One of my most effective strategies for maintaining a disciplined fitness lifestyle is my commitment to showing up. Some days we don’t have time to get a workout in, other days we simply don’t want to. But I have learned through experience that as long as I show up to the “starting line”—whether that’s an actual starting line on the track, or the entrance to the gym, or a room in my house, or simply lacing up my running shoes and putting on some workout clothes—99% of the time I won’t give up once I get there.
The reason this works is because it prevents you from giving up on yourself in advance. It’s easy to show up if you know you’re not committing yourself to anything, if you know that you’re permitting yourself to turn back or walk away as soon as you get to that line. But once you get there, it’s just as easy to convince yourself to do something.
I always tell my clients that even if you only have time for one push-up or one pull-up or one sit-up, do it, because the effect that will have on your mind is nearly equivalent to completing a workout. The mere practice of showing up (even if you do absolutely nothing) fosters positive habit formation and reinforces a sense of accomplishment. The most important thing is being reliable and consistent, not necessarily getting the best workout every time.
This applies mid-workout as well. When you’re tired and you’re considering skipping out on those last few sets, don’t quit in advance! Decide when you get there, when that next set is upon you. Chances are you’ll decide to finish it out, but you won’t be overwhelmed or discouraged by that decision when you’re looking down the line at.
In summary, don’t give up on yourself in advance. At the very least, Show Up every day to whatever it is that you’ve committed yourself to. Even if you’re not able to get anything done, the effect of simply showing up facilitates positive habit formation by fostering consistency and a sense of accomplishment. You may not develop your ideal physique by merely showing up and doing nothing more, but you will develop an ideal mindset, and fitness is simply the result of a disciplined mind.
It’s not about what’s done or what’s left, but what’s next! Show up!