What do you need to succeed – at anything?
The right environment?
I argue it is all of the above, in a cyclical fashion rather than linear.
The other night I got an amazing question in my Facebook group. You can join too!
“What is the difference between motivation and discipline. How can you find the desire to improve your nutrition and exercise goals? There’s got to be more than just saying, “do it?”
I posted a short answer, and plan on doing a live video in the group later today – but wanted to dabble in the answer here first – in a sort of way to collect my thoughts.
Motivation starts the process. But burns up relatively quickly. It’s like lighter fluid on a grill.
You have to initially be motivated to get started – but this is where most people falter quickly.
Why are you motivated to change? It has to go beyond “I just want to change”. Dig deep, triple deep – why, why why? Once you find your real reason – set that aside for later….
Reminder #1: Your WHY is your why. It’s not dumb.
I have talked with clients before and once we dug deep to find their why, they said “I know, it’s a dumb reason” – false. It is YOUR reason. It’s never dumb.
When motivation is high – you must take the steps to set up your environment for success. Limit the crap in your house, hide the cookies up high, place the fruit out on the island, create a meal schedule/recipe list, etc. – whatever YOU need to do to make your environment as supportive of your goals as possible.
This is called “playing a game you can win” (a line I first heard in “Fatloss Happens on Monday”. This will also influence your habit formation process. You cannot form habits around things that are not present in your environment.
If your goal is fat loss, how long do you think you could hold up if you had 3 cookie jars, 2 and dishes, and a freezer full of ice cream sitting 20 feet away from you every day? You can try to willpower your way through – but eventually, this will burn up too.
Now comes discipline – and to some extent, it is “JUST DO IT” – but obviously it goes much deeper. But this is where you come back to your “why”.
In hard times, challenging times, aka normal times – you have to keep your “why” in mind. Will you be 100% perfect? NO! You cannot expect that either.
How long did it take for you to get to the point in which you wanted to change? 10 years? 20 years?
We need to stop expecting it to change overnight.
Reminder #2: Stop thinking the number on the scale is the only indicator of progress!
If your goal is to lose fat/get healthy, 99% of people are going to just focus on the scale. This is a TERRIBLE idea – your weight will bounce up and down daily, and only piss you off more and more. Track trends, not days – but also, take progress pics, track your strength numbers, track measurements- there are so many other things to focus on!
In the short term – discipline comes down to choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.
We do this with so many other things in life that are an afterthought. I won’t bombard you with my usual analogies but just think about the things you choose to do that maybe are not the things that you want to do, because you know it is for the best now or down the road.
We make these kinds of decisions every single day!
What makes it easier? Go back to that environment you created. It should make things “easier” to stay disciplined about.
And motivation? Well, that burns up – but it can spark back up, and when it does you need to use it like a shot of adrenaline to super change your results. It’s really one big cycle, with each aspect feeding into each other.
Motivation starts it.
The environment you create feeds and nurtures it.
Discipline grows it.
The environment makes it easier to grow.
The first “flower” of success is motivating.
What happens when your “plant of goals” is near dead though?
Look back at your why, your environment and your internal discipline – which one lacked the most. Focus there, and get back to it sooner than later. Again – nobody is perfect, but the sooner you refocus and get after your actions steps toward your goal, the sooner you get back to it!
Reminder #3: Do your action steps even align with your goal?
So many people try so hard at the wrong thing – and it leads them on a long a winding road, that could eventually get them to their goals, but it’s not the most efficient and optimal way…
A few examples I have seen of this are:
Focussing on adding more exercise to lose fat. This ultimately will lead to burn out, an unsustainable habit, injury, and likely a body that you don’t actually desire. Exercise is super important in the puzzle of health and fitness – but for fat loss, it is your nutrition that you want. Exercise modality is what gives you the “shape” you want.
That’s why resistance or strength training is still the number one recommended form of exercise for those with health, aesthetic, and functional goals – it literally is the catch-all for everything that most people want!
Focusing on undereating to lose fat. You can only starve yourself skinny for so long. This is a serious issue and might need to be taken up with a more specialized medical professional. Continuous under-eating can wreak havoc on your body. You need to make sure you are eating enough for your goals, and the body that you want. Ladies, want a bigger booty? You are going to have to eat MORE to grow – and it won’t happen overnight either. Guys, want bigger arms? You need to stop following the latest magazine tone up diet plan then and frickin eat!
Focussing on isolation movements to build muscle/tone. Curls, raises, leg extensions, etc. These are isolations movements. They work across one joint and train one muscle. Compound movements are what you want for at least 80% of your workout. Squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls…the biggies that hit multiple joints and multiple muscles, and you can really load up (relative to abilities of course) your muscles.
Turning strength training into cardio. Doing 4 lifts in a circuit, for 1 minute at a time, with ugly form is NOT strength training – it’s a nasty looking sweat circuit. If you want to do cardio, do cardio. Don’t try to do everything at once. Strength training involves challenging your muscles to grow, which needs challenging weight/resistance, which requires rest periods, which require patience and a desire to improve your skill of lifting weights. Squat 5 reps. Rest 1 minute. Add weight to the bar. Squat 5 reps. Rest one minute. Add weight to the bar. Squat 5 reps. Rest one minute. Add weight to the bar. Squat 5 reps. Rest one minute….you get it.
Focussing on the result goal – not the process goal. Keep staring at the scale, and getting mad. How will that help your goals? It won’t. The “result goa”l might be to fit into that swimsuit – but the process goals are where you need to focus your energy on.
Assess your process goals. Go back to your environment. Go back to you why. Assess and reassess.
Lastly, nothing is EVER linear. Remember that. Seriously. As much as you and I both want things to be linear, it won’t be.
If you want the truth, someone to be honest with you, and help you create the most direct path to your goals, click the link below, and let’s chat!
Until next time, stay healthy my friends,
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Stay healthy my friends,