Self-discipline is key to leading a healthy lifestyle and being happy. No matter what your focus, whether it’s your diet, fitness, work ethic or relationships, self-discipline is the number one trait you need to succeed. All of our goals in life require us to use our inherent ability for self-control through discipline. This includes managing our thoughts, emotions, behaviour, and habits to keep them all in check.
Where does discipline come from?
What allows one person to seemingly wield total and full control over their behaviour and actions, while others fail? How can one person be so conscious of what they do on a daily basis, while others simply throw caution to the wind?
The answer to these questions lies in our habits. 40% of our behaviour is habit-driven, therefore, if you want to control your ability to be self-disciplined, you have to control your habits.
Discipline is formed through simple repetition for a prolonged period of time. The problem is that most people want a quick fix and set themselves up for failure by promising to go from zero to hero overnight. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
The best method for creating self-discipline is to do it using micro-changes. Promise yourself a very small increment of progress each day and stick to it. For example, instead of promising yourself that you’ll do a full 45-minute work out every day, or every other day, commit to a 5-minute walk around the block. That’s it. Just 5 minutes. But make sure it’s done every single day without fail! This is easy to do because it’s so small. In fact, it’s too small to fail. This is how habits are formed and built and also how discipline is created.
Start small. 5-minutes walk around the block once a day for a week will morph into 10 minutes the following week. Then, maybe 15 minutes the week after that and so on. The goal is to keep going no matter what. If you have to stay small with the increments, keep at it. Over time, your mind will naturally want to add more.
Everything you are, and ever will be, is the result of your choices and decisions. If you want to change an aspect of your life, you have to make new choices and new decisions, and then you must discipline yourself to follow through on your decisions.
The first habit you need to develop is the habit of eating the right foods, in the right proportions, at the right times.
In addition to eating the right foods, you should develop the habit of eliminating the ‘three white poisons’ from your diet: salt, sugar, and flour. This change in your diet is so simple and yet so powerful that you will be amazed at how quickly you get noticeable results.
You need seven to eight hours of sleep each night to be at your optimal performance the next day. If you get less than six hours of sleep per night and keep an average pace at work, you will eventually develop ‘sleep deficiency’.
If you’re not used to exercising and suddenly start trying to lift heavy weights or run miles, then you put yourself in danger. Take baby steps at the beginning and don’t be afraid to pace yourself.
It takes discipline to achieve your goals, but discipline requires patience. Don’t try to make things happen overnight, but stay persistent and committed to your goals and you will get there.
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