Posted by Michael Evans

Getting up to workout can be tough for many of us! Sometimes the winter cold can freeze us into our beds and replace burpees for Netflix. Other times we get caught up with school or work so we “temporarily” stop our workout routines but end up not getting back to it at all. There are a bunch of excuses we can make to avoid working out; but once we figure out how to motivate ourselves despite feelings of laziness, we can finally create progress and develop discipline that withstands unhelpful thoughts.

Although you may intend to get fit, you won’t achieve it unless you make concrete decisions and act on it. One of my favourite taglines is “Just Do It” by Nike. This phrase helped me a lot during my younger years because though I aspired to stay fit, I preferred sleeping over running. Thus I’d tell myself, “Just do it!” and mechanically move my legs off the bed (even if I didn’t want to) because I understood that the only way I would actually exercise was if I did it. Thus the first principle for motivation is this: 

DIRECTION, NOT INTENTION, DETERMINES YOUR DESTINATION

Perhaps you could ask yourself right now: What concrete steps are you doing this week to get to your fitness goal?

Having concrete steps to fitness is good, but having unwavering commitment to perform all those steps is better. You ought to pursue endurance amidst mood swings. Thus, when you commit to following a workout for a set number of days, you ought to be prepared for times when your mood won’t be as good as it should. The second principle is:

OBEDIENCE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EMOTIONS

Let’s face it: you’ll always have differing moods and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be in the mood for exercise when it’s time to do it. There will be days when you’ll feel lazy, tired, angry, or heartbroken—yet these shouldn’t waver you from your commitment to improve your health. One thing I learned in life is: once you obey whatever it is you have to do, the emotions follow. The great thing about this is that the emotions that follow after obedience is humbling and positive—for once you realize that you did something you initially thought you couldn’t, you uncover the weakness of your character and surrender it for great pruning and discipline.

Discipline isn’t fun—it’s painful! But the greatest athletes went through great lengths to get to where they are now. There’s no shortcut or “easy-way” to great health and fitness. There is, however, sweat, dedication, and renewing of minds for those who are serious about reaching their goals. 

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