What’s the difference between the people who achieve their goals and create lasting change in their lives, and those who start out strong then gradually fade away? Some answers that may spring to mind are motivation, discipline and willpower. Motivation is leaping out of bed on day 1 of a training program and being excited about the workout to come. Willpower and discipline is dragging yourself up on day 29 when you don’t really feel like working out but you know you should.
Having these attributes certainly helps and in fact, are critical elements of any plan. However, relying solely on motivation and willpower to achieve lasting lifestyle changes is risky at best, and will most likely lead to long-term failure. Why? Because these feelings come and go, waning as life gets busier and priorities shift. Certainly, some people inherently have higher levels of motivation, discipline and willpower than others; however, even the most motivated people can succumb to life’s pressures and see their goals slip away.
Looking at elite athletes, it’s not hard to be impressed and inspired by their dedication and the burning sense of purpose that seems to emanate from them. It’s their WHY, their current mission in life, to be the very best they can be. They commit huge hours to training and sacrifice a normal social life because they have an almost obsessive desire to succeed that pushes them through the usual physical or psychological barriers.
What does this mean for us ‘normal’ folk then? How can we create a fitness WHY which pushes us on when our motivation is gone and the willpower is waning?
Take the time to understand why your fitness goals are important to you. Do you ultimately want to be stronger and fitter so you can keep up with your kids? Have you had a health scare or do you have a history of poor health in your family? Are you looking for more clarity, focus and confidence in your life? Any of these reasons can be your WHY, provided you build your plan around them, and ensure they remain the focus of your journey. These reasons may also change over time. When you feel a shift in your focus, take the time to reflect, to think about your new purpose and change course as required.
Start focusing on your WHYs today; create a fitness plan or training program based around these values and you may just find the inspiration you need to make a lasting change.
Editorial contribution from Rebecca Walker