“When I start working out, it is so much easier for me to eat healthier,” you may have heard this or something similar, “When I start eating healthier, I am more motivated to work out.” This is how it is for a lot of people and why is that?
Once you decide to make one conscious decision to exercise discipline and make a healthier choice discipline gets a bit stronger (it’s like making a decision to have a stronger upper body – every correct pushup you perform increases your strength and you’ll begin to build muscular strength and endurance). Yes, this is the same with exercising discipline. Every decision you make to exercise discipline and make a better choice strengthens your ability to do so, and I am not just talking diet.
Discipline is a huge muscle, IN THE BRAIN therefore it possesses the ability to control a lot of functional movement. Therefore it is easier to workout consistently when you are eating healthy – discipline is being exercised. You exercise one area and build the strength to do 2 areas of your life. You exercise the 2 areas and build the strength to do 3 areas of your life. You exercise 3 areas and build the strength to do 4 areas… you eventually end up becoming this disciplined person who is succeeding at life.
Succeeding at life – I think that’s a pretty big statement. What does it mean and how do you judge it? For me, I had to decide what kind of life I wanted to live, who I wanted to be and then ask myself is the way I am living a reflection of this person/life. It didn’t all add up and some hard changes had to be made and honestly I didn’t have the strength to make these changes in the beginning…
Strength doesn’t just exist – it is built!
You can’t do it all at once. If you try to strengthen/change your whole life, you will fail – or should I say, most people will fail. Imagine someone who has never worked out doing 100 Burpees (total body exercise) in a row – #epicfail. What usually happens after a significant fail – self-loathing, discouragement, lack of confidence and motivation and extreme fatigue and/or a wallowing self-indulgence of everything that comes with an undisciplined life. It’s hard, it’s sad and sometimes it’s a cycle that isn’t broken because breaking it and being successful isn’t easy — possible, but not easy.
Truly successful people aren’t the smartest, craftiest, most connected, or even the most talented – Truly successful people are the most disciplined. This is why as a trainer I challenge clients to exercise their discipline.
Pick one area of your life to change and commit to sticking to it. It’s unimaginable to strengthen every weak, dark or broken place at once. Just identify one or two places that aren’t truly serving you. For example – late night ice cream. You want to lose weight but it is so comforting after a long day– it just makes you feel good. It’s unfortunate that momentary feel good is detrimental to the life you truly want to live. Therefore we have to find healthier “feel goods”. Running is one of my favorite feel goods – as is laughing. So I run before or after work to receive some of those “feel good” feelings and I go to bed earlier and remove myself from the option of late night ice cream. After making a healthy change, exercise/practice it over and over. This builds strength.
Expect muscle fatigue. Sometimes the muscle gets tired. This is to be expected. This is why you seek a lifestyle change and not a diet because if you haven’t changed, you’ll go back to doing the same old things. Changing habits and changing your life aren’t synonymous without intentionality. You have to know why you’ve made the change and be completely bought into it, knowing it operates as a catalyst to this ultimate life you want to live.
You can live the life you want live, be truly successful and enjoy it… you have to first decide what that is, then get after it!