I Added This To My Training And It Changed Everything

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[This post was originally featured in City Fit Girls newsletter #162 for the week of October 14, 2019.]

By Takia McClendon

Over the past few weeks, I've been training for a spring half-marathon. Aside from battling the plague last week, this has been the first training cycle I haven't missed a workout. Yes, there have been times when I'd rather scroll Instagram instead of working out and many Saturdays when I didn't feel motivated to get out of bed. However, instead of just relying on motivation, I created better habits to be more disciplined so scrolling never wins (even when I'm lacking motivation).

Is motivation a bad thing? I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for motivational quotes, books, and videos. When I'm feeling uninspired, I can always rely on some TED Talk to motivate me to take action. Problem solved, right? Wrong. After a few days, I feel unmotivated again and I have to watch yet another video to get on track. 

I don't think motivation is bad. In fact, I believe it plays an important role in working towards your goals. However, if you ever find that a lack of motivation gets in your way, it may be time to focus on discipline. Unlike motivation (a feeling that comes and goes), discipline is a skill that takes practice and effort but ultimately leads to better results. It puts YOU in full control of the process.

It's working for me. Here's how it can work for you: Whether your goal is to meal prep, save money, or stick to your training plan, discipline will go further than motivation ever can. It will help you prepare your meals when you feel like ordering out, save money when you want to go shopping, and complete that workout when you'd rather sleep in. 

If you're ready to stop letting a lack of motivation get between you and your goals, here's how you can get started:

  1. Create (and stick to) a plan: You can't just wing it. Write down your plan, process, and how you plan to measure progress. Post it in a place you can review it daily for reminders.

  2. Think about all potential roadblocks...and solutions: There will be challenges. Think about how you will overcome them so that you're prepared ahead of time. 

  3. Crawl before you walk: Start with small changes to develop better habits. If you eat out for lunch every day, start by picking a few days out of the week (maybe Monday - Wednesday) to bring your own food. Eventually, add Thursdays, then Fridays. 

The Takeaway: Motivation isn't bad, it's just unreliable. If you want to train for that race or commit to any new challenge, being disciplined will carry you along even when you don't feel like getting it done. 


Takia McClendon is the co-founder of City Fit Girls. She’s a Certified USA Track & Field Coach who enjoys leading group runs and track workouts in Philadelphia.