I feel like when a lot of us hear the term “self-discipline”, there’s often a daunting feeling that comes with it. It’s my goal for that to change, not only for myself furthermore, but for all of us. Self-discipline is the key to succeeding in many areas of life: health, career, relationships, and even recreation (I’ll explain more on that one later because I know it sounds weird).
The first one I want to talk about and really focus on in this blog is health, and quite frankly, I feel like it’s probably the most commonly associated area of life with self-discipline. Working out, diet, recovery, and habits like smoking or drinking are what first come to mind. And for some reason, I feel that self-discipline is somehow viewed as a necessary villain. We know it’s right or good for us, but we despise it all the same. My challenge for us is to view it differently.
When we workout, eat healthy, and get enough rest, we feel great. Or, at least we feel a lot better than we do when we’re slacking in one of those areas. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know it’s the truth, because we know how it feels.
When it comes to working out, we always feel better after we’ve put in the work instead of sitting on the couch or being stagnant. Those endorphins that come from physical training feel incredible. When we skip out on putting in the work, we not only feel worse physically, but also mentally. There’s just something so positively empowering about knowing we didn’t give in to laziness – we put in the work, even when we didn’t feel like it. Doing this consistently over time builds what? Yes, it builds self-discipline. This paired with the proper diet, also builds an ideal physique that can boost our confidence and performance. When our bodies are stagnant for a consistent period of time, they begin to deteriorate. The muscles weaken and the joints lose mobility. Our bodies are meant to move. Let’s remember that and not take it for granted. Each day we have to move about freely is a gift, so we must graciously use it!
So let’s talk about diet next. When it comes to our diet, we always feel better when we put healthy foods in our bodies. Fast food and “cheat” meals or desserts may sound good to us in the moment, and may taste incredible, but if we indulge too often, we end up paying for it. Our health suffers, our energy levels are off, even our mood and mental health can be affected. I’m not saying we can’t enjoy a treat, an alcoholic beverage, or our favorite cheat meal ever again. I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is we have to prioritize our health by making healthy food choices on a consistent basis, and then we can mix in our cheats and treats accordingly. Self-accountability and self-discipline come hand in hand. If we hold ourselves accountable to following a healthy diet consistently over time, it builds what? It builds self-discipline and a healthy, high-functioning body.
I feel like the easiest or most obvious negative feeling to identify is when we don’t get enough rest. We feel exhausted. We don’t feel motivated. We’re often irritable. We’re more vulnerable to contracting illnesses. And we are definitely not in our best mental state. So why do we all do it? Why do we sacrifice proper rest for one more episode of a show we’re binging or to aimlessly scroll through social media?! The answer sounds so overly simplified, but the answer is to stop! Turn off the tv or the device, and get that rest. Our bodies need to recharge to operate at a high level, and consistently living on a low battery eventually takes its toll. Our physical activity and diet directly affect our ability to rest, so this is a holistic approach. We have to be self-disciplined in each of these areas to achieve the desired outcome.
I started with addressing how self-discipline should correlate with our health, because not only do I feel it is it most commonly associated, as I previously stated, but also because I believe it is the necessary foundation that needs to be established for self-discipline to infiltrate the other areas of our life in a positive way. Without our health, what do we have? Without our health, it’s far more difficult to have a successful career, fulfilling relationships, or even to enjoy recreational activities.
That self-discipline required to live a healthy life is the same self-discipline required to have a successful career. Success, or at least sustainable success, isn’t built by taking shortcuts. The necessary hard work and relentless effort are aimless without self-discipline, or better yet, refined self-discipline. As we learn and grow, we must adapt by adjusting our system to reflect our newly gained knowledge. This refinement process over time leads to success.
If we lack self-discipline in our relationships, it’s very difficult to have healthy relationships. Relationships are built on trust, and if we can’t even trust ourselves to hold up our end of the relationship, how can someone else? Self-discipline is a crucial foundation for a successful, healthy relationship. Consistently holding up our end of the relationship not only builds trust, it shows we have a healthy respect for the other person and ourselves.
Are you picking up on a theme yet? If not, let me be blunt. Self-discipline is not the enemy, it is our friend. It is the key to success. It’s even the key to truly joyful and fulfilling recreation. How so?! If we constantly choose pleasure over healthy discipline, those pleasures eventually stop being as pleasurable. If we constantly eat treats, they’re no longer a treat, they are our failing diet. If we constantly take time off instead of putting in the work, we most likely end up failing in our endeavor. If we constantly choose substances to make us feel better or to escape reality, we develop detrimental habits. I believe self-discipline leads to gratitude, and a perspective of gratitude allows us to truly enjoy life. It allows us to appreciate and enjoy rest, success, and the ability to work hard. It allows us to respect ourselves.
Self-discipline builds self-respect, which builds healthy self-love.
There’s a difference between self-love and self-indulgence, remember that. If we want to truly love ourselves and others well, we will learn to love self-discipline.Stay Disciplined. Stay LFTD.