The key to success in anything is self-discipline and hard work. Below are six ways to improve discipline. These methods apply to training, but can also be transferred into all aspects of your life.
A fitness journey is equal parts mind and body. Self-discipline significantly influences athletic performance, determining the rate of progress. Goal-setting and embracing physical exercise with its pleasant and more challenging aspects are excellent approaches, which boosts motivation and commitment.
A fitness journey is a complex experience. The body of course is developed, but what is not often considered are the psychological benefits. The ability to manage success and failure, develop determination, foster positive competitiveness, make decisions, and finally – and possibly most importantly – boost self-discipline.
Whether an everyday gym user, part-time exerciser, or professional, psychological obstacles such as distractions, temptations and a lack of motivation intervene in the same way, highlighting the inescapable traits of human nature. The individual can tackle them that determine the efficiency of exercise.
Like any other mental skill, self-discipline relies on several different factors including one’s personality, upbringing, and experiences. The following tips could help you stay motivated and maximise your results.
Like with anything in life, there is no cherry-picking to get to where we want to be. This is the same with our fitness journey. We need to be able to embrace what we don’t want to do and accept that it is part of the process to reach the goal.
To be successful, we can’t rely on shortcuts and miracle cures. Being born with certain talents and physical attributes are nothing without hard work in the form of training. Michael Phelps wasn’t born an Olympic champion. He still had to put in the hours of work to get to the top. Therefore, it is more advantageous to accept the inevitable hard work that is needed to reach your goals and embrace them, finding the positives of the situation rather than the downsides.
There can be a huge amount of satisfaction gained by pushing your body to the limits, finding the edges of your physical ability, and overcoming certain challenges and hurdles on your path. This in turn will increase your self-confidence, make you more passionate about your fitness journey, and see both fitness and yourself in a new light. This is why it is important to take this journey one step at a time and be mindful of how your body changes over time.
When partaking in anything over a significant amount of time such as exercise, having some form of recognition of achievements over time can be a motivating and rewarding experience that will increase engagement. This will also allow you to feel the satisfaction of having accomplished something, increasing enthusiasm and self-confidence and thus enhancing the self-discipline to keep going.
By setting specific goals, tracking and achieving them, you will create a disciplined approach to your exercise. To do this, use the “SMART” goals method. This method helps break down a goal into narrowed components to better understand and work towards how you are going to achieve it. A good rule of thumb is to ask, “How much of what by when, and how will I know I’ve achieved it?”
S – Specific
The goal has to be specific, detailed, and focused. What do you want to achieve? What steps will contribute most to achieving that goal? Why is it important to you? What resources will you need? It cannot just be open-ended like “I want to lose weight”. How much weight do you want to lose? Is it weight or your size? How are you going to achieve your goals? This will be how you go about getting your desired result. How often will you train? What will your training look like? Be specific.
M – Measurable, Meaningful, Motivating
How are you going to measure your progress? By how much will you improve or change? What criteria will you use to evaluate the goal’s completion or achievement? If you are just guessing then you will never know if you reached the goal. Try instead to have specific measurements in place. Let’s say you want to gain muscle size in your arms rather than saying I want big arms. Put down a specific amount as a goal. For example, 4cm to be gained on my biceps and I will use a tape measure at the same location.
A – Achievable, Attainable
When setting goals, you need to find the sweet spot between having a goal set too high and too low. If it is too high, it won’t be achievable and it will make you discouraged and demotivated. If it is too low, it will be too easy and routine. Make it high enough that it challenges you, but not too much that it is too difficult. You may want to start with small, quick wins to see success. If you have to adjust after you get started, feel free to do so. It takes time to get it right and to make it challenging. It is up to you to get there.
R – Relevant, Realistic
Let’s be honest we have all set lofty goals that were never going to happen. It’s nice to dream but when we want actionable strategies we need to have realistic goals. Using data or talking to a professional can provide guidance. Saying you want to lose 20kg in 4 weeks will only serve to demotivate you.
T – Time-based
What is your deadline? What can you do today? This week? This month? When it comes to goals we need to have a deadline in place to help keep us on track. Set goals that represent the above qualities and fit your desires.
Using these we can start to develop our plans which go a long way in keeping us motivated. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
An approach providing practical help in implementing the previously described recommendation is having a visual reminder of what you have planned to achieve in a given period. After you have carefully determined your goal, write it down on a piece of paper, a post-it note, electronic tracking, or in your agenda so that it becomes one of your to-do tasks. Using tools such as the app “Notion” is a great way to keep on top of things!
The more visible it is, the more you will perceive it as an obligation, which will in turn make you more disciplined in your training.
Two reasons speak in favour of training with a partner. First of all, this approach will activate your competitive side, thus significantly improving self-discipline and your commitment to your goals.
Take advantage of the social side of fitness and seek out people who have a level of ability similar to yours. We are better when we work together towards a common goal rather than apart.
If possible, bringing someone along to training (or do together online) is particularly efficient as a motivational tool. A friend’s enthusiasm on a day when you are feeling lazy could prevent you from underperforming or skipping your workout altogether. That’s why community is such an important part of the Adapt To Perform lifestyle!
Daydreaming may be an excellent procrastination method, but in this case, it could also have a positive effect. Whenever you feel disappointment, boredom or laziness, just picture yourself finishing your workout. Think about the well-deserved rest you will have gained by the end of the training session and about the satisfaction, you will feel after finally achieving your goal. Then get up and work towards accomplishing just that, for real. Visualization is a powerful tool to motivate you to succeed!
There is nothing more valuable than investing in yourself. What better motivator is there but the money you have invested in your training? Be aware of how much is lost if you skip your workouts or exercise without making any progress. Make the most out of your investment toward your performance, health and overall wellbeing. The cost of medical care may also decrease knowing that you are healthier. Generally, the odds go down in developing chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes), and in some cases, may even eliminate them.
Self-discipline cannot be trained. There is no magic formula turning you into a more committed person in the long run. However, consistently following the tips presented here will help you stay aware of your goals, stay focused, and maintain enthusiasm. This will inevitably lead to improved athletic performance, better overall health, and more satisfaction coming from this significant part of your life.