Spoiler: motivation is not the same thing as discipline. And if I’m being honest, there’s a good chance you’ll lack motivation at some point in your journey – if not several points of your journey. So instead of beating yourself up for not feeling “motivated”, shift your mindset and start working on creating your own version of balanced discipline.
START HERE >> Define Your why
You’ve heard it time and time again: DEFINE YOUR WHY. Honestly, it can start to sound like a bunch of BS when you hear it over and over again. Believe me, I get it. But after my own experience with fitness and motivation and resorting back to old habits and being at my strongest, I’ve learned that there is one constant that drives me – my why.
Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about the vanity why’s. If you want to lose fat or gain muscle, there’s nothing wrong with that. But those goals should be tied to more than just aesthetics/the way you look. Chances are, once those things happen, if they’re not tied to bigger goals like your overall health and wellness, you’ll never feel like you’ve accomplished anything. Believe me, I’ve been there.
I found that writing out my WHY made a huge difference in how I approach my goals and how I stay motivated. It’s a constant reminder that I won’t feel “better” just because I lose a few pounds or start to see abs. The changes I’m making will be longer-term, lifestyle choices because they’re tied to things that I value more than aesthetics.
- I want to be the healthiest version of myself before I get ready to start a family
- I want to increase my endurance and stamina
- I want to get stronger
- I want to get rid of my digestion issues
- I want to have more energy
- I want to embrace my shape and my curves
- I want to inspire and empower others to live a healthier, balanced lifestyle
Now, when I don’t feel like working out or I want to indulge on pasta every day, I look to my why’s and remember that a workout will help me increase my endurance and that swapping pasta with a chickpea pasta alternative will help with my digestion. Those things will also help me achieve my aesthetics goals like a perky booty and baby abs but I’ll feel better knowing that I’m achieving so much more that will have a longer-lasting impact.
Add these 5 Habits Into Your Daily Routine
No matter what your why or your goals are, I strongly encourage everyone reading this post to at least add these five habits into your routine.
NO. 1 START EACH MORNING WITH A CUP OF HOT WATER WITH LEMON
The benefits of starting each day with a hot cup of water with lemon are pretty great but my favorite thing is that it’s probably the easiest habit to start. Not only does this simple concoction provide a great boost of Vitamin C and a natural source of energy, but it supports digestion, hydration and can even support weight loss goals (when paired with other healthy habits).
NO. 2 GET AT LEAST 30 MINUTES OF MOVEMENT EACH DAY.
This could be a workout, a walk, moving your body for 5-minute dance breaks every hour. What this movement looks like is up to YOU. That’s the best part. The goal is that you get used to moving your body and acknowledging how good it feels to just move. Then, when you’re ready to begin a more structured workout plan, your body is used to – and honestly craves a little bit of movement each day.
NO. 3 DRINK AT LEAST HALF OF YOUR BODYWEIGHT IN OUNCES OF WATER EACH DAY
I’ll be the first to admit that this is easier said than done. But it is possible. Take your weight in pounds >> divide by two. That’s the amount of ounces of water you should be drinking each day. For example, I weigh around 160 lbs so I aim to drink at least 80 ounces of water every single day. Starting the day with 8-16 ounces of that hot lemon water is a great way to start chipping away early. I also set my alarm for every hour (between 8am – 6pm) to sip 10 chugs of water and this has seriously helped. I do recommend finishing your last big intake of water around 6/7pm depending on when you go to sleep so you’re not waking up every hour in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Trust.
NO. 4 GIVE YOURSELF A DAILY COMPLIMENT
And no, it cannot be the same one each day. I started doing this with my challenge girls a few months ago and realized just how bad I was at giving myself a compliment. And honestly, I feel confident saying that most women aren’t great at giving ourselves compliments. So, we’re going to change that and work on our mental health. Write it down, say it out loud, send it to me – whatever you decide to do, I want you to work on celebrating yourself every single day. Self-love and a positive body image are crucial to living a healthier lifestyle. If you don’t love who you are, no amount of weight loss or dropped inches will ever make you feel good. Believe me.
NO. 5 AIM TO HAVE AT LEAST TWO MEALS WITH WHOLE, NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS EACH DAY
Okay, so this might be even harder than the water goal. But believe me when I say it works wonders. I like to follow this breakdown for at least two meals every day:
4-6oz protein (lean ground beef, turkey, seafood, protein powder, legumes, etc.)
1 cup starchy carbohydrates (sweet potato, brown rice, chickpea pasta, fruit, etc.)
2-3 cups veggies (any and all veggies!)
