Discipline. It’s such a dirty word isn’t? One we don’t like, at least. One we try to ignore. One that we often run away from. Why? Because it’s hard to be disciplined. It often means doing things we don’t want to do. Or giving up things we don’t want to give up. But what if we change our focus when it comes to that word? What if we start looking at what we will be getting once we discipline ourselves? Keep the focus on the end result…at all times. Write out your end goal. Read it, memorize it, visualize it and then make it happen. Because the thing with discipline is once we get it down, it becomes a habit and it’s so much easier to handle. One day, whatever you are trying to discipline yourself to do, will be as automatic as brushing your teeth everyday. Think about that. Do you enjoy brushing your teeth? Isn’t it really kind of a pain in the butt? But you do it anyway…don’t you? Because it’s good for you. And everyone else for that matter. You do it because it’s necessary for your health and well-being. For your health. That’s what any discipline can become. A habit that you do without thought…it’s automatic.
It’s hard though. That is why we dread it so much. We plan for it and then chicken out and don’t do it. But once you do it; once you have it down…you won’t ever be sorry you trained yourself to do it. I’ve been talking to my sister about not hitting the snooze button anymore. I’ve talked to you all about not hitting the snooze button anymore. It will be the single most productive thing you will ever do in your life. Hitting the snooze button is torture. It really is. Plus, you are putting yourself in a position to make major decisions first thing in the morning when you aren’t even awake yet. Do I get up this time or do it I hit it one more time? Because let’s be honest. When you finally get to the point when you can’t hit it anymore…are you happy you got to go back to sleep after hitting the snooze the first five times? No, you are still dragging yourself out of bed, tired and miserable. Just do it the first time and save yourself the torture you are dragging out.
My sister asked me how I kicked the habit. I was put in a position where I had no choice. My mom had gotten me an alarm clock that didn’t have a snooze option. It was loud and obnoxious, and I wanted to shut that mother off as soon as possible. It made train noises. It was shaped like a train and it started out with the choo choo noise of a train. It did that for about five seconds and then a voice came in. It asked, are you ready? Here we go…1,2,3….wake-up! Really loud and obnoxious. My goal was to shut that thing off because that voice started. Because I hated that voice. That was the point. It got me up and out of bed every morning right on time. Put yourself in a position where you can’t hit the snooze if you truly can’t break the habit. You can turn the snooze option off on your iPhone now. You will likely only be late once before you remember you can’t turn it off anymore.
When it comes to other types of discipline…you can either start small or you can be radical. But whichever way you choose, make sure you will stick to it. This is the other thing about discipline. Don’t make promises to yourself you can’t keep. You have to be able to count on the word you make to yourself. Or you have no credibility and you know it. Saying every week that this Monday is the day you finally start hitting the gym is a joke if you never get there. You can’t believe what is coming out of your own mouth. You are letting yourself down each and every time you say you are going to do something and don’t. Would you be okay with making a lunch date with a friend and then because you were too comfortable on the couch, you just bail? It’s unlikely that would happen. You are more committed to other people than you are to yourself. Doesn’t that seem a little backwards? You are constantly disappointing yourself when you don’t do the things you say you are going to. So, if you don’t think you are really going to do it, then don’t say you will. Stop letting yourself down.
When it comes to my 30-day challenge, I decided to go radical. I made a decision to go no carbs, eat healthy with no cheat days and no alcohol for 30 days. I knew that I would be able to do it. Because I tell myself constantly, I can do anything for 30 days. And so far, still good. I’m on day 12 now and I’m so darn proud of myself. There are a number of reasons I decided to go radical instead of baby steps. I have gotten into a horrible cycle of eating healthy during the week but once Friday hit it was like a free for all. I wanted to train myself to eat less, honestly. We all eat so much food and I know we can all sustain ourselves on much less. I wanted to train my body to expect less food. I used to eat all day long. A banana in the morning, then some oatmeal an hour or so later. Then more fruit in another hour. Then a granola bar. My body was used to being fed every couple of hours so I was hungry again within an hour or two whether I had a granola bar or a full size breakfast. I wanted to train my body to go longer in between meals. It’s working.
I also have to stop abandoning my healthy eating plan every Friday. Which is what I have been doing for years. One of the main reasons I do that? Cocktail Friday, y’all. Drinking is a killer for my will power. Not only are there a lot of calories in it but I always end up wanting foods that aren’t good for me. And then I eat a ton of them. So, eliminating alcohol for 30 days is essential for the rest of my challenge to work. It’s also to prove I’m not the alcoholic I worry sometimes I am. My husband and I both enjoy an adult beverage on the weekends. It’s not something that I’ve ever considered a problem. We never miss work or can’t function because of our drinking but I still worry. We both come from families with alcoholic backgrounds and it’s something that is always in the back of my mind. Again, I can do anything for 30 days. And you know what? You can watch football without a beer in your hand! I wasn’t sure it was possible but we’ve done it for two weeks in a row now! As my husband pointed out, the warm weather is my trigger. That is when I love to have a cold one. I love sitting outside, listening to music and having a few adult beverages so this hasn’t been so hard. I really don’t have any interest in sitting around the house watching television, drinking beers. If there are other people here that is a different story. But the point is…know you’re triggers. Know what it is that will cause you do go off course and eliminate that.
If you are going to go radical, don’t put too much on your plate. I haven’t been to the gym in the last couple of weeks. I plan to get back there this week. But the most important thing to me right now is to keep committed to my 30 day challenge and realize you can’t do everything all at once and be successful. I could have been forcing myself to go to the gym as well but I haven’t been feeling well and I really just wanted to focus on my eating. It was more important. I know I will get back to the gym and I will because I know I keep my word to myself.
If you don’t think you can go radical then do not try! Start with small steps that will get you closer to your ultimate goals. Most people have mentioned they would like to exercise. Start with a brisk walk. Start with doing a little dancing in your living room. Find an active game that you like and play it. Just do something that will work up a little sweat for you. Small steps lead to big results. I’m going to be talking more about this throughout the week. So stay tuned.
It’s Monday! My favorite day after Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A brand new week full of possibilities and opportunities! Think about ways you break your promises to yourself. And figure out how to stop doing that! Now, go make it your best day yet!
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