Discipline not Motivation: An Actionable Tip

lauren gravity vault climbing

Discipline not Motivation: An Actionable Tip

Last week, I polled you all on instagram asking what you needed help with. Of all the options, the majority (36% of you) said that you were having trouble staying psyched.

I can honestly say you are not alone. As I write this, I am on day 67 of quarantine training in my apartment. Finding excitement in the nuances of hangboarding and kettlebell training is getting to be difficult, especially when I really want to climb. Motivation is running low, but I am still training.

Honestly, I don’t know if psyche is the answer to our problems, but discpline might be.

If you are having trouble staying motivated, but you know in your heart you want to train and progress, here’s a tip for you: use implementation intentions.

What the F* is an implementation intention?

Glad you asked. I learned about this in Jame’s Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. It is really simple, almost preposterously so.

You write down this sentence, “I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]”.
(a great way to leverage a training notebook).

Too easy not to do.

Does this really work?

Yes. In a review of implementation intentions and action planning, researchers found literature pointing to improved behaviors ranging from physical activity to smoking to sun safety. Clear echos this in his book.

Hundreds of studies have shown that implementation intentions… increase the odds that people will stick with habits like recycling, studying, going to sleep early, and stopping smoking.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

Related: Systems over Goals

Ok, how do I do this?

Great question. Here is my system for leveraging implementation intentions myself.

At the beginning of each week, I write down what my training plan is based on what my work schedule, etc. It looks like this:

Then, the night before I train, I make the tables that I’m going to record my session in and I put the date and the time of day ahead of time (AM or PM). I make sure there are enough details that I don’t have to think – I can just do.

I love graph paper notebooks because they make the tables easier to build.

Is this a 100% guarantee to get me to train every time?

Obviously this is not a magic pill for discipline. I will say; however, that I have been doing this since the start of quarantine. To date I have “missed” only two sessions that I planned to do – and I made them up the next day.

If your psyche is low and you can’t seem to stick to anything, I highly recommend trying this out and seeing if it helps.

Found this useful? Did you try it out? Leave a comment or shoot me an email at lauren@senderellastory.com, I would be thrilled to hear from you.

Resources

Implementation Intention and Action Planning Interventions in Health Care

Atomic Habits by James Clear

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