“Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.”
People usually reach out to us when their fitness and their goals are looking a bit shaky, we have seen this time and time again and they are simply just stuck in a wheel of “the grind.” We are fed, through social media, how the grind is all we need, that it’s all about that grind. We have seen over the years that, yes grinding is better than sitting on our asses, but after a while grinding just to grind has no direction, no purpose, and it leaves us feeling paralyzed in our current situation, often leaving us feeling stagnant, anxious, or simply just bored. When the reason we are grinding in the first place is to better our current situation.
Couple this paralysis with the fitness & mentality trends displayed on social media and the sum of the two equal a perspective problem. The challenge with reacting to such events is that the external circumstances rarely have anything to do with your specific situation and plan. We are left to rely on continual motivation to fuel our desires. Motivation is a tool that we can use, it is not bad, but when we become dependant on motivation that’s when we get stuck or see marginal gains. We’ve all been there, we watched the latest CrossFit Games documentary, an athletes youtube channel, or an instagram page and we become motivated to get ourselves to the gym for the week, then after 10-14 days our attendance resembles that of the Toronto Maple Leaf 2006-2016 playoff schedule.
We tell ourselves we have a motivation problem and we start the cycle over again. Even if we continually motivate ourselves and we are consistent, this mindset is never sustainable. It is very mentally taxing and can be physically daunting to the point where the stubborn ones might experience what we’ve seen as adrenal fatigue. We can see that adrenal fatigue is an extreme version of overtraining and it does happen, that’s why it’s a good idea to keep track of things like sudden behaviour changes when we are training, as our hormones are drastically effected by physical exertion.
You’re not alone with this motivation problem, it presents itself in many different ways and we have routinely seen athletes of all skill levels struggle with this on some level. From individuals who struggle to get off the couch and haven’t even tapped into the athlete contained within themselves yet, to athletes that are finding that they are training so much and intensely that it’s hard for them to manage the next days session, therefore experiencing symptoms of overtraining and in some cases adrenal fatigue.
Scientifically, this is why we include variance coupled with waves of weightlifting percentages and metcon intensities to ensure that we control for adaptations, but individuals who struggle with this are usually mistaking motivation for discipline. Motivation is like a spark, it’s great for starting a fire within us, motivation charges us up and gives us some short term energy. However, it is terrible for keeping that fire going and burning hot! Hopefully we can develop that spark, seeing motivation turn into habits, then habits into routine, and finally we have discipline.
Habits are just motivations that become automatic responses, that can be good or bad. Think about a habit you have, we are usually triggered (or motivated) toward this habit. Knowing this allows us to control the trigger. We simply attempt to motivate athletes toward turning their goals into habits. The best example is a smoker, smokers are not drawn to pull out a cigarette until they are triggered. It could be that they couple smoking with drinking coffee and that sip of coffee triggers the response to crave a cigarette, or getting in their car to commute home, ect. If we learn the trigger, we can control the response or the trigger itself. When used with good habits like a fitness routine, we already have so much power.
Once our habits are formed, the conscious application and recurrence of our habits form a routine on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. When we put that habit in a schedule we have solidified the routine.
Holding ourselves accountable is discipline, when motivation has started the fire and it becomes burning hot through habits and routine, discipline is keeping that fire going. There are not many things worth doing in life that are “set it and forget it.” Athletes of all levels struggle with discipline in one way or another, the discipline to understand movement and keep learning, the discipline to stick to a certain type of programming and not let our minds get carried away with ‘grass is greener’ thoughts, or the discipline to keep our routines fun and engaging.
Discipline is difficult to implement, the word even has an eye rolling reputation. But becoming truly disciplined is generally a game changer to those who take the time to learn and develop the behaviour.
You can book a call with us here for more information on better steps to becoming disciplined with your training in order to actively pursue your goals.