Day 5. Discipline
Why Discipline Matters When Losing Weight
The single most important key to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it. It doesn’t matter if your goals are profession- al, personal, or health related - if you can’t push yourself to keep working even when you don’t want to, you’ll never achieve your dreams.
Why Discipline Matters
When you approach your goals with discipline, you...
• Are better able to work towards your goals
• Are less likely to be sidetracked
• Keep instant gratification from tempting you
• Reach your goals more quickly
• Find a healthy balance between work and rest
• Feel more confident in yourself
When you don’t approach your goals with discipline, you...
• Allow obstacles to keep you from moving forward
• Become discouraged by failures and setbacks
• Let momentary pleasures distract you from your goals
• Feel less confident in yourself
• Tend to procrastinate and fall behind
• Are more likely to repeat negative habits
• Tend to act more impulsively
The Science Behind Discipline
A study published in 2007, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that a person’s intelligence (measured by IQ) didn’t have as much of an impact on their ultimate success as their ability to keep working towards long term goals.1 In other words, if you want to lose weight, get healthy, and change your life, you need to have discipline.
Are you ready to do the work it takes to become more disciplined? Will you choose to do what needs to be done to reach your goals? Are you ready to commit to being a more disciplined person?
Practicing discipline might not be easy at first. You may struggle to keep yourself moving forward. However, once you put in some practice, your momentum will begin to pick up. You’ll find it easier and easier to make the right choices. Soon, discipline will be second nature and you’ll be closer to your goals than you ever thought possible.
Your Next Steps
1. Commit to Discipline: Discipline means nothing unless you commit yourself to pursuing it. It won’t always be easy, but the results are worth it. Make the choice to be more disciplined. Commit to picking self-control over indulgence in every situation.
2. Determine and Acknowledge Your Weaknesses: We all have things that get in the way of being more disciplined. Acknowledge these weaknesses. Then, make a plan to over- come them. Rather watch TV than exercise? Do a quick bodyweight workout during commercial breaks. Hate to give up dessert? Find a healthy replacement to enjoy after dinner instead. Iron discipline starts with understanding yourself and where you have the potential to fail.
3. Do What You Don’t Want to First: There’s always something you’re not looking forward to doing. Whether it’s working out, planning out your meals, or cleaning your bathroom, it’s hard to get some things done. Unfortunately, it’s often these little tasks that will boost you to meeting your goals. Stop them from getting in your way by doing them first thing in your day. Once you get that little task done, the rest of your to-do list will seem much lighter.
4. Accept That it Won’t Always Feel “Right”: We’re often told that there’s a “right” time to do something, or that something will feel “right” if it’s what you’re supposed to do. In order to grow your discipline, you have to accept that some things are never going to feel “right”. If you wait until you feel a certain emotion to do what you need to do, you won’t get anywhere.
5. Get Rid of Everything That Isn’t Serving You: Distractions, temptations, and bad influences can all keep you from making a disciplined choice. When you get them out of your life, your discipline (and your progress towards your goals) will skyrocket.
6. Make Decisions in Advance: When we’re in the moment, it’s sometimes hard to choose between what we need to do and what our emotions tell us to do. The best way to com- bat this is to make a decision in advance. For example, let’s say you decide to exercise after work. When you come home, you’re tired and cranky. Your emotions tell you to take the night off. But you made the decision in advance. You’ve already chosen to work out. All you have to do now is follow through.
1 Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M., & Kelly, D. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087–1101. doi: 10.1037/0022- 3518.104.22.1687
Think Long Term
If you commit to practicing discipline over 21 days, you’ll end your challenge much closer to achieving your goals than when you started. If you commit to practicing discipline over your lifetime, however, there’s no goal you can’t achieve. Use these tips to keep practicing discipline after your GetFit21 experience is over:
• Stick to a routine: A common habit among successful people is making sure to go to bed early enough to get up on time. Sticking to a regular schedule makes sure you have enough time to get everything done - without skimping on sleep.
• Ignore naysayers: You can get a lot out of listening to experts, but that doesn’t mean you should listen to everyone. Ignore naysayers who have negative things to say about your goals if they haven’t themselves achieved what you’re setting out to do.
• Track your progress: Every goal you achieve is the accumulation of hundreds of moments of discipline. Take a little time every now and then to look back over how far you’ve come. Pick out moments where self-control helped you get further.