How to have discipline that sticks
Discipline is what drives you to where you want to go.
If you have a vision for you, your family, your health and your work (and I highly recommend that you have!!), does it seem that you cycle between hard core striving, and nothing at all? We hit rock bottom and our motivation kicks in and then we start feeling good so we stop. Discipline seems to pop up when we are getting ourselves out of a deep hole, whether it is a health crisis, not fitting the jeans or serious addiction. It becomes fuelled by survival stress and panic.
So how can we become more pre-emptive with our motivation? How can we switch out of using our drive to get from crappy to average and use it to move to feeling great and staying there?
The key to harnessing the drive and motivation for discipline is goals. You are working towards something bigger and better. Know where you are heading and why and it will be a lot easier to stay on track.
Where do you need more discipline in your life?
What are your goals? Go on, write them down.
Here are some thoughts on how to stay focussed
See the big picture
I realised at the age of 20 that I was at my physical peak. It was a turning point from growth to ageing. It might sound depressing, but it does not have to be a slippery fast track to ill health and discomfort. You have a choice. You can over eat, be stuck in negativity, eat crap food, smoke OR you can take care. From that turning point on, you need effort to maintain, sustain and enhance your cellular health. You are not getting healthier, more energised or more directed onto your purpose unless you have the intention.
Like a toddler, do you really need everything you could possibly desire, exactly when you want it? We are surrounded by advertising and marketing creating needs and desires that we hadn’t even considered. We see the lollies, the night out or the expensive handbag and we just want it. But could you just leave it? Are your dreams better served without the calories, with the good night’s sleep and the money in your bank? I have grown up with an allergy to dairy, which I now see as a blessing. I have watched all the other kids have a piece of ice cream cake while I sit and watch. It taught me a very valuable lesson. I was fine without it. Delay the gratification.
Allow your drive, commitment and workload to move in cycles. Let it reflect the cyclical nature of your body and of the planet. It is important to push a little when you are moving into a new regime but be understanding and flexible. Find the right balance. When your muscles are sore, you have a headache or it’s that time of the month, you need to listen. Pushing too hard in these moments will lead to burn out.
Don’t fear that a lapse is the end of your drive
You know when you have a piece of chocolate when you are supposed to be detoxing and you think well, I have had the chocolate so I may as well have another and another, I may as well just keep going. Allow it to just be one! Allowing yourself one will help you stick to your resolve. You will not feel so stifled and suppressed and it will feel easier to maintain your drive.
Know you are worthy
You are worthy. You deserve the fit and healthy body, to glow with inner health, to earn an abundance of money, to be surrounded by love and to have a career that makes you feel alive. If we don’t feel like we are worthy, we will create all kinds of roadblocks and excuses to sabotage our plans. Try this simple exercise.
Take a moment. Breathe deeply. Say to yourself “I intend to stay committed to _______________ “(fill in the blanks with a goal you have in mind. It could be eating healthily this week or starting a new business). Check in with how it feels to put effort into yourself and to keep that resolve – do you feel anxious? Is your breathing shorter? Is there any tension? Just notice as you drop your awareness down into your body, where you feel the pattern of turning away from yourself and turning away from your goals. Don’t turn away from this resistance now. Sit with it. Feel into it. Give this feeling your attention, your awareness. Feel it as energy. This feeling is just energy. It is bubbles, vibrations. Energy by nature will move on after a minute or two. Know that you are safe, acknowledge your tension and be still with it. Breathe.
Don’t wait for your saviour
“C’mon already! Can’t you see that I am suffering here? Will someone please come and save me from this. How much suffering do I have to show you before you will help me out of this?”
I know this sounds pathetic, but if we are truly honest, there are aspects of truth in this for all of us. Often it is in our interactions with our partners or parents. Sometimes it is easier to say that our day was not great, and to report all the negative – we don’t want to be a target for envy or more responsibility.
Try this “I take back the responsibility for my own life”. Feel how that intention sits with you. Breathe into any tension.
An awesome life can only come from within you. You can be handed all the elements on a silver platter, but without the wisdom of experience and inner connection, it will be a waste. It is your responsibility and nobody else’s.
Surround yourself with motivated, positive people
It is very hard to stop smoking or drinking or eating sweets while you sit in a house surrounded by people consuming them. If going to the pub is really going to test your resolve, suggest a change, try a different crowd or just stay in for now, until it feels easier. You might just find that you inspire others as you go. Stand in the fire of your decision. Show your commitment to yourself. It feels great.
Understand your soul’s calling
Aligning with your integrity is more than just chasing charge and a buzz, it is an understanding that your soul is calling out for growth and learning. Know the difference between the things that make you feel good for the short term and those that light you up and sustain you. Set goals, have a vision board and surround yourself with the things you love that love you back.
Enjoy your success
Celebrate your accomplishments. Pats on the back, celebratory dinners, or a well-earned rest.
You are moving yourself towards a more inspiring, enriching life. Showing yourself that you can do something, stick to it and achieve it however small, feels great. It instils a sense of faith and trust in your own abilities. It opens up a universe of possibilities. What else are you capable of? The world is your oyster.
Be a role model
I grew up with parents who worked hard and stayed fit and healthy. Even today in their retirement they are some of the fittest people I know. I am grateful for the gift that they gave me in being amazing role models. What sort of model are you to your kids/ friends/ family? What sort of role model do you want to be? I am motivated by the legacy that my role modelling is handing on. My message to my kids is that I am healthy, hardworking and sustainable so that I can be around for them, present for them and alive and energised for longer. My message is that I love being around them and I want to be a part of their lives. It is a message of love.
Remember, you do not have to be disciplined 100% of the time. What you need is to trend towards your goals consistently. Little step by little step.
Try the S.M.A.R.T approach – keep it Specific and Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based (i.e. Within 3 months)
If you need help, hand holding and guidance, check out my coaching packages to reboot your life, love and career, wherever you are in the world.
I wish you luck,
All the best