I get asked all the time, "How do you stay motivated with exercise and eating healthy?" Honestly, I am not motivated all the time! I am not some supernatural healthy fitness crazy person. A lot of times I do not want to eat the salad I made for dinner, I much rather have pizza! Most days I would rather cuddle with my fiancé and watch Netflix, not get up on a Saturday to go to the gym. On those days I don't feel motivated, that is where self-discipline kicks in.
Now, I don't want to make it sound that easy. It is not like self-discipline magically kicks in. The ability to control yourself or behave in a particular way without needing anyone else to tell you what to do, is built overtime. Self-discipline is a commitment to yourself that you continuously follow through with, even when it is hard.
So, how do you develop self-discipline? I have 3 steps for you:
1. Have a Clear "Why"
You have a why in everything you do. It is your purpose, your inspiration, and the reason behind what you do on a daily basis.
When figuring out your why, you must be honest with yourself. It must be deep, not surface level. For example, your why is not "I want to be healthier and lose 20 pounds". Your why is "I hate being out of breath when I walk up 4 flights of stairs to my apartment" or "I want to stop wearing cover ups when I go to the beach and feel confident in my swimsuit". When you have a clear and strong why, you can use it for the days you don't feel motivated.
2. Stop With the Excuses
Excuses will destroy your motivation and even your discipline. A lot of time our excuses are even valid, but that are keeping us from our full potential. So eliminating them all together is needed for success.
Always have a plan. We all have an endless to-do list going at all times. If you don’t have a plan for what and when, the excuses take over. You need to have a long term plan and a short term plan. What goal do you want to reach in 1 year, 3 months, 1 week?
Schedule it in. Exercising and meal prep time needs to be treated like an important meeting. You pick the days of the week and what time you with workout, and stick with it! Keep it in your calendar and commit to not being late, just like a work meeting.
3. Be Realistic
We are all extremely busy, it is not just you. Making time for yourself and your health is not easy. It can be tough so you must be realistic with what you can commit to. Don't sign up for a workout program that sounds good and you wish you could do, but in reality you don't have 1-1.5 hours it requires.
Life happens, so you do what you can. If you have a more open day and can spend an hour doing cardio and lift, great! If you have an extremely busy day and only can find 30 minutes to do a bodyweight HITT workout at home, great!
Self-discipline is not easy and one day you magically won't be disciplined the rest of your life. It does not mean you will be perfect. As long as you keep trying your best even when you fall off track and learn from your mistakes to improve, you will continue to build self-discipline. Eventually, discipline will succeed when motivation fails!