Discipline

Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

The start of January is always the start of something new, but how do you keep up the momentum for the rest of the year. Many of you have heard of the astounding statistics about the gym, where 80% of individuals do not go after 5 months or 14% who signed up in January drop out by February. Keeping disciplined and motivated is hard work; though I know that some individuals find it easier than others (lucky sods!). My partner has tunnel vision when he has an idea in his head. He is an absolute force to be reckoned with; he just lives and breathes the project – constantly researching and working at it. I, on the other hand, would get distracted by the latest Netflix series (Have any of you watched Messiah yet?).

2020 is a year of discovery; I start a new job in February and I want to make sure that I have enough time to develop my coaching skills as well. How can I be a good performance coach if I do not test theories/advice of others? I read a lot of blogs and books on self improvement. The only way to know what works is to test them out. Hence, this blog will log my journey of discovery and I would encourage you to join in with me and share your experiences with other readers too! Sharing is caring 🙂

It is very timely that I have decided to talk about discipline. It has taken me a whole day to write this post because I spent 6 hours of my day house hunting with my other half, instead of dedicating time to write this blog. Self-discipline is partially a mental battle and the development of a habit. I understand that discipline is intrinsically linked to motivation but that doesn’t help much either!

 “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.” – John C. Maxwell

Jari Roomer wrote that building strong habits and creating a supportive environment would help with motivation and making the right decisions. I think this is better than solely focus on self-discipline. It seems more practical, so here is a list of a few tips that seemed to make some sense.

Tracking progress towards a goal

You have a goal or project. You know the end result, but you need to know how you are tracking towards your goal. If not, it is easy to lose sight of what is required. I really like the idea of getting a diary/calendar and marking it off. Each day you have worked towards the goal, cross it off NICE AND BIG. Enjoy the process – exaggerate it! If you didn’t work towards the goal, leave it blank and set a target on how many days you are allowed off. E.g. you can’t have two consecutive weeks without working towards the goal. You will feel guilty when there are too many blanks – that is exactly what you want! Feel the guilt and start working towards the goal again.

Journaling

Let me be honest, I am rubbish at journaling but others really swear by this. Similar to tracking above, writing your thoughts and recording your memories and feelings is a great way to reflect. Honestly, I feel like this is a lot of hard work, so my shortcut is to use the Daylio app where it gives me smiley faces to rate my general “feel” of the day and you can log the activities with easy to click icons and a SMALL box to write a couple of notes. Simple and it takes me about a minute to record the day – perfect. I have been doing this for a few months now. How it helps is that I can assess my moods and what activities are associated with a positive mood. The more positive you are feeling, the easier it is to be disciplined.

Meditation

Before you roll your eyes, this is a habit that I have tried to develop and I genuinely think that this has done great things for my patience and emotional consistency. I can’t say that I have noticed any significant changes to my focus. However, I am at the beginning of my journey with meditation and once I have completed more sessions I will let you know whether I note any other changes. When many successful individuals preach this practice, there is no harm in giving this a go and I really encourage it – truly one of the best things I did in 2019.

Working Distraction-Free

Being on my smartphone is the worse thing for my productivity. Whatsapp, Telegram, Instagram, YouTube & Netflix are my worse culprits. I moved Instagram from easy access from my phone and just that simple move did wonders to changing my habits. I didn’t spend hours aimlessly scrolling through posts and stories. I had so much more time to read and learn. Social media detox is one of my most recommended tips for self-discipline.

Dopamine Fast

Similar to working distraction-free, one level up is to have a “dopamine fast”. No internet/electronics, no books, no sex, no food, no talking, no music or coffee. Let’s be honest, there is not much more left for someone to do. However, it has been suggested it is possible to go for a walk, writing with a pen, meditate, sleep and drink water. No stimulation whatsoever – how horrifying! I have yet to try this, but I will let you know when I plan it. Personally, this seems really daunting, but I believe a detox from time to time is necessary for the body and mind.

Let me know how you get on and share with me any tips for me to try out and “review”!

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most – Abraham Lincoln

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