How to Develop Discipline in Fitness
Setting goals, that’s easy. Forming a plan? Anyone can do that. Heck, even getting started on those goals is easy and even fun! But, that feeling doesn’t last long, does it?
We develop elaborate plans for self-betterment, envision where we want to be and feel an initial sense of excitement and motivation to go out and crush those goals. Unfortunately, that excitement is often short-lived.
Why is it that the fitness gurus who inspire us have such a deep level of motivation, and yet people can’t make it past two weeks of healthy meals and consistent workouts? Is it laziness? Is it a case of not being fit for the “fit life?”
No, you are not lazy, nor are you are incapable. It all comes down to one thing: the art of discipline. It’s an art because it takes time and practice to master. But, with the right tools, you can be on your way to crushing your goals like a pro.
What is Discipline?
Discipline can be applied to someone else, such as parents disciplining their children. Or, discipline can be applied to the self, which is what we’re discussing in this article: self-discipline.
Self-discipline is defined as “the ability to control yourself and to make yourself work hard or behave in a particular way without needing anyone else to tell you what to do.” In other words, self-discipline is a commitment to yourself, and it involves following through on that commitment, even when it’s hard.
Most of us have a million things we’d rather be doing than waking up at 5 am every morning to work out (most of those things include curling back up into a cozy bed). However, there are those who will set the alarm, get up and get it done. When you make a commitment to yourself and follow through, that’s discipline.
Discipline Vs. Motivation
People often think of discipline and motivation as interchangeable, but in fact, they are very different.
We’ve already defined discipline, so let’s talk about motivation. Motivation has two parts to it. The first is a feeling. Motivation is a feeling or desire to do something. When you’re scrolling through Instagram, and you see a fitness influencer with the body of your dreams, you might feel a sudden inspiration or willingness to go workout. You may get the same feeling from reading motivational fitness quotes or listening to powerful motivational speeches.
The second part of motivation includes your why or the reasons behind why you’ve set your personal goals. For example, you may be doing Boom sessions at Gloveworx because your why is to improve your physique, your strength and your overall fitness. Or, you might partake in the Gloveworx Lightning Sessions, because you’re on a time crunch and want the best workout possible despite your schedule limitations.
Discipline, on the other hand, is action. It’s not just feeling motivated or remembering your why, it’s getting out there and doing it. Motivation is fleeting. It may be high one second and drop the next. Your circumstances may heighten your motivation (e.g., a sunny day with the birds chirping) or it may decrease your motivation (e.g., a cold rainy day with lots of things on your to-do list). Discipline is putting on those gloves and hitting the bags, with or without the motivation.
3 Simple Steps to Build Self-Discipline in Fitness
So, how do they do it? Those fitness pros who seem to get up and get it done, no matter what? How can you learn to stick to it, even during periods of low motivation? Here are three steps you can take to build your self-discipline.
1. Master Your Why
We discussed that your why, or your reasoning behind the goals you set for yourself, is an aspect of motivation. While your motivation will come and go, it’s still a big part of your discipline. Mastering your why will be helpful on those days you’re feeling low. Look back to why you started, and use that to fuel you when you’re not feeling it.
2. Eliminate Excuses
Excuses are the enemy of discipline. While many times they are valid, they get in the way of us truly reaching our best potential. To stick to our goals, we want to eliminate as many excuses as possible. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Get an early start to your day. If you’re like most of the world and your to-do list is infinitely long, get started early. Whether you want to spend the wee morning hours hitting the heavy bags at Gloveworx or working on other “to-dos,” those extra few hours in your day will make a huge difference.
- Plan, plan and plan. They say failing to plan is planning to fail. If you don’t have an idea of what to do and when to do it, the excuses will spread like wildfire, and you’ll find no way out of them. Have a plan A, have a plan B and commit to your goal.
- Schedule it in. Think of your training as an important meeting. Know ahead of time what you will do and when you will do it. Write it in your planner. Don’t let anything get in the way of that very important meeting.
3. Be Realistic
We are all incredibly busy. There’s so much going on in life, it can be tough to make room for yourself, even for your health. That’s why it’s imperative to be realistic with the time you have to dedicate to your training.
Make room for life to happen, and be realistic about what you can do. If you have an open schedule and you want to spend one hour in the studio, that’s great! However, if you’re super busy with life, train according to what you can handle, even if that means fitting a quick workout into your lunch break, like the Gloveworx Lightning session (35 minutes y’all)!
Self-discipline does not come all at once, and it doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Know that one, it will take time for you to build solid discipline, and two, falling off track is not the end of the world. Self-discipline means embracing a growth mindset; allowing for mistakes yet learning from them and taking the time to improve, rather than expecting perfection.