by Peter Comrie
It turns out discipline is a popular topic! The response to my first article on discipline The “D” Word: Part 1 was positive, but people kept asking for more. So, I thought we could get into specific ways we can be more disciplined (without becoming robotic).
Discipline: Why Bother?
While I’d love to be considered an all-knowing guru, my reasons for being disciplined are probably not the same as yours. Don’t be disciplined because someone else says you should. Decide for yourself what you want and why you want it.
If you don’t care about a flat stomach (and you’re healthy as you are), then forget about some extreme eating plan for flat stomachs!
What do you really, really want? Why? That’s where to focus your discipline resources!
Discipline: The Self-Control Muscle
In order to be disciplined, you need self-control. Studies have shown that self-control is a limited resource. Sure, people have different levels of self-control, but for each person there may come a point in the day when they just ‘run out’ of self-control. Anyone who’s tried to maintain new habits at the end of a long day knows this!
Think of self-control as a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it will get, and the easier it will be to remain disciplined. BUT! If you use that muscle until it fails, there is no more self-control available.
Choose where you use self-control. Don’t limit yourself unnecessarily or deny yourself every goodness. Decide what is most important and set the rest aside.
Discipline: Design for Success
Wherever you choose discipline, set yourself up for success. If discipline means going to bed at a certain time, make sure you record that favourite show that runs late. If it means giving your partner or your children your undivided attention, turn off your phone and put your laptop away.
There are lots of little ways to design your day for success. I’d love to hear your suggestions!
Discipline: Choices Over Feelings
When you know what you want and why you want it, and you’ve decided where to focus your self-control, and you’ve set yourself up for success, there’s one thing left: do it!
Decide what you’ll do and commit to doing it. Feelings are so important, but when it comes to being disciplined, feelings cannot run the show. One fantastic thing about feelings is that they begin to change when we focus our thoughts in a new direction. And those feelings change even more when we’re taking action!
Use this powerful cycle: focus your thoughts, then take action, experience better feelings, and repeat. Our thoughts and actions change our feelings.
Discipline: Stack ‘em Up!
I see this happen over and over: someone decides to change one thing. They are disciplined, determined, and focused. When they achieve that one goal, they keep going!
Maybe they start by walking every day, and then they add in drinking more water, and then they start enjoying healthier foods, and then they try a new exercise that they never would have considered before they started walking, and on it goes.
Discipline leads to discipline. So, start with something specific and achievable. Keep going. When it gets easier (and as that self-control muscle grows), you can add in the next thing.
I don’t believe in silly expressions like ‘the sky’s the limit’. We all have limits. But I know for sure that your limits are much smaller than you think! And that’s the same for me. Let’s all use discipline to make our lives better, enjoy life more, and make the most of the day.
Let me know your thoughts below.