when you started super-fast. For me when I start super fast, I crash and burn, I burned myself right the FUCK out. And that’s where I want you to be honest with yourself and say, you know, is working out six days a week a long term reality for me? Or am I more likely to hit it three times a week? But if I tell myself, I’m going to do three, and I consistently hit three, do I feel awesome? Or is it when I tell myself it’s going to be seven and I always hit three, I feel like a failure.
I believe in good, better, and best goals.
That’s how I always set my goals. Let’s us working out in this example. I look at my schedule and I’m going to say my good goal is three, better is four, and my best goal is five days. Then, I’m just going to track it I’m going to see where I ended up. And when I have those good, better best, that gives me that wiggle room. Maybe your kid got sick, maybe you got a flat tire, whatever it is you are giving yourself the out, but not in a way that makes me feel like crap. You giving yourself, an okay pass. You’ve only told yourself four days. You missed today. But you and will can go tomorrow.
The other thing about willpower is that you have to have a plan, because without it, that’s when your willpower drains. I said willpower is a battery. So, if I don’t go into the day with a plan, then I just let things happen. Without a plan, my willpower battery starts to drain as I’m trying to make too many decisions. Emotions start to take over and then we look at ourselves in the mirror and say nothing went the way I wanted it to go. Your emotions override everything so you can’t make a rational decision.
If I had a plan, all these emotions can go out the door because I can come back to my plan to get me back on course because the plan is my life raft, my life preserver. The plan is what’s going to keep me going.
Like I said, stuff is going to happen. It always does. And you’re going to try, you’re going to fall, it could be your fault could be someone else’s fault. But let’s stop with the shame and blame all of that the guilt. And give yourself grace and say, you know what shit happens, this is what I’m going to do now. I want you to give yourself that grace, like whoops, that curve just popped out of nowhere.
If you really want to succeed with your newfound discipline
I’ve got three action items for you.
One, find the support you need. Who is going to be that person when your willpower battery starts to fall apart?
Two, I want you to write down what it is that you want to achieve so you know exactly where you want to go.
Finally, post it everywhere so that you can see it over the next 30 to 90 days. Let it be a constant reminder to you as you make your way to your vision.
If you want to know about building up your discipline instead of relying on your willpower, check out the join the Fit Girl Magic Society.
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