By: Nutritionist Keith Klein IV CN CCN
Relapse Prevention: Finding long term motivation
In “The Art of Discipline,” nutritionist Keith Klein explores the paradox of happiness versus misery in pursuing discipline. He argues that discipline is about doing what is good for you even when you don’t want to and that creating good habits through repetition is critical to achieving long-term success and avoiding misery. Klein also discusses the role of pain in motivating change and how successful people focus on the outcome of their work rather than the effort required. Through relatable examples and practical advice, Klein provides insights into the power of discipline for achieving personal growth and fulfillment.
There’s a huge paradox between what we think makes us happy and that which makes us miserable. In other words, what we believe makes us miserable will often make us happy and vice versa, what we think makes us happy can often make us miserable. And that paradox is also found within the state of discipline. For example, before bed, you tell yourself that you will go to the gym in the morning. But when the alarm goes off, your bed feels warm and cozy, and you decide to hit the snooze button because you think sleeping in will make you feel better. Next, when the snooze alarm goes off, you inwardly think, “I can always go to the gym after work.” So you go back to sleep and don’t make it to the gym that day. But later, after you’ve been awake for awhile you start feeling bad about sleeping in and missing your workout. You see, the very thing you thought would make you feel good or happy, staying in bed and sleeping in, just made you feel miserable? The opposite of what you thought you’d feel has just occurred.
Now consider this, once again, you tell yourself you’ll go to the gym when you wake up. The alarm goes off, and you don’t feel like going, you feel like sleeping in. Regardless, you get out of bed and go anyway. Later that day, you feel good about yourself and your actions of going to the gym. And you realize that the very thing you thought would make you miserable, getting out of bed, just made you feel great. Once again, “doing what’s good for you even when you don’t want to ” makes you feel empowered and good about yourself. When you repeatedly do good behaviors like that, habit and routine become a regular part of you where you no longer have to think about going to the gym; you just do it. This applies to everything, including meal prep, cooking, shopping etc. How often have you resisted cooking only to discover that you feel good after your meals are prepped because it’s so much easier to stay on track all week? So when we first think about the work it takes to shop, cook and prepare those foods, we think it’s a pain in the ass. But if we actually go through with it, and cook and prepare our foods, we discover it wasn’t a pain in the ass, but rather it was helpful and beneficial. So what exists is the paradox between what we think and what action brings to us, right?
What prompts us to start a program of change usually comes from the pain we feel when we don’t like something about ourselves or our situation. So when we feel fat or don’t fit in our clothes anymore, it’s that very discomfort that will trigger us to make changes. It’s painful when we wear a bathing suit and don’t like how we look in it. Pain is a strong driver to motivate change. The unfortunate side of that pain is that it isn’t very long-lasting if it is based on our looks. After all, once you diet and lose some of your weight, your clothes will fit better and the pain will subside. And if the pain gets reduced, so does our motivation. This is one of the reasons people relapse. If the pain is significant and it hurts you deeply enough, it feels more personal, and you won’t have any desire to go there again, so the motivation will last longer and be greater. While pain can be a great motivator to get you started, it isn’t what keeps you motivated for the long term. On the other hand, the discipline you create from that pain is the thing that keeps you motivated for the long term especially when you focus on the outcome and not the work.
Focusing solely on the work it takes to change can be demotivating because it requires effort and commitment to achieve the desired outcome, which can seem daunting and overwhelming. This can lead to feelings of frustration, boredom, and a lack of motivation to continue with the change. On the other hand, focusing on the outcome that we want to achieve is more motivating because it gives us a clear goal to work towards. When we can visualize the end result and see the benefits of the change, it can inspire us to take action and work towards that outcome. Additionally, focusing on the outcome can provide a sense of purpose and meaning to the process of change, as we are working towards something that we find valuable and meaningful. This can help to sustain our motivation and keep us on track towards achieving our desired outcome.
Successful people are different from unsuccessful people because they focus on the outcome they will get from their actions, while unsuccessful people focus on how much work it will take to get to their outcome. So to be more motivated, focusing on the right thing is essential. Instead of focusing on how hard it is to get out of bed or do your food prepping, focus more on how great you’ll feel after going to the gym or on how easy it will be to stay on track if you do the food prep. The moment you start to focus on the work it takes to do something, you won’t do it. But when you see the outcome that occurs from your positive actions you’ll be far more motivated to move forward.
Copyright 2022 Keith Klein IV CN CCN