Why is self discipline so darn difficult
One thing that I have heard time and again from my clients, friends and loved ones is that the greatest battle of finding balance and committing to a healthy clean nutrition/training lifestyle is self discipline, and yes of course I myself have had my moments so I totally understand how frustrating a lack of self discipline can be. Somehow we are hardwired into rebelling against ourselves and the goals we set for our own good. I often wish I could bottle self discipline and give it to my clients to supplement their Cafe-Balance Nutrition plan, but one can only dream. So what does it really come down to? Well, I thought I’d do a bit of research and look at the traits of what ‘self discipline’ as a behavioral characteristic really entails and give you my 5 top tips to help us focus and change the way that we approach our goals so that we can avoid the self sabotage that tends to happen.
What is self discipline?
A number of dictionaries describe self discipline as:
‘the ability to commit to a behaviour or task even when you don’t want to’, ‘the ability to control yourself in doing or completing a task without constant external motivation’, ‘a habitual repetitive action or behaviour that allows you to complete a particular goal’.
These explanations all have merit, but my concern is that they all have a slightly negative flavour to them. I prefer how Remez Sasson from Success Consciousness describes self discipline as ‘the expression of inner strength and staying power, vital for dealing with the affairs of daily life and for the achieving of goals.’
Firstly it’s important to acknowledge that self discipline is a helpful personality muscle that needs to be trained and practiced. It is also one of the super powers that enable us to accomplish amazing things when we put our mind to it. It has the ability to make us feel healthier, more accomplished, educated and like we have the ability to achieve something of value. So what are some of the things that we can do to achieve self discipline in our own lives?
1- It’s up to you- realising that no one can do it for you and that the only way you will get to the goal is if you decide that you will do it and even more that you want to do it, out of your own power and free will.
2- Distinguish any red flags- Write down a couple of things whether it be a negative emotion or thought e.g. (I’ll never be able to do it, I’m not good enough) and address this belief, do you honestly feel this way and why. Is there a reason why you wouldn’t be able to accomplish your goal?
3- Find support- Now that you know where your weaknesses are, start putting things in place in your life whether it is seeing a professional for help, talking to a friend or even just looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you know that you are worth it and that you deserve to be balanced and healthy.
4- Fix a routine for yourself. Routines are incredibly helpful whether in areas of nutrition, exercise or getting a task completed. It takes the option of not doing it or procrastinating away. If you have decided on a time limit each day which you clear for exercise or food prep for the day or meal planning for the week, when it comes down to the moment it is much easier to just get it done since it has been planned for you. Do remember back when you were at school, no one asked you whether you would like to go to Maths, you simply went because it was a part of the schedule and timetable. So you learned and achieved because it was just made to be a part of your life for that period. The same happens when you apply it to implementing a clean eating lifestyle, you simply know in your head that unless there is a specific reason, you aren’t going to have that cookie because it’s not in the plan that you yourself set up for who you want to be.
5- Have grace for yourself- We all have bad days or things that come up in life, that’s why I always say the 80/20 rule for a balanced life is a good goal. If something happens where you absolutely can’t get something done that day, or you eat something you didn’t plan for, don’t let it get you down, acknowledge the fact that it is out of the norm, that life happens and that we all have off days. Find an alternative time with the same goals and time and relax about it. The worst trend I have seen in my clients are that they lose heart at the first hurdle or down fall and give up completely. One mistake, one holiday day, one detour won’t change your course if you get back up and redirect your path the right way. Remember that a key part of balance is giving yourself a break. I’m telling you now...at some point you will fall off the wagon, because you are human, so expect it and know how to handle it in the most proactive positive way you can. Whether speaking to someone about it, writing it down or refocusing at the next opportunity.