Fitness Friday :: Yes, You Do Have a Problem (but it’s not what you think)
You’re no dummy. You know what to do to get healthy.
You know you need to get up early to exercise, but instead, you push the snooze one more time and rush out the door late–again. You know you should nix the junk food and replace it with vegetables, but that banana chocolate chip muffin at the coffee shop is sc-REAM-ing your name. And so is the Wendy’s drive-thru. And the giant bag of nacho cheese Doritos. And don’t EVEN mention the Coke(s). Don’t even!
You often ask yourself, “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I do this? Given the choice between the good thing and the bad thing, why do I always choose the bad thing” It’s not for lack of trying, that’s for sure. You’re an expert in starting a healthy eating and fitness plan. You just never stick with it long enough to see results.
You’ve got a problem. You know it. I know it. We all know it.
What you tell me is, “I’ve got a time problem. If only I had more hours in the day and fewer responsibilities, then I’d go to the gym. Then I’d cook at home. Then I’d eat salad (?) Yeah, maybe when my job eases up or the kids get a little older or the presidential election is over. I just don’t have time. What I need is more time.”
That sounds reasonable. I mean, who would argue with that? You’re busy. I get it. We all need more time, right?
When it’s just you and your banana chocolate chip muffin, you know time has little to do with it. It takes the same amount of time to order a salad as it does a muffin. In the amount of time you tinkered around Pinterest today, you could have laced up your shoes and walked. Your real problem is not time, but a lack of self-discipline. Right?
“The secret to discipline is motivation. When a man is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself.” Alexander Patterson
You don’t have a time problem. You don’t even have a discipline problem. You have a motivation problem. And there is a difference.
The time is the “when.”
The discipline is the “what.”
The motivation is the “why.”
Once you discover your “why,” the “what” and “when” are easy.
I know a young girl named Kailen, 22 years old, who used to babysit my kids. Kailen is facing life-threatening cancer—it’s in her bones and it’s not good. Sunday, I saw her family sitting across the front row of church. Her older sister, who last week had hair past her shoulders, sat there sporting a lovely new hair cut—very short, above her ears.
Kailen’s dad and husband were both shaved completely bald.
Do you think cutting off their hair in support of Kailen and her own chemotherapy-induced hair loss was difficult for them? Do you think they him-hawed about “no time” and “too busy”? Do you think they had to discipline themselves to make an appointment and sit in that salon chair and pay the money to get this done?
I bet they didn’t hesitate for a second. I bet their love for Kailen meant they couldn’t get it done fast enough. I bet they’d do almost anything to support Kailen right now. Take her place in that stupid chemo chair, even. The hair-shaving was nothing.
Their “why” took care of their “what” and their “when.”
It’s hard to discipline yourself to drive the speed limit…until you spot a police officer in the median.
It’s hard to discipline yourself to get that oil change…until you are stranded on the side of the road dialing AAA.
It’s hard to discipline yourself to get up from the lawn chair…until you see your toddler chasing a ball into the street.
It’s hard to discipline yourself to get up early…until you have a flight to catch.
It’s hard to discipline yourself to clean your house…until your mother-in-law announces she is coming for the weekend.
“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.”
— Vince Lombardi
Lack of time is not your struggle.
Lack of discipline is not your struggle.
Given the right circumstances, you could discipline yourself to do almost anything. Find your motivation and you’ve found the key to your schedule and your self-discipline.
Q4U: What’s your “WHY” in fitness? Have you found it yet?
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For other posts I’ve written on motivation:
What’s My Motivation, Part One
What’s My Motivation, Part Two
Linking up with Jill Conyers today
What an awesome post! I never thought about motivation being the “why”- that it’s not discipline that’s the issue. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Laura! I appreciate the positive feedback.
What a great post and something I needed to read today! I know I do good for a week or so then something comes up work kids life and I get distracted and derailed and go back to old easy habits. However I have managed to cut way back on fast foods and have maybe at them twice in the last few months and try to always choose healthy like subway.
Yay, Shelley! Every step in the right direction counts. That’s how you form new, better habits. One small step at a time.
I definitely agree with the fact that it’s not the discipline that is the problem; It is definitely the motivation! And I think that none of us have any excuse not to get motivated! I also like how you say that it takes the same amount of time to order a salad. SO true. This is also true for so many other things!
Sometimes we don’t get motivated until we have some life-threatening moment. I think it’s so important to find our motivation long before that.
Ah… the ever-elusive “why”… Not sure if I’ll ever find it. Definitely a struggle for me. Why can’t I figure out a why good enough to motivate me for more than 5 minutes?
Thanks for the thoughts. Good to ponder.
I loved how you put this: “Once you discover your “why,” the “what” and “when” are easy.” I couldn’t help it, I had to tweet this article out, its a great way to drop the excuse and get motivated!
You are so right. My initial ‘why’ for weight loss was I wanted to skydive and I was over the weight limit. Fifty pounds seemed to melt right off. Ever since, I’ve floundered. I’ve known for a long time that my problem was finding the right impetus to move ahead. I can lose weight for another event in the future, but it will creep back on once the event is over. General things like ‘to be healthy’ are just too nebulous.
Honestly, I’m still searching.
Did someone tell you this morning,”You need to write a post for this girl, Christina…”? Ha! I started a Fitness Friday gig on my blog in the spring to track some progress I was hoping to make before summer hit. I had noticed a trajectory that my thighs were headed on, and it was not going to be an excellent journey. At any rate, I cold-turkey stopped soda and started exercising. After ten days, I was doing the 30 Day Shred and jogging (bouncing? Somewhere between walking and running…). I lost ten pounds in two months, and felt really good (I wasn’t overweight…just starting to get chubby. I knew I didn’t like where it was headed. Family history and all.) Then we left for the summer and ppbbtthhtt. I jogged a little while I was gone, until I stopped. It has been so hard to get back into it, and I started the sodas again. Ugh. It’s like a drug, for real. So. A timely post. A very good word. I just discovered your blog recently (I think it was a very funny comment you left on Big Mama’s blog) and read several posts. I can’t think it’s a coincidence. 🙂 Thank you for the message. I need to re-find my “why.”
Well said Sandy! I have so many things that motivate me and keep me doing what I do [almost] everyday. Accomplishing a goal, a run with Chad, seeing progress…
wow. What a powerful post. Thank you, Sandy.
This was a great post. Helpful not only with fitness but all things you want to do.
I’ve come back to this post several times now. I even emailed it to my mom and my sisters.
Not only does it lift burden of guilt over feeling like a lazy person, it shows me where to focus my mental energies: locating my motivation. I needed this for more than just exercise. Thanks!
Lauren was right. This is a fantastic post! I’m a friend of Lauren L. (the last commenter) and was browsing through some old posts today and saw the link to this one. I’m so glad I read this. I hadn’t thought about the problem NOT being a lack of self-discipline.
I’m going to have to agree with you on the “why” because people make time and discipline themselves for any and everything that’s truly important to them. I believe it’s how we’re “wired” naturally. When we come to Christ our “whys” change but we should have even more motivation to do what is pleasing to Him both physically and spiritually. You’ve definitely said a mouthful in this post. Thanks for sharing!