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Discipline, Motivation & Overcoming Setbacks on Your Fitness Journey

Discipline and motivation are two distinct but interrelated concepts when it comes to maintaining healthy behaviours. Here's a breakdown of the key differences between them:


  • Discipline refers to the ability to control one's actions, behaviour, and impulses in pursuit of a specific goal or desired outcome.

  • It often involves consistency, self-control, and adhering to a structured plan or routine, even when one may not feel motivated.

  • Discipline is the foundation of forming and maintaining healthy behaviours. It's what keeps you on track when the initial burst of motivation fades.

  • It's a long-term commitment to your goals, and it requires willpower and the ability to make choices based on what is best for your health, regardless of immediate desires or emotions.


  • Motivation is the driving force that initiates and sustains a person's desire to achieve a particular goal or engage in a specific behaviour.

  • It can be intrinsic (internal) or extrinsic (external). Intrinsic motivation comes from within and is based on personal values and interests. Extrinsic motivation is influenced by external factors such as rewards or social pressure.

  • Motivation provides the initial spark that inspires you to take action, set goals, and make positive changes in your life.

  • However, motivation can be fleeting. It tends to fluctuate over time, and people may experience periods of high motivation followed by low motivation.

In the scope of healthy behaviours:

  • Discipline is what keeps you going when your initial motivation wanes. It enables you to stick to your workout routine, maintain a balanced diet, and avoid unhealthy temptations even when you don't feel particularly motivated.

  • Motivation serves as the initial catalyst for adopting healthy behaviours. It can come from various sources, like wanting to improve your health, achieve a specific fitness goal, or enhance your overall well-being.

When someone needs to make disciplined choices, several brain structures and pathways come into play. The prefrontal cortex, a region at the front of the brain, is particularly involved in executive functions, decision-making, and self-control. The brain changes through a process known as neuroplasticity, where it adapts and rewires itself based on new experiences and behaviours. However, making significant behavioural changes can be challenging due to the following difficulties:

  1. Impulse Control: The prefrontal cortex helps control impulses, but it can be overpowered by more primitive brain regions responsible for immediate gratification. This can make it difficult to resist old, less healthy habits.

  2. Habit Formation: The brain is wired to seek efficiency, and when you've established a habit, your brain becomes used to a particular routine. Changing this routine may require conscious effort and time.

  3. Emotional Regulation: The limbic system, which is responsible for emotions, can influence decision-making. Stress, anxiety, and other emotions can affect your ability to make disciplined choices.

Despite these challenges, it's essential to keep trying to change for the better. Remember, the brain is highly adaptable, and with persistence and the right strategies, you can rewire it for healthier behaviours.

Changing for the better is a journey, not a destination. It's a path filled with challenges and obstacles, but it's also a path that can lead to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. When you make disciplined choices, you are rewiring your brain and creating a new, better version of yourself.

Your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain responsible for decision-making and self-control, is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. So, every time you choose a disciplined action over an impulsive one, you're strengthening your willpower and building a better you.

The process of change may be difficult. You may face self-doubt and frustration, but remember that every small victory is a step in the right direction. You have the power to shape your brain and, in turn, your life. Your brain's incredible ability to adapt and change means that even the most ingrained habits can be transformed.

As you embark on this journey, here are three reflection questions to keep you motivated:

  1. What is the most significant positive change I want to make in my life right now?

  2. How will achieving this change improve my overall well-being and happiness?

  3. What small, consistent steps can I take today to move closer to my goal?

Every choice you make is an opportunity to shape your future. Stay committed, stay focused, and keep moving forward. You have the power to create a healthier and happier you. Your brain can make remarkable changes, and your determination will lead you to a brighter tomorrow. Remember I'm here for you if you need a plan, accountability, or support on your journey. Be sure to download all my free recipes and meal plans for inspiration, follow, and book a free session to connect with me :)

-Bridge :)


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