1-2 tbsp fat (avocado, olive oil, etc)
Then…Figure Out What Balance Means For You
What that looks like is different for everyone. For some, having serious structure, in the beginning, is the best way to set themselves up for success. For others, too much structure can be detrimental to their progress. Regardless of your goals (to lose weight, to gain muscle, to heal your gut, to support a medical diagnosis, etc.), take a step back and write out a plan. What types of things should you be doing to put yourself one step closer to your goals? Focus on this list of things you CAN do rather than making a list of things you won’t do/things you won’t eat.
Lauren’s Balance Equation: go for a 20-minute walk 5 days/week, workout 5 days/week, eat clean for 80% of meals, drink 1/2 gallon of water daily, get at least 8 hours of sleep, incorporate supplements into my nutrition to balance vitamins I’m not getting through food. Enjoy a snack or a treat when I want one. Don’t feel guilty for indulging. Don’t feel embarrassed to eat my healthy, prepped meals. Don’t let others pressure me or shame me when I want to avoid an extra sweet or margarita.
Once you have this sense of balance, it’s that much easier to make choices and stick to whatever your “plan” is. You can also use this guide to navigate the tricky situations on the weekends or for social events.
Finally, Define Your Version of Discipline
Discipline is a simple concept that is hard AF to follow through with. When it comes to a wellness/fitness perspective, it means sticking to something even when you don’t want to with the hopes of achieving an end goal. Period. Yeah I know, easier said than done. At the end of the day, discipline comes down to you and you alone. It’s empowering and a little scary at the same time but I promise it can be done. Here are a few ways I’ve personally worked on becoming more disciplined when it comes to my WHY and my goals. And don’t forget – being disciplined doesn’t mean that you can’t have balance!
NO. 1 IDENTIFY YOUR INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL MOTIVATORS
When it comes to discipline, there are two types of motivators that play a major role in how we pursue things. The first is through intrinsic motivation. This means that someone is internally motivated because of the joy something brings to them. Someone that is intrinsically motivated might go for a run every morning at 5am because it truly brings them joy. Spoiler, few people are motivated strictly by internal motivators. However, most of us are motivated by the external stuff. When someone is extrinsically motivated, outside factors like a spouse or weight loss or money might keep them motivated
The point of all of that is this: Find out what motivates you. Why do you want to pursue a health journey? Why do you want to go to the gym every day? Why do you want to eat healthier? When starting out, most of us have only external motivators and that is 100% normal and okay. But as you start making habits out of the gym or a better diet, take note of the parts of this new routine that bring you joy and incorporate more of that.
For me, I don’t always love going to the gym but I do love kickboxing classes. I feel like a total badass and every single time I’m in a class, I’m genuinely feeling that joy element. So, if there is a day I don’t feel like going to the gym for a regular workout, I book a kickboxing class instead of cancelling a sweat all together because I know I’ll look forward to it. Same goes for my diet. I don’t eat great all of the time but anyone that knows me knows that pasta brings me SO MUCH joy. Since it would be impossible for me to maintain my progress and feel good on the inside if I ate loaded pasta at every meal, I opt for healthier alternatives that still spark that happy feeling but also align with my health goals.
Your goal should be getting to that point of intrinsic motivation while also identifying a few external motivators that will keep you on track.
NO. 2 CREATE STRUCTURE
This is the thing that helps me most. Structure. I schedule out my workouts in my calendar at the start of every week like I would an important meeting or appointment.
Another great form of structure to help keep you on track is writing out your workouts before you head to the gym or mapping out a menu/meal plan for the week. Every Sunday night, I do both of these things. If I’m doing two spin classes and three gym days, I’ll go to the Notes app on my phone and list out the exercises I’m going to do for Gym Day 1, Gym Day 2 and Gym Day 3. I also write out my meals for the week and try to do as much meal prep on Sunday or Monday as I can so I have no excuses.
For me, having this layer of structure helps to keep me accountable and I avoid that whole “I don’t have time to go to the gym,” or “I don’t know what to do at the gym,” or “I only have time to grab fast food since I didn’t cook last night” thing.
NO. 3 SURROUND YOURSELF WITH A HYPE TEAM
This is probably not a surprise at all but I think it’s a much-needed reminder. I’ve had so many people reach out to me saying that they felt motivated to go the gym after they saw that I struggled to get to the gym that morning but made it.
Take that same concept and apply it to your life. Surround yourself with people that are on the same journey as you. Whether it’s a boyfriend, best friend, family member or fitness account on Instagram, connect and engage with people that motivate and inspire you without stirring up that nasty feeling of comparison or self-doubt/negativity. Seeing someone else’S progress might inspire you to keep going. Hearing about someone having a similar roadblock but overcoming it will totally give you the push you need to power through. Having someone that you can vent to and share war stories with and also celebrate the accomplishments with – that’s what we all need.