Motivation. We’ve all been there – Sunday afternoon spent reading fitness magazines and staring at fit people on Tumblr and Instagram and thinking to ourselves, “tomorrow I’m going to go to the gym and start getting fit!”. This fleeting, inspiring surge of motivation usually comes from a deep down desire of wanting to improve ourselves but not having the willpower or means to do so. But every so often after a weekend of excessive drinking or eating (or both) and an afternoon spent in bed with the blinds closed and binge watching episodes on Netflix, it comes. But surprise surprise, motivation isn’t enough.
Motivation is the feeling you get after reading some inspiring story of how a person lost half their body weight but could never run a kilometer in their life before going to the gym. Motivation is the “fuck yeah” feeling you get after seeing someone running on the footpath in their decked out fitness gear as you drive by on the way to a lunch meeting. Motivation can come in the form of pictures on the internet that use quotes placed on sunsets, beaches and mountains. Not that they’re bad or anything, and sure they probably help ignite something within you, but you need to keep that flame burning.
“I could do that,” you think to yourself. The point is, you can do that, but motivation isn’t going to get you anywhere, and you need to realise that before embarking on a journey of self-improvement or large projects. The problem with failure, and I failed so many times in my attempt to lose weight and change my lifestyle to that of someone who is healthy, is that you can encounter it every step of the way – motivation won’t help you when you actually need to get out of bed and get your ass into your gym wear, waltz to the gym and stare at steel bars and lift them.
Motivation can only motivate you to do something, it isn’t the process of actually doing it. It’s a feeling, not an action. You can have a goal in mind to motivate you to keep going at what you’re doing, but you still have to do it. So the key to succeeding in whatever goal it is you want to do?
Discipline. Cold, hard, six o’clock in the morning discipline. It’s going to suck, it’s going to hurt, it’s going to tear at you and beat you till you don’t want to do it anymore. But where you transition from feeling motivated and feeling disciplined is breaking through the barrier of failure.
Establish a routine, and fucking stick to it. Habits take around three months to establish, and then they become a part of your routine. Generally this article is referring to weight loss and going to the gym but it can apply pretty to much anything to do with learning a new skill, self-improvement, opening a business or even a large project at work/school/uni.
Discipline yourself and your soon to be fine looking butt to stop making excuses for your inaction. Get rid of them, all of them – excuses suck and they really don’t help you. And really, who are you making excuses for? Yourself? Disconnect your brain while you’re at it to, remove the emotion from the task that you have to do continuously, just do it. Get the hell out of your comfort zone, analyse your thoughts and just do it anyway if your brain says, “well I could run, but it’s raining and I’ll get wet/catch a cold/get hit by a car/trip over/break a leg/step in a puddle.” It’s life, just get out there and do it.
If I have learnt anything from transitioning from being extremely overweight to a relatively healthy person is that I realised that giving it a go wasn’t enough, I had to stick it out and reap the benefits later. In our lives where everything is near-instantaneous, we suddenly freak out if we don’t get something immediately. Weight loss, being able to run a marathon, writing a book and projects aren’t things that happen overnight. Get over the instant gratification phase and stick it the hell out – get the rewards later. Surround yourself with people who support you and can help you along the way, trust me it’ll be worth it.