Motivation vs Self Discipline

I saw a meme floating around a few weeks ago saying that motivation is great for starting something new, but for keeping at it for the long-term you need self-discipline.

I went for a run this morning. I really, really didn’t want to. Wasn’t in the mood, was tired from a long day yesterday, a little sore from wearing a constricting corset-like garment most of the day…etc. etc. etc. Didn’t wanna do it. But I fucking did it anyway.

These two statements are, obviously, related. In that I had zero motivation to run today but I did it anyway because I have an abundance of self-discipline. And I really do believe that losing weight is highly reliant on motivation – you won’t even start without some motivation, and motivation can definitely see you through the short-term discomforts of the process – motivation to look good for a reunion, or a wedding, or some other finite event.

But I think I’m qualified to say that it’s not going to keep it off for the long-term. Ten-plus years later, the only thing keeping my weight in (what I consider to be) an acceptable range is the self-discipline to keep doing the things necessary to maintain it, day in and day out.

I used to think self-discipline was something you learned as a child through your upbringing. I thought this because I had a pretty harsh upbringing where I was regularly required (forced) to do things I didn’t want to do, against my will. I did them despite my reluctance because I wasn’t given a choice. So I became accustomed to, and learned to accept, the actions of doing things I didn’t want to do on a regular basis.

But…

I have 3 siblings, and they were raised under the same regime. Are they all self-discipline badasses? No. Some are, and some aren’t. So it can’t be a “failing of your upbringing” if you don’t have self-discipline. And since that’s the case, it leads me to think that self-discipline must be either one of two things:

  1. Something you are inherently born with, or…
  2. Something you can learn as an adult.

But…that means that if it is something you can learn as an adult, you would need motivation to start learning it, and self-discipline to continue learning it. What a conundrum!

So I guess what I’m saying is I don’t know why I ended up with a  huge dose of self-discipline. I know I have it and can rely on it to get me through hard or challenging circumstances, and that the level of self-discipline I’ve had has fluctuated over the course of my life in relation to various goals. I think that it is something that works hand-in-hand with motivation in allowing people to succeed at things they may not have previously thought was possible.

And with getting my ass out on the road for a run.

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Running in the Rain

I went for a run in the rain today. I’d meant to go for a run yesterday afternoon, but I was derailed by a migraine. So I kept my promise to myself and ran today despite the rain, and it was really lovely. It’s not like I care if I get wet – by the time I’ve finished a run I’m soaked in sweat anyway and need a shower, so what does it matter if a little rain water gets on me?

It’s still raining now, and boy do we need it here in Northern California. I hope it’s still raining tomorrow, maybe I’ll run in it again.

I’ve been slowly working my way back to running after a few weeks off due to an injury I sustained on my last business trip to Denver, Colorado. I fainted and bounced my head off a brick wall. That sounds really bad but it’s not quite as bad as it sounds.* It’s worse than ideal though. In any case, I was on a concussion watch and had a lot of headaches for a while there. All clear now, so I’m easing back into running. Rain isn’t going to stop me.

*Apparently it’s not all that uncommon for people visiting from lower elevations to occasionally have some trouble with the thinner air. Add in the constant travel schedule I had in October for some dehydration and just not taking care of myself by ratcheting down my workout at the hotel gym and…well…

Try Self-Love on for Size.

I just finished up about a month of near-constant business travel. I gave myself a pass, in a sense, because I was tired of berating myself for every decision I made. I decided to just do the best I could given the circumstances at hand, then worry about dealing with a gain once I was at home and better able to control my environment.

So yeah, my slacks are a touch snug now. But also? I’m sick of berating myself.

I was looking back through some old pictures recently, and I realized that at every stage of my life I’ve berated myself for the state of my body. I’ve always thought I was too fat or too pudgy or too wide or too whatever. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the fact that on every happy occasion I have pictures of, I can remember also the little voice in my head telling me I should have dropped 10 or 20 pounds. That I am too big and need to work harder, I should be able to get down to a lower weight. And every time, I look at the picture now and I think, “I looked great then, why did I think I was fat? Why did I think I was too big? Why couldn’t I see myself as I was?”

I’m sick of it. I want to turn it off. I want other women to stop saying the same things about their bodies. Not just in front of me, but at all. Stop. Can we all make a pact to just stop judging ourselves? To accept who and how we are and if we need to lose a few, do it, but stop with all the body hate. I want to appreciate myself, and think I look fine RIGHT NOW. Not in hindsight, looking back at a picture 3 years from now.

I am saying this for myself as much as anybody else. No more calling myself a pig or fat or any other negative thing, in my head or out loud. We’re all a work in progress. We’re all doing the best we can.

Honestly I don’t even know how to stop it, it’s like this stupid voice in my head that has its own power source. Time to rewire the brain and turn that off. I am ready to be happy in my skin now. I am going to work to be happy in my skin now. If this is something you struggle with too, join me?