You’re lucky you’re so motivated to go to the gym.

I get this a lot from people who wish they also go.

Even when I explain that it didn’t come naturally… That I started going to the gym in 2009, managed to go regularly only in 2012, and that I’ve been doing this for almost 5 years… They just nod and say, “I could never do that.”

I fall into this trap too.

Whenever I see someone who’s achieved something I want, something I’ve tried (and failed at) a few times…

Even when I know it takes hard work and that I can do it too, if I give it enough time, I sigh and say, “I could never do that.”

Why? Nobody talks about the ugly process.

It’s easy to say after the fact, that it’s hard for everyone.

That it takes time.

That this does not come naturally for anyone.

But few people share the process while it happens — of achieving small wins, building up momentum, etc. Not surprising. The process is not glamorous nor sexy at all.

No wonder it’s hard to remember you’re not the only one who sucks at this! To not get discouraged when you’re just starting and comparing yourself to someone who’s been doing it for years.

That’s why I thought it would be useful to share…

My drive to the gym tonight

Despite being a regular gym-goer for almost 2 years, on days like these, I still had to push myself to go.

Instead of driving to the gym, I wanted to go to the bookstore first, “just to check out some books.”

But I know I won’t get out alive (without buying a new book). And after buying a book, I’ll probably be so excited to open my new book and end up not going to the gym.

Here’s what I had to do during the drive:

  • Verbalize the decision: I shouted to myself, “I’ve decided I’m going to the gym” several times.
  • Reduce delay of reward: Whenever I make a turn that leads me to the gym, I pat my head and…
  • Reduce delay of reward pt. 2: Made several big grins to myself

Shouting at myself, patting myself on the head, grinning like an idiot… If you saw me, I’m sure you would’ve thought I’d gone crazy.

Sounds silly and petty. But that’s what I had to do to make myself go to the gym sometimes. And it happens more often than you think.

Thing is, I did it.

I went to the gym and did what I said I’d do. It’s a small win that lets me build momentum and be the kind of person who goes to the gym regularly.

Someone people consider “lucky to be so motivated to go the gym.”

So respect the process. Don’t feel silly when you achieve small wins. That’s the stuff “overnight” successes are made of.