“I know all the right things to do . . . diet, exercise, etc. . . I just lack the discipline to do everything I should on a daily basis. Any suggestions?”
In one area or another, we have all felt like this.
We have all been disappointed with our efforts to “change”.
And most of us have then blamed it on our lack of discipline or will-power.
Self-Discipline, more or less, amounts to this:
Doing things we know we should do (but don’t really want to do).
Do we really need more of this? I don’t think so.
I think we just need to start finding reasons and ways to actually want to do them.
Here are 2 questions to ask yourself to get you started in the right direction.
WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?
I think there are 2 camps when it comes to this answer.
- Camp 1 does it for others. They do it to please and to gain recognition. They do it, in large part, because that’s what they should do (or at least that’s what others keep telling us). The goal of getting healthy or fit, for them, is a means to “stay in the spotlight” or at the very least, to become accepted.
- Camp 2 does it for themselves. They do it for the love and do not second guess their passions. They do it because they realize how limiting their unhealth is or can be. The goal of getting healthier, both in mind and body, is so they are better able to give their gift.
Let’s be honest, we all have been part of both camps.
We all have done things for other people. So how did that go? For myself, I quit football. I quit the military. And I quit a host of other things that I couldn’t find a real purpose in.
Camp 2 has been a totally different story. I couldn’t quit writing, training, and helping others it if I wanted to.
Funny how that works.
Before someone can venture into camp 2, however, and use the pursuit of health and fitness as a means to give your gift / love, they have to get real on what the end goal is ( ie, what’s your purpose?).
“I want to get healthier / more fit because _____”
The answer will decide whether you are able to stick with your new behaviors or not.
HOW ARE YOU DOING IT?
Even if you have an awesome “Why”, you can still sabotage your “discipline” by making things tougher than they should be. Here are a couple of suggestions to help with that:
1. Make it fun
Boring exercise doesn’t last. Neither does eating flavorless food. If we want to make this a long-term thing, we have to find ways to make it fun and engaging. For this, find people, gyms, workouts, games/sports, food, recipes, etc. – that are all fun! It takes experimentation and seeing what is out there, but this is more than necessary.
2. Start small
Like I talked about in Advice For Resolutioners, chewing off more than you can swallow only makes you choke. Don’t try to change more than 1 thing at a time (I recommend establishing the exercise habit first) and don’t do something that is scary and extremely uncomfortable to you (go slow, take your time, and just do enough to be moving towards your goal).
3. Do it early in the day
In the morning is when we have the most will-power. If you are really finding it hard to “stick” a new behavior, make it priority #1. This may mean waking up earlier so you can do it before work, but if the “Why” is there, you’ll do it. .
4. Get enough sleep
Without proper sleep, anything becomes hard. Don’t let this be your limiting factor. Shoot for 8 a night on average.
5. Harness the power of belief
As humans, we are our own self-fulfilling prophecies. Little placebos if you will. What holds more weight than some science, facts, or these words on this screen, is your belief in them. Think you lack discipline?Your future will show it. Believe in yourself and your abilities. You will, no doubt, become your thoughts.
ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?
Once you have the WHY and the HOW, nothing will be stopping you.
And with those, you will literally feel compelled to do it.
No self-discipline required…