Nulla dies sine linea.
"Not a day without a line."
People often find it difficult to perceive how consistency and (even minuscule) progress add up. We live in a world of "I want it all and I want it now".
People start a project with enormous zeal, but the zeal quickly evaporates. Unless they are the lucky ones, the zeal is unsustainable.
What keeps the momentum from faltering is consistent action during a prolonged period of time. These small acts of will do not come with rewards, though, the reward is at the end of the path.
This inability to dedicate oneself comes from an imbalanced dopamine reward system that needs to be constantly stimulated. A balanced dopamine system rewards results, events, or experiences beneficial for the body, it's a survival mechanism.
In the modern world, though, this reward system is highly morphed - the receptors are triggered by micro-boosts of dopamine 24/7. Big tech companies know this and have exploited this physiological feature mercilessly. Comments, likes, views, autoplay video clips, etc. - are all designed to grab your attention and reward you for giving your attention away.
Our neurotransmitters are "addicted" and need to be constantly excited because if they are not, the person feels "down" and empty. There's a constant, subconscious search for the new high - this is why attention spans across the world are decreasing, but this is another story altogether.
This "down" is actually the natural state of the dopamine reward system.
Fixing your neurotransmitters doesn't mean you'll be stuck in this "down" all the time, on the contrary, it means that you'll quickly learn that the "down" lasts as long as your addiction lasts.
Once the system is fixed, the rewards will indeed feel real, you'll feel more content with yourself, and discover that you feel much better without the constant dopamine boosts.
So how do you fix your dopamine reward system? Get rid of the "I want it all and I want it now" attitude.
This attitude is what destroys dreams because in most cases all you have is nothing when you start. Embrace the struggle without rewards, learn to live without praise (until you achieve your goals), and learn to Believe in the process.
Growth doesn't happen linearly – it happens after long days/weeks/months of no returns.
But those who can push through this phase without giving up see their growth explode, be it in fitness, health or self-improvement, it's the same.
When you succeed and look back, you realize that all those days where you did just a tiny step towards your goal add up to a mountain of work you've done. That's when you feel real pride.
Remember that our ancestors didn't feel nearly as many micro- highs and lows as our generation does. Achieving something required years of practice, mastery, time, and dedication.
That's why great achievements often seem impossible - we subconsciously know we couldn't achieve something like that because we crave rewards too much.
This craving is not a weakness of character. It's a physiological malfunctioning and it can be fixed.
Will yourself into a better self, one day at a time. Rewards come to those who can live without them.