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How To Reach Your Goals for Fitness (or Anything Else)
Alright, guys, it’s almost beach season, so you might be looking to drop a few pounds before you embarrass your wife and children in public when you take your take your shirt off. Maybe that’s enough motivation for you to finally start exercising again, maybe go on some walks or lift some weights, maybe cut back on the soda and fast food. Might as well take advantage while you’ve got it. But here’s your fresh reminder of a simple truth: discipline beats motivation. Every time.
Motivation is great at the start. It helps you get going. Wanting to look better or be healthier before your hit the beach or before you get married or go on a date or start a new job might be the reason you need to make a change. You might even reach the goal. But once the event passes, once the weather gets colder, once the honeymoon is over, once the job has gotten hectic, the motivation fades away, and you are also certain to revert back to your old habits. Life gets hard, you’re too busy and tired to work out, your stomach starts growling, the fridge keeps calling to you. You’ll probably end up heavier than when you started.
If you want lasting changes, motivation won’t do it. You need discipline. You need to build habits that slowly shape you into the person you want to be. Set a schedule and stick to it whether you feel like it or not. Go to the gym every weekday, or every other day, or twice a week, but don’t miss a day. Walk every morning, preferably at the same time. Treat yourself to fast food just once a week. Enjoy a beer after work, if it makes you happy, but stop at one. No exceptions. The first week is tough, but it gets easier over time. Soon you won’t even think about it. Do it for a month, and you will see results. Do it for a year, and it will change your life.
This is true of everything, by the way. I write every day. Some days I’m excited and focused and write a whole chapter or essay. Some days I’m tired or distracted or blocked and hardly manage a few sentences. But I do something. Because if I don’t write, how can I call myself a writer? At times in my life, the bad days far outnumbered the good days. If I quit writing whenever I had a bad day, I’d never have made it to the good ones. I’d never had found all the good days that started out as bad. I’d never have finished my books, I’d never have kept up with the blog. And then I wouldn’t be a writer. I’d just be another guy who kinda wanted to writing something, someday
Whether you want to lose weight this summer, write a book, finish that home project you’ve been wanting to do, get your finances in order, be a better dad, or just spend more time with your wife and kids, don’t wait for the motivation to strike. It probably won’t. That’s why you never did it before. Start taking small steps toward it now, build a habit, strengthen your discipline, and become the person you want to be.