“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Raymond Chandler
This factor stated above is crucial to beginning any new pursuit, or following your dreams in any endeavor, yet I find it to be a HUGE key in fitness motivation. It’s really difficult to get up off the couch day after day and hit the gym, and run or lift weights. It’s hard to find the motivation to do it when all you may want to do is rest, especially after a hard day’s work. But motivation only takes you so far. Attitude is where you either keep going or quit.
Some of the most important things I’ve learned is that it’s important to actually do what you say you’re going to do, and it’s important to show up for it every day. You have to follow a schedule, or at the very least, keep going to the gym or for a run constantly, even on the days you’d rather sit home and watch TV. However, showing up consistently is only half the battle- you have to show up consistently with good attitude. If you go to the gym, say “I don’t really feel like working out today, so I’ll just do a little,” then that’s what you’ll accomplish. A little. Furthermore, you’ll probably stop halfway through because you already don’t want to be there and you’ll keep talking yourself out of it even further. However, if you go to the gym and you say, “I’m going to complete this workout no matter what it takes,” you will achieve greater results. This is something I’ve experienced personally. One of the days I went to do my workout, I didn’t really feel good to begin with, and I didn’t have a positive mental attitude. I didn’t really want to work out, and I kept thinking of sitting down and resting. That day, I only was able to make it 2 miles, even though I normally ran for 3. However, on the day that I went for my run with an extremely positive mental attitude, I talked myself into running 3 miles in 40 minutes, which was my best time yet. I actually ran almost the whole time too. That was the first time that I’d actually run the whole three miles without stopping to walk.
Furthermore, I believe that continuous effort is the key to succeeding, not only in running, but in any endeavor. You can be a talented, strong and very intelligent person, but no matter how you calculate mathematically, how strong you are, or how talented you are, you won’t be able to get up off the couch one day and just run an entire race without some sort of practice and effort beforehand. It’s easy to expect things to come to us without effort, as I detailed in a previous post. That’s the American belief that life should be easy. But nothing is easy, and nothing worth having ever comes without some sort of hard work and dedication to your goals.
On mornings when I go to work and have to decide whether or not to go to the gym or go for a run after work, I look at some of my favorite quotes which help me get moving and have the right mental attitude to succeed:
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” -Vince Lombardi
“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” -Vince Lombardi
“If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” -Thomas Jefferson
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell