By: Chris Sinclair
We all know that person who seems to be easily disciplined to do something that would seem impossible to us. They’re a musician who practices 2 hours a day, everyday. They are up at 5am and at the gym by 5:30 or off for a 3k run. We admire from afar for a while wondering what their secret sauce is, how they can possibly find the motivation day after day to do something that takes every ounce of motivation we have to get up and do it ONCE! Their answer when we ask “how do you do it?” Is always something like, “I don’t know…..It’s just what I do”.
In James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” he talks about change that happens at three levels, unfortunately most of us change in the wrong order.
When we decide we want to make a change in our lives, to lose weight, get stronger, get more fit we focus on those things, the outcomes first, then we’ll focus on the process of change by developing a routine which will help implement that, we’ll schedule a time to go to the gym, maybe buy a package of personal training sessions. If enough time goes by and we somehow manage to find the motivation to keep going, we may start to identify as someone who goes to the gym and makes fitness a priority. His best example used, and one that we have all seen or maybe had happen to us, is two people resisting a cigarette. The first person, when offered says “ No thanks, I’m trying to quit”. This is a person who still identifies as a smoker, but is hoping a change in behaviour will eventually stick and one day it won’t be so hard to say no. The second person is offered the same cigarette and replies with “No thanks, I’m not a smoker”… This small difference indicates a shift in identity instead of someone operating on sheer will power.
When you make the change to start a new journey in to fitness, whether it be going to the gym, joining a yoga class, or a running group, it is always a step outside your comfort zone. It becomes easier once you feel like you do belong and your comfort zone expands to include your new found lifestyle. The work becomes the reward, rather than the price that has to be paid for what great perceived reward may come…. someday.
Instead of making a change which is outcome based, think of a change that is identity based. Lifting, training, going to the gym is part of your life now! You will WANT to do it, not because you are disciplining yourself hoping for some payoff, but because it’s a part of your identity. When you’re tired, busy or have a ton of stuff going on, well…. make time for the gym anyway, because it’s what you do, it’s who you are. So make it happen and get to the gym, consistently. After all you have a reputation to uphold.