This post is inspired by a DM that came in over the weekend.
The reader wrote: “Just wanted to say you look so confident and happy, it’s lovely to see. I know you’ve recently prioritized your health and hope this isn’t an intrusive question, but wondering if you could share how you found your motivation? I’m having trouble prioritizing myself over work right now and I don’t like the way I feel but have appreciated your approach to health. I just want to feel strong and healthy too!”
First of all, please just know that what you see on the internet is not always what is actually happening. Instagram is a highlight reel and I don’t always feel confident and happy. But I think I have some good advice here, so let’s dive in!
On Finding Motivation
It’s much better to focus on being disciplined vs. finding motivation. I wrote this post about discipline back in February (it’s actually my word of 2023!) and stand by everything I said. Being disciplined isn’t sexy or fun but it does get results. I think we live in a society where being disciplined isn’t really praised so we see celebrities and others downplaying how hard they work. But that’s another post for another day. A few of the reader comments really stuck with me.
First of all, there is this idea that being disciplined isn’t this militant thing but more about showing devotion to yourself. I LOVE that! Another reader referenced Jay Alderton’s podcast, where he points out so often we say we need to be motivated to do something. The thing is, motivation means waiting around until you want to do something. The hard truth is that you are not going to always want to do something. Discipline is harder as you do the thing every day regardless of how you are feeling or if you want to do it.
So where do you find that discipline!?!
Here are a few things that have helped me this year.
one // The first thing is with how I talk to myself.
When you start saying things to yourself like, “I don’t miss a workout,” “I don’t really drink during the week,” “I am really disciplined with my time and energy,” “It’s important to me to prioritize my health,” “I always get enough sleep,” etc. they become true. I regularly say these things to myself and it’s made a difference. Conversely, when you say things like “I’m so out of shape, I’m so tired all the time, I feel unhealthy, etc.” that manifests in a different way.
two // Find something you love, make it social.
This one has taken me a bit longer. But I started taking this boot camp class at my gym 4 months ago and I really love it. But I have now made friends in the class. So if I don’t go, there is the text from a friend… “Missed you in class this morning!” That alone keeps me in line! Along the lines of making it social, rather than going for a drink or dinner, why not try taking a class together instead? A girlfriend and I have a Pilates date on Friday and I’m so looking forward to it.
three // IDK about this but it’s worth mentioning. Invest financially.
My gym is expensive; if I don’t go at least 5 times a week I feel like I’m really wasting my money. I feel very differently about my inexpensive Peloton membership which I barely have been using; mostly for travel. Of course not everyone has the means or wants to spend the money on a more expensive gym membership. But investing in that or a personal trainer will definitely help with accountability.
four // Make it easier for your future self.
There was a time during one of my harder workout classes (we were doing mountain climbers with sliders) where the teacher said, “Remember, putting in the work in now means it’s going to be easier next time!” This stuck with me. Now whenever I am lifting, sweating my way through cardio, etc. I remember this. I’m making it easier on my future self. (Speaking of future selves, I’m also making life easier for my future old lady self).
five // Schedule your workouts like meetings.
Every Sunday, I take 15 minutes to make sure I’m all booked into the workouts I want to take that week. I never miss my Tuesday/Thursday boot camp and then I plan my workouts around that. Or I’ll text friends to make exercise dates!
I am being repetititve but the end of the day, it isn’t about motivation, it’s about discipline. Even though I have gotten to a place where I really enjoy my workouts, have friends at the gym, etc, most days I don’t bound out of bed excited to lift weights or jump around for an hour. It’s about digging deep and doing the things that you don’t want to do.
If I were left to my own devices and didn’t have to think about my health, earning a living, etc. I would just lay on the couch, order takeout, and read. If you just wait around for the motivation to find you, you (at least if you are anything like me) probably won’t get very far. But if you make the choice to be disciplined, I promise you: it is so worthwhile! I am only about 4 months into this “journey” but am feeling so much stronger and so much healthier.
I hope this helps! xx