Love The Process.
Sticking to commitments — my experience
I have been gyming on and off for the last five years but never really maintained the consistency required to reach the goals that I want.
I’ve tried many different approaches; buying myself rewards for going to the gym, only allowing myself to listen to my favourite music if I’m at the gym, motivational audio as my morning alarm, etc.
These techniques have all worked but only for a certain time period — I have never maintained the routine indefinitely.
(This happens with most things that we try in life — perhaps it’s related to our need to always be making progress and trying new things)
But now I’ve found something that works.
In the past, I have always been fixated on the end result and used that as motivation to push through. However, this type of motivation is flimsy — it can easily be disrupted, for example if you start to feel you aren’t making adequate progress towards the result in mind.
The prospect of maintaining the routine indefinitely can seem scary and impossible.
I have discovered a love for the process.
More recently, I have stopped looking at the gym as a means to an end but rather started to appreciate it for what it is. With the help of some friends who are enthusiastic about powerlifting, so can speak passionately about the art form of certain gym exercises, I have gained an increased appreciation of the process.
Now, when I go to the gym, it feels kinda spiritual. I feel I am increasing the connection between my body and my mind. I feel more connected with my natural inclinations; by exerting myself physically I am experiencing something that our DNA is encoded to enjoy.
I am also appreciating the art form of learning how to perform certain exercises correctly. To progress it is necessary to make small variations in technique every time you go to the gym. However, you will only perform each exercise a limited number of times so you must really tune into your body to appreciate what effect these minor variations have. One friend said that learning to powerlift takes a lifetime; I can begin to appreciate what he means.
With this love of the process, I no longer need as much motivation to go to the gym. As a result, without even keeping track or needing to push myself, I have just completed a two month period of sustained frequent gyming. And I have no inclination to stop any time soon.
This ability to love the process is important in all areas of life. For example, loving the process of studying rather than focusing on the end exam result, enjoying your work rather than your wage.
What if you don’t love the process?
However, there are bound to be times when you don’t feel you love the process and don’t feel that you can.
In these cases, it is useful to bear in the mind the following:
Sometimes you have got to do things you don’t like. I will let Elliot Hulse elaborate on this.
Find ways to love it. Keep trying different things. It’s not sustainable to spend your whole life forcing yourself to do things that you don’t enjoy. Your mind and body will resist and look for ways to do less, while you want them to be pushing you to do more.
So if you don’t love the process of an activity, either find a new one (it may not be the right thing for you to be doing) or find ways to love it (by continually trying new approaches and looking at it in different ways).
In other words, if you ain’t found the love yet, keep looking and keep experimenting.