5 Tips to Jumpstart your Self-Discipline

mindset for movement

We all want to achieve our goals and ultimately be happy, right?  Many qualities contribute, but one quality produces true sustainable and long-term success in all aspects of life.  SELF-DISCIPLINE.  Whether it’s your fitness, eating, relationship or work goals, this ability is the key.

When you are self-disciplined, your choices are no longer dictated by impulses or feelings. You can make rational and informed decisions with confidence, less stress and less emotion.  The internal debate and conflict is lessoned, if not completely removed, because discipline and habit move you into auto-pilot. It leads to a freer life. 

The great part is that self-discipline can be learned.  It does require practice and repetition daily but it is conquerable.  Simple changes to your everyday routine can build out good habits, eliminate bad habits, and improve control over your life.  These 5 proven methods will set you on the right path

1 – Remove temptations

There are a few parts and pieces to this but yes, literally remove temptations where you can.  Trying to eat better?  Then eliminate the junk food.  That missing part of the bad habit will cause change.  You will have to choose something else.  Trying to cut down on social media use?  Put your phone in your drawer for a certain period of time before you can look at it.  Check your environment as well.  If the salesman in your office brings donuts every Tuesday morning and they stare at your while you fill up your coffee, then pay attention to the time he brings them in and either get your coffee BEFORE he arrives or bring coffee from home.  Avoiding that environment strategically can jumpstart better habits.

2 – Plan snacks and meals.  Eat regularly.

Eating regularly and as healthy as possible is obviously good for your brain function, but also manages your blood sugar and hunger.  When these are not managed, you are not yourself.  You can feel weak, grumpy, and experience a lack of focus and self control.  Who knows what you may grab to eat!  Fueling your body properly helps you maintain your concentration and high level of activity.  Planning your meals and planning to eat removes the temptation of fast food, the stressing over what to eat, or just not eating at all.  The decision is already made!

3 – Don’t wait to start

Waiting for the “right time” is the worst thing you can do.   Because the right time will never come.  Taking that first little step, getting a little uncomfortable and changing your normal routine has to happen.  Start with one routine/habit, don’t try to do 5 all at once.  Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, explains that habit behaviors are traced to a part of the brain called the basal ganglia – a portion of the brain associated with emotions, patterns, and memories. Decisions, on the other hand, are made in the prefrontal cortex, a completely different area. When a behavior becomes habit, we stop using our decision-making skills and instead function on auto-pilot. Therefore, breaking a bad habit and building a new habit not only requires us to make active decisions, it will feel unnatural. Your brain will resist the change in favor of what is has been programmed to do.  But EMBRACE that feeling…that is change!  It may take a little time for the new habit to feel natural, but it will come.  And then boom…auto-pilot!

4 – Create rewards

Going cold-turkey works for very few people.  Self-discipline does not require that approach nor drill-sergeant tactics.  A little wiggle room and rewards create the most long-term success.  If you’re improving your eating habits, and you’ve accomplished your goal all week, reward yourself with a little treat on Sunday.  Establishing a regular workout schedule?  If you’ve maintained your schedule all week, maybe reward yourself with a trip to the movies to relax. Dangle the carrot before horse…he will move!  It can work for you too.

5 – Keep focus forward

Be honest with yourself knowing that creating self-discipline and habits will be challenging and uncomfortable and will not always go according to plan.  There will be ups and downs and a few stumbles but KEEP MOVING FORWARD.  Acknowledge your setback…what caused it and how you can adjust to stop it from occurring again.  But do not go into guilt mode or self-punishment.  Learn from the experience and keeping going…day by day by day. 

I am cheering for you and encouraging you to KEEP MOVING!   – Tara

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