The Battle Isn’t Motivation
[Please know I am speaking to myself as well]
Four score and seven minutes ago, I decided it was time to get fitter. Get faster. Get leaner, meaner, and greener (I have even looked up the price of a Prius; 24k if you were wondering). I’m almost 33, coming off a vacation full of burgers, pizza, tacos, and cookies, and I constantly love to take those little breaks and let them fuel my commitment to being better. This journey is about constantly improving, and gaining more motivation. Right? Right??
A bottle of a wine.
The ruby glow of the succulent nectar called my name, and I had a very large glass of some blend of red grapes. (Pictured below is the glass.)
Enter the usual cycle that follows. “Ok. Now we begin! That’s the last one for a while, and we’re gonna workout 1000 hours this week and go to bed at 2pm and wake up at 2am to get ahead of those losers that sleep in past 3.” Blah, blah, blah.
Contrary to my opening statements, I don’t have a motivation problem, I’m actually full of passion and I burn pretty hot. I am motivated to pursue winning the US Am, US Mid-Am, State and City-Am at the same time, while growing a business (soon to be two), online and in-person, raising one (soon to be two) little boys, being a husband to a wife (not soon to be two), maintaining some semblance of a family and recreation lifestyle, having friendships, seemingly being a consultant for the Rice golf team, and also trying to grow as a person spiritually.
I am passionately in pursuit of all of those things, so it’s amazing to me that I constantly fall short of my goals in a repeated and consistent manner. Which brings me to my real point: my downfall is not motivation, it’s discipline.
Discipline is the thing that would keep me off instagram and have me reading a book instead. Discipline is the thing that would take me on a walk rather than chilling on my couch (probably surfing Instagram). Discipline is the thing that helps me eat a vegetable, rather than not. What I need as a person is more discipline. And if you‘ve ever started working out on January 1st and stopped by January 5th, then you also are a person, and probably in need of more discipline.
So. The next major question is: how do we get more discipline, so that it may compound with our motivation and change the world? Or at least ourselves? (Who most likely are our whole world if we’re being honest?)
Practice is the thing that takes us to the next level, and if you’ve ever been an athlete, you know of what I speak. At first, you tried a new skill, or play, and failed. Then you tried again, and failed again. You repeated this ad nauseam until you finally got better.
Same thing here. But, one suggestion I might make is working to shape the environment to make the change simpler. (This concept is from the book Switch by the Heath brothers) The best way I can describe it is to use a real life example.
My wife and I know we want to read before bed. We sleep better, learn more, actually don’t waste as much time on TV and, usually, go to bed earlier, because it‘s easy to watch a movie for two hours but hard to read a book for two. But, our bedroom didn’t have lamps, and it made the room dark and bright at the same time due to the placement of the overhead light. It honestly was just frustrating “light-wise” to read.
So, we bought some lamps, and made the room a little more inviting towards hanging out, thereby shaping the environment to make it more enjoyable to read. We certainly are practicing our discipline to turn the tv off and go read, and sometimes are better and sometimes are worse, but we also worked to make the situation more enjoyable, thereby influencing us towards what our actual goal is. That’s shaping the path, or environment, more towards the goal.
If there’s one bit of advice I have, it’s to understand that, contrary to your first grade teacher’s advice, it’s ok to cheat. Make the path easier. There’s no rule that says the harder you work to gain your discipline the more it’s worth.
Discipline is earned through painstaking practice, but I say let’s also cheat just a little to make the discipline a fraction easier. If there’s any discipline your currently working on, I’d love to hear it and chat about how we can tweak what we’re doing currently to make the desired change that much easier.
This is the way.