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.
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:
- Something you are inherently born with, or…
- 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.