It’s no secret that I haven’t headed out on a ‘training’ run in many, many  months. Honestly, it’s probably been more than a year, even pushing 18 months? I could pretend this is because I’m waiting for some motivation to boot me out the door + onto the trails. Actually, I used to tell myself that a lot.

‘I just need to get motivated!’

‘It took me all morning to get motivated + now I don’t have time to run.’

‘If only I had as much motivation as [insert kickass athlete’s name].’

You better believe I used to throw out every one of those excuses when my running was less than I wanted it to be. Luckily, I’m pretty comfortable with my current dedication to training [or lack there of] + I haven’t even impulsively signed up for any races for a little extra motivation. Volunteering has been a solid filler of that big empty hole my race-less year has left in my heart. Still, there’s no denying that my motivation to move has been lacking.

If I’m being completely honest — I still use ‘lack of motivation’ as an excuse to slack off in a variety of aspects of my life. This issue is not limited to running. When the dishes aren’t getting done, blame the lack of motivation. As writing deadlines approach, blame the lack of motivation. When my life is a mess, blame the lack of motivation.

But it’s not just motivation that I’m lacking. What I really need is a healthy does of discipline. Discipline is what creates habits + habits are what keep us moving toward our goals. Or so I’m told. According the to The Google discipline is ‘the practice of training people to obey a code of rules’. In laymen’s terms [ie: my interpretation] that essentially means that discipline is training yourself to do what needs to be done; over + over. This is how habits [good + bad] are created.

As I’m delving deeper + deeper into the world of contract/freelance work I’m realizing ‘I wasn’t motivated to write’ is not a valid excuse [obviously + yes, I knew this all along, but the truth still hurts!]. I’m motivated as all get out when a mug of caffeine is plopped down in front of me. What I struggle with is getting myself into position to slurp up that caffeine + put my twitchy fingers to work on a keyboard. That’s where discipline comes into play.

Discipline is the process of getting up + getting productive, morning after morning. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been really good at this. While the shortened days have me getting up at 6am instead of 5am, I’m still rising with the sun. More often than not I get a handful of items checked off my mental to-do list before I head out the door to work the ‘real job’. While not every morning is immediately full of bouncy excitement my ‘I hate all things’ grumbling is usually limited to about 5 minutes. Once I get through the mandatory motions of brushing my teeth + dressing myself life is looking better. Usually, I’m nearly bouncing off the wall with motivated inspiration before coffee even touches my lips.

Last week Robb, Maggie + I went climbing at 6am the morning after a late night of trivia playing [+ winning]. While I whined all the way to the climbing gym + my climbing itself sucked [more so due to lack of climbing lately than the early morning hour] I was a ball of energy by the time we left the gym. During the first few hours of work I stayed caffeine free + still managed to giddily take on life while checking all sorts of boxes on my to-do list + doing my job with a far bigger grin than necessary.

Does this mean discipline creates motivation?

I’m not expert, but I think it does. My mind + body know exactly how awesome it feels to get up early + be productive before half the world is awake. Because of this newfound fact [discovered due to discipline] I’ve managed to find motivation to move, write, organize + work. It wasn’t all sunshine + rainbows in the beginning, but my to-do lists are pretty sure it’s well worth it!

Now…I just need to incorporate more running into my ‘take on the world’ morning mentality. Although I’m no longer blaming lack of motivation for my dwindling mileage. Instead, I’m blaming the ice glazed trails + my overall contentment with life, as it is. Welcome to the ebbing flow of running?

Looking for more thoughts on motivation vs discipline? Check out this article on Trail Sisters to see exactly where this mindset came from + how I started seeking out discipline rather than motivation!

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