Physical Exercise and the Problem of Self-Discipline

Published: Jun 9, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Girl motivating herself for exercise

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To start exercising regularly, and moreover, to continue an exercise routine, demands a certain amount of self-discipline.

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I will be the first to admit that self-discipline can be a problem. I’m not so disciplined myself and it’s difficult for me to motivate myself to always do the same thing at the same time for the same duration if it’s not a compulsory activity (such as bringing the kids to school or going to your job, etc.).

Nevertheless, self-discipline in relation to physical exercise is certainly not only a problem to me. I’ve seen many people who enthusiastically and determinately start with exercising and then after a few weeks or few months return to their old sedentary lifestyle.

There are several reasons to that. One of the issues is that doing regular physical exercise often doesn’t truly fit in one’s normal daily schedule of mandatory tasks and activities, and subsequently becomes a “forced” thing, something that’s separate from our so-called “real” life. In the long run that increasingly irritates and demotivates and makes us finally stop.

Another issue is that we’re often so mentally overburdened by our work life and other obligations that we are too tired to make that extra (physical) effort and actually just want to rest and relax.

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Essentially, because of our busy lives we don’t have the time to exercise and therefore we need to make time. It would mean that we need to get up an hour earlier or go an hour later to bed to do our exercises, or alternatively skip the couch or pub, or whatever we need to sacrifice. It means that we need to change (part of) our lifestyle and that has proven to be quite difficult for many people.

It doesn’t mean that nobody can do it. There are certainly enough people who have managed to incorporate regular physical exercise in their daily lives, and that’s wonderful, praiseworthy, and a feat.

Yet, for me and for many others it just doesn’t work like that, or perhaps only partly. But not to worry, because I’ve discovered other ways to increase physical activity in our daily lives about which I write in our post Physical Exercise – Establishing a Routine through Integration instead of Separation.

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