And how do you implement it?
People have some one or some thing that drives them to do something, whether it’s reaching a goal or taking the first step towards something. For me, the things that motivate me are varied:
- time sensitivity (I want to be in shape by insert date here)
- vacation is coming and I want to be able to eat all the foods
- a party is coming up and I want to look fabulous in what I wear
- I feel blah and need something to pick me up; I need more energy
- Joe/Jane just lost bunch of weight and looks great – I need to do the same
The common theme I’m trying to illustrate here is motivation is fleeting; it comes to you and knocks on your door. Each of the things I listed has a time expiration date and a now what? at the end. Often times, motivation gets you started but doesn’t always carry you to the end. What does? Discipline.
A large part of what I stand for is habit building behavior. Once you have incorporated willpower and self-control and created habits that become automatic, you have cultivated discipline. By doing this, you re-wire your brain to help you achieve something sustainable and constructive.
To create habits and cultivate discipline, start with small changes. Know what you want to change and write it down. Know the reasons why you want to change and write it down. Having that reference is a great way to remind you of your purpose and reinforce your willpower. I recently had a homework assignment of asking 5 people what they struggled with most when it came to health and fitness. One of the answers I received was eating late at night. This gentleman said that his wife gets home from work later than he does. He often has dinner with her around 8p or 9p, then heads off to bed around 10p. He really wanted to know how he could stop eating so late and shortly before going to sleep.
I suggested a few things he could try to see what worked best for him. He was already one step ahead by 1) knowing a heavy meal before going to sleep wasn’t a great idea and 2) being receptive to trying ways to eliminate the behavior. All he needed to do was make a small change in what he was doing to realize he was capable of self-control and feel more confident. He needed to make one habit automatic to realize he could build another one, and another one from there, and another one after that.
It isn’t easy to make changes; it takes time, self-awareness, kindness towards yourself, and patience. That’s why it is important to know what you want to change and why you want to change it. Don’t forget to reward your successes and feel gratitude over your discipline. You should wonder what you’re capable of and pursue those curiosities; take action because it’s better than doing nothing and action always leads to more action
Discipline isn’t easy, but in my book it definitely beats a lack of discipline.