“No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined”
~Harry E. Fosdick
Ridiculously Simple Steps to Transform Your Health (and Life) have been created to help you make improvements in your life using discipline and steps so small that it is impossible to fail.
You may well ask “what does discipline have to do with my health”? Ever since the world had access to light at the flick of a switch and pain killers that could kill pain in minutes, the world seems to have demanded instant gratification in all other areas of life too. The introduction of computers, mobile phones and text messaging only appears to have made matters worse. The current mode of living seems to be I want it, and I want it now! Discipline is the rejection of instant gratification in favour of something better. It is the giving up of instant pleasure and satisfaction for a higher and better goal. It is the ability to stick to actions, thoughts and behaviours, which lead to improvement and success. Self-discipline is self-control, and it manifests in spiritual, mental, emotional and physical ways which affects our health (and life). It endows us with inner strength which enables us to focus all our energy on a goal and persevere until it is accomplished – this is extremely important in regard to making decisions about our health and having the discipline to carry them through.
Each time we decide on a course of action we require discipline to carry it out, whether it is to lose weight, improve our physique through body building, embark on physical exercise or spend time and effort to maintain our relationships, building a business, changing habits, or embarking on self improvement in any way including meditation or other spiritual growth activities and even keeping and carrying out promises to ourselves and others – in everything, if we desire a positive outcome, we require discipline. One of the most simple (but not necessarily simple to execute) and effective methods to develop will power and self-discipline is by refusing to satisfy unimportant and unnecessary desires. Everyone is constantly confronted and tempted by an endless stream of desires and temptations, many of which are not really important or desirable. By learning to refuse to satisfy every one of them we will grow stronger. When we practice self-discipline we feel like we are in control of our lives. We feel content and motivated because we are moving toward our intended goal.
Recently I was at a business meeting and a candle was lit. Everyone was asked to close their eyes and focus on trying to snuff the candle out – just by thinking about it! It will be no surprise to you, that of course the candle did not “snuff” it and it required someone taking action to actively extinguish it. The moral of the story is of course, that things don’t happen just by thinking about them, and we can think all day about introducing discipline into our lives to help us achieve our goals (and this could be in regard to our health), but focusing all day, without discipline and action steps is like thinking we can extinguish that candle just by thinking about it.
We can strengthen our inner resolve and discipline by adding a good habit to our existing bad habits! This takes the focus off the bad habit and is especially true in relation to our eating habits. If there are foods that you definitely cannot think about giving up (at this moment) but you know that you would be healthier if you did, you could focus on introducing a healthy food to your meal – so if it is chips you desire, make sure you eat a piece of fruit first and gradually, gradually it is possible your desire for chips will reduce. In this way we use discipline in a positive sense because we are not focusing on what is negative (thinking about removing the chips) but rather adding a piece of fruit. Make sure it is a piece of fruit you really enjoy. In one of our earlier Ridiculously Simple Steps To Transform Your Health (and Life) we suggested eating a piece of raw fruit or vegetable before each meal and we have had some interesting feed back from people who have told us that this simple piece of advice (and discipline) on it’s own has led to improved health and gradual weight loss.
During most of our waking day we are confronted by simple decisions – will I get out of bed when the alarm goes off, will I have breakfast, will I walk to work, will I prepare some lunch, will I shower, will I make my bed, will I clean up after myself etc – all these actions require a level of discipline and by exercising discipline at these times we are preparing for moments that may require greater levels of discipline. If we tried to run a marathon without having practised we are sure to fail. The same is true with discipline – if we do not practise it regularly we have no hope of having it at our disposal when faced with bigger life challenges.
Discipline can be learnt like any other skill and is the key to personal improvement. Our inner power grows by constant practice, just as exercising increases our physical strength. It is the magical quality that opens doors and makes all else possible. People with strong self discipline are admired and respected and are able to achieve great success. Consider for a moment if you know of anyone whose achievements you admire that have not been won without personal discipline. People have overcome difficulties, learned new skills, reduced their weight or become a leader in their field and excelled where it seemed impossible – through discipline. Most of us know of people whose lives have been broken through lack of discipline even though they have had many opportunities through education and family connections. I have often mentioned to our children that if discipline could be store bought we would all have it in abundance!
Many years ago Thomas Huxley gave this piece of advice – “Do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.‘” It probably still applies!
This week’s Ridiculously Simple Steps To Transform Your Health (and Life) invites you to rate your level of discipline (on a scale of one to ten) in the following areas which will reveal any area that requires some attention – any positive improvements can’t help but affect your health and life.
* Business/ Career
* Family/ Friends
* Money/ Finances
* Recreation/ Fun
* Health/ Diet/ Exercise
* Faith/ Spiritual
* Personal/ Development
You are invited to leave comments and suggestions. Thankyou.