Sport is as much about the mind as it is about the body. Self-discipline significantly influences your athletic performance, determining the rate of your progress. Goal-setting and embracing physical exercise with both its pleasant and unpleasant parts are excellent approaches enabling you to boost motivation and commitment.
What makes sport a complex experience which develops not only your body, but also you as a person, is the psychological dimension encompassing numerous mental processes such as the ability to deal with success and failure, determination, competitiveness, rivalry, decision making and finally, but perhaps most importantly, self-discipline.
For amateurs and professional sportsmen and women alike, this trait is a vital component of performance. Although the athletic challenges the two groups are confronted with differ, psychological obstacles such as distractions, temptations and a lack of motivation intervene in the same way for both experienced sportspersons and occasional gym-goers, highlighting the inescapable traits of the human nature. In both cases, it is the individual’s capacity to tackle them that determines the efficiency of exercise.
Although, like any other mental skill, self-discipline heavily relies on one’s personality, upbringing and experiences, thus making it extremely difficult for any strategies of educating oneself in this sense to prove efficient in the long run, the following tips could help you stay motivated and maximise your results.
1. Learn to love sport with all its ‘flaws’
In sport, just like in life, there is no such thing as cherry-picking when you hope to achieve something.
There are no shortcuts on the way to your goal. The talents you were born with will not grant you direct access to the top. However, there is a high likelihood that hard work in the form of training will, which means that there is no way around the sweat, the exhaustion and the sore muscles. Faced with this situation, there is no better approach to accepting the inevitable than trying to take pleasure in the downsides of exercise.
Learn to appreciate pushing your body to the limits, feel the excitement of reaching the edge of your physical ability and the satisfaction of resisting under such circumstances. This will offer you self-confidence, keep alive your passion for movement and allow you to view the unpleasant side of sport in a totally new light, thus chasing away any pre-workout thoughts of repulsion or feelings of hesitation. Try to take every moment of your training one step at a time, enjoying and admiring the way in which your body obediently responds to your requests.