When Motivation Fades, Discipline Steps In

So, you start a new way of eating or you start a new class at the gym, or you start a new walking regime. You go strong for a few weeks and then your enthusiasm wanes. You know that feeling when your motivation fades?

Do you ever say any of these things?

“I just don’t feel like doing it today.”

“I think I’ll just sit on the couch and rest today.”.

“I deserve a cheat day.”

“I’m tired. I’ll do it tomorrow.”

“I’ll get back on my way of eating after the weekend.”

“This one time won’t hurt.”

“I’m just not motivated now.”

I know I have said these things and sometimes I let these thoughts prevent me from doing what I’ve promised myself I’m going to do.

How do we get around this way of thinking?

I think we forget about motivation and instead think of discipline. If you make something a part of your life, you don’t really think about if you feel like it. You do it, even when you’re tired or bored or distracted by a new TV show. It’s why we brush our teeth at night, even when we’re exhausted and just want to go to bed.

When that first burst of enthusiasm comes, you decide, “oh yes, this is what I’m going to do.” and you’re convinced you’ll always want to do this. The trick, I think, at that point, is to work hard to make the new thing a habit. It becomes a part of what you do. So, every Monday, you go to yoga, or every Saturday, you take that boot camp class. Or, every day you get your 10,000 steps minimum. You do this consistently until you no longer question whether you do it, you just do it because that’s what you do. There’s no thinking about it.

Motivation Fades

I know when I quit attending my Saturday morning class at the gym, it became difficult to return. I finally returned because I realized that if I didn’t resume attending, the odds were good, I’d never go back. I’m working hard now on making Saturday morning my time at the gym again.

The same kind of thinking applies to food. If you decide you’re giving up soft drinks, you have to say “I don’t drink that,” and that has to become part of your way of thinking. If you say, “I can’t have that right now,” it’s easy to fall back into cracking open a can of soda.

I know this is harder than I’m making it sound but I do think it’s important to have a plan for when motivation fades. I think it’s like making a relationship last. You have that first flush of attraction and you can’t get enough of the person and then the novelty wears off. You either move on to the next crush or you start to make the relationship work for the long term.

Anyone have any thoughts on this and what to do about it? We definitely want to make our changes last for the long term.

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