I was talking to a friend at the gym yesterday and he told me how he finally feels like exercise is a regular part of his life. He said he would love to get better at eating healthy but was having a hard time. I told him it was a question of self-discipline. Maybe you can help me get this post around to him.
The word discipline originates from the meaning “to separate”.
We have natural desires for whatever is easy, quick or fun. The fitness industry is built on selling to our natural desires with 20 day weight-loss programs or funky workouts that seem effective but do nothing for the longterm.
The change needs to happen internally.
Self-discipline depends upon conscious awareness of our actions and the ability to separate yourself from your natural desires.
It’s not easy but this separation it the only thing that will bring you sustainable, long-term success in all aspects of your life. I used to think self-discipline took away from my freedom but the opposite is true. Self-disipline allows you to master things that bring you more joy.
Maybe you want to write a blog, exercise, eat healthy, start meditating – each one of these activities opens doors for more opportunities.
I once met a business man at a networking event. He was complaining about his weight as he ate a plate of pasta in front of me. When I told him that dropping the pasta would be a good start, he claimed he “felt” good eating pasta so it must have been good for him.
Self-satisfaction alone can’t determine if a desire or action is positive or negative, you need to think “does the action ultimately results in positive or negative consequence.” You need to know what you want in the long-term based on your values and use reason to determine the best course of action regardless of one’s desires – which may not be exciting.
Weight lifting is a great example of what it takes. You can’t gain muscle over night. You don’t just hit one big workout and get buff. Gaining muscle comes from showing up day after day for years. At first there’s pain mentally and physically but it subsides over time. The weight you lift on day one is always much easier on day 30.
It takes the awareness to separate desire from effective action. Excuses will arise but you must restrain from your desires. Every time you do, you’ll get that much stronger.
Also published on Medium.