When Steve text me yesterday “About to do cardio unless you want to run some sprints at home”. My first thought was “I need to run”, but my body said “I don’t want to run. It’s late. It’s going to be hot. It’s going to suck”. BUT, I typed “I’ll run with you!” before I could let my emotions change my mind. And, even after writing it I was thinking “OMG I don’t want to do this”.
As a fitness professional, I know people just think we LOVE to exercise. They think we were born with more motivation or energetic genes. The is not the case at ALL, at least for me. While some people truly do like to exercise (I do like it once I’m there – and almost done with my workout), however, it is almost ALWAYS difficult to start. It’s just a decision I made and continue to make. I decide to be healthy and make healthy choices, even when every other part of me so “Nooooo! I want to stay on the couch and eat chips and salsa!”
The Secret to Discipline
This brings me to the point of today’s blog. Success isn’t based on being more motivated than someone else. It isn’t based on genetics or even circumstances. There are plenty of incredibly talented people out there that blow all their potential because they just make poor decisions.
One of Steve’s friends recently asked Steve to pray for him – to pray that he’d have more discipline. Steve said “discipline isn’t something you pray for. It’s a choice.” You choose to be disciplined.
If you are praying for God to give you more discipline, you are basically just asking for God to do all the work. God isn’t going to show up to your house and take you to the gym. That’s on you. He may give you people in your life to encourage you, to help you and to support your efforts, but if you want things to change, you have to start making better decisions.
Let’s look at what being disciplined really means.
• obeying the rules
• controlled, restrained or managed or kept within certain bounds
• trained, shaped or conditioned or disciplined by training
• trained mentally or physically by instruction or exercise
To refuse to be disciplined is to refuse change. There is a purpose. In each of the definitions, you see there is a benefit to being disciplined – “to improve skill, obey rules (the opposite of that is being rebellious), keep within certain bounds (which protects you from harm), to be shaped, trained and conditioned, to improve mentally and physically”. Who wouldn’t want all those things? YET, we often focus on the work, not the reward, so much we avoid the work altogether.
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
Why is that girl you see at the gym more disciplined than others? Because she is more focused on the reward, rather than the current moment. She knows it will be worth it. Does she likely have bad days, hungry days, lazy days, frustrating days? Sure she does – but she keeps showing up anyway and making good decisions.
Think with Your Brain, Not Your Feelings
Where did your bad decisions lead you? How far did they get you? Did they get you the 30lbs you are wearing? Are they responsible for your lack of confidence or fatigue? You can’t just expect to continue to make poor decisions and things start changing for you.
You can’t wait to FEEL more disciplined. You can’t wait to WANT to be more disciplined. You can’t rely on someone else to MAKE you more disciplined. You may say “Well, you are more disciplined than me”, but what you are really saying is “You make better choices than me”. But, that can change. You can start making great choices today.- whether you “wanna” or not.
Literally, NOTHING has to change for you EXCEPT your decision making. Even if you want pizza, you can choose to have grilled chicken. Even if you want to sleep in, you can choose to wake up. You have to divorce your flesh and stop consulting your feelings. It doesn’t matter how you feel or what you want now, how do you want to feel LATER? What do you want LATER? THAT’s what makes your decisions for you.
Before you have a chance to say “No”, you simply say “YES! Yes, I would love to run with you”. “YES, I WILL go to the gym even though I don’t feel like it”. “YES! I will eat better no matter what party I go to or what food is in front of me”.
If you decide now to make better decisions, eventually you will start experiencing the reward and that will help give you the motivation you need to continue your good decision making.