Most people who are trying to avoid starting a fitness program – or, who started one and fell off the wagon – end up blaming themselves.

“I didn’t have enough discipline.”

“I wasn’t feeling motivated enough.”

“I knew I didn’t have the willpower to stick with it.”

The truth is, succeeding with an exercise or nutrition program has little to do with discipline or motivation.

And when it comes to willpower, guess what?

Willpower doesn’t exist.


Let me take one of these terms at a time and explain where most of us go wrong.

Discipline: Most people think they need discipline to succeed with a fitness or nutrition program, which suggests that they need the ability to force themselves to do something they don’t want to do. The discipline trap starts with a limiting belief. For example, “Every time I start an exercise program, I end up quitting.” Or, “Whenever I sign up for a gym membership, I go for a few weeks and then never come back.” If that’s what you’re expecting from the get-go, then no amount of discipline can keep things from spinning out of control.

Motivation: It’s very common for people to think they’ve failed with a fitness or nutrition plan because they lacked “motivation.” But what does this really mean? What they were really lacking was action. Motivation does not result in action; it’s the other way around. Putting simple actions first – committing to 2 strength workouts a week and drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day, for example – will create momentum. 

Willpower: What you need to finally succeed with your health and fitness goals isn’t willpower. It’s the structure of a plan that makes sense and you can actually follow; guidance from a caring coach who helps you overcome obstacles so you never get stuck; and the accountability that comes from having someone checking in with you regularly, so you’ll be more likely to stay on track.

If you’ve fallen off track with your fitness goals, it’s not your fault. 

Stop relying on discipline and replace it with positive beliefs. 

Forget about motivation and choose action instead. 

Leave willpower in the rear-view mirror and replace it with structure, guidance and accountability.

Make those changes and watch your results take off.