I will be the first to say that I am not always motivated. Just like you, I don’t always feel like getting in a workout or eating the ten plus meals I prepped on Sunday night. And guess what, that’s OK. I don’t beat myself up about it. I don’t feel guilty about missing a workout or ordering Uber Eats every night for a week straight. I also don’t let that missed session or that bit of indulgence sway me from my true goal: to life a healthy, balanced AF lifestyle.
Before I get into how to feel more motivated or disciplined I need to make sure you understand this one thing: you are allowed to take time off and rest. You are allowed to treat yourself and indulge. As long as you always practice self-love and prioritize your mental & emotional health, you’re doing your job.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about this “lack of motivation” you might be struggling with.
My first piece of homework is simple.
Write down your why.
Why are you wanting to eat healthier? Why are you wanting to workout 3-5 days each week? Why are you aiming to drink more water each day? Why are doing the things you’re doing? Or, better yet, why are you doing the things you want to be doing?
This is probably the most important decision you’ll ever make on your wellness journey. If your reason is built solely around vanity, I hate to say it but you’re not going to go very far. Setting a “why” around wanting a six-pack or a thigh gap is only going to result in you feeling like you’re never going to be happy with the size or shape you thought you wanted.
Instead, your why should be centered around the type of life you want to live.
Do you want to feel good after eating a meal? Do you want to feel well-rested? Do you want to have the energy to do all of the things you love? Do you want to be able to run up the stairs without joint pain or feeling out of breath? These are the things that will keep you grounded and on track towards living a healthier, balanced lifestyle. And as a result of that lifestyle, there’s a good chance you’ll burn off any stubborn fat that’s making you feel uncomfortable, gain muscle to help you feel stronger, be able to digest food properly and have normal bowel movements, get enough water to have glowing skin, feel rested after getting eight hours of sleep and more. Yeah, it’s like magic.
So, write down your way and then you can come back to reading this post. I’ll wait.
Okay, good. Now that you have your way, let’s talk about how to use that WHY to feel more motivation. First secret is all about the difference between discipline and motivation.
I hate to say it but you will probably never feel motivated to hit the gym 100% of the time. I don’t know anyone that feels that way -if you find them, please let me know. Instead, what you’ll find is that your favorite fitness “influencers” or trainers have worked hard to build up their discipline. They’ve figured out their why and they use that to fuel their discipline.
For example: my why is a) to heal my Hashimoto’s symptoms, b) to have better digestion and increased energy, and c) to feel strong mentally and physically. When I don’t want to go to the gym – I ask myself first, am I able to go the gym? If I’m sore or not feeling well, I give myself an extra rest day because resting when you’re not able to give effort is actually better than risking an injury. And then second, if I’m able to workout, I ask myself how skipping this workout might negatively impact my why. Skipping a workout. because I don’t feel like going means I’m one 40 minute session away from getting stronger physically. I also know that movement and fitness is a great way to practice self care and reduce stress which supports my Hashimoto’s goal. Making the decision to go to the gym, even if for 30 minutes, supports my goal of breaking through mental roadblocks which helps to increase my emotional strength.
And that’s how it works. Have these little conversations with yourself whenever you’re feeling like you want to stray from your plan. Remind yourself first that a little balance and rest is OKAY and needed. And then, crosscheck your goals and the why with whatever it is you’re planning to not do. If you can still reach your goals by skipping this one thing once in a while, then take the day off. But if you know that skipping that workout or nutrient-dense meal puts you further away from your why, then compromise with yourself and get in as much as you can.
Other Ways to Build Discpline
No. 1 Schedule it. Make it official. Whether that’s adding meal prep to your calendar, setting an alarm every hour to drink more water, or scheduling your workouts a week in advance, create a routine and structure that supports your why.
No. 2 Grab a partner. Working with your significant other or best friend towards a mutually shared why or goal is a great way to stay disciplined. You can also hire a coach or join a group of women with similar goals. Knowing someone else is going through the trenches with you just does wonders.