In my line of work, the health, fitness, and nutrition industry, and as an athlete, the word discipline gets thrown around all the time. People seem to think because I typically eat healthy, I get all my training in and work out daily, and I race a lot as an athlete, that I am a very disciplined person.
I don’t believe that anyone is naturally a more disciplined or undisciplined person.
I believe that discipline is a skill that we can all practice, learn, and get better at.
The other day at the pool, I was thinking about the concept of discipline. I was breathing on “twos”, which for you non-swimmers out there means that I was breathing to the right side every time my head and body turn to the right (ever 2 arm strokes). This isn’t the most effective or efficient way to swim, but for me it’s the easiest. A harder way is to breathe on threes or fours or fives or sixes which means I have to hold my breath longer and breathe on opposite sides (called bilateral breathing), which for me means I have to work a little harder and focus a little bit more.
So I challenged myself to breathe on threes or fours for the entire next set and I kept saying to myself “practice discipline in the small things in your life so that it’ll be easier to be disciplined in the big things in your life”.
Practice discipline in the small things so that it will be easier in the big things. So basically in the grand scheme of life it really doesn’t matter if I breathe on twos, but breathing on threes or fours is more of a challenge so I am practicing discipline.
Then when something that actually matters in life comes up, such as skipping a work out or doing the work out, I have practiced and gotten better at discipline and it will make it easier for me to just do the work out rather than skip it.
So here is your homework for today:
Throughout the day, if there something that you think you should do or that could move you toward the life that you really want (but maybe don’t really feel like doing it), I challenge you to do it.
Even if it’s something super simple and small such as choosing a salad over French fries as your side dish at the drive-through. Or choosing water over soda at the gas station when you’re thirsty. Or if you’re trying to save money, filling up your water bottle with tap water instead of buying it. Or choosing to park far away from the office instead of close so that you need to walk a few extra steps. Or choosing to turn off the TV after one show and get an extra half an hour of sleep. Or choosing to set your alarm without the snooze option to get up and get your day moving. Or choosing to adding spinach in your shake for breakfast in the morning. Or choosing to say no to something that isn’t that big a deal but you really didn’t want to do it. Etc, Etc, Etc!! GOT IT?
Once you get used to being disciplined in the small seemingly insignificant choices that you make each and every day, when a big or more important decision comes up, it will be easier for you to choose wisely it’ll be easier for you to be disciplined in that choice as well.
I would love to hear about your tiny successes just like mine I had in the pool the other day, because your successes in being disciplined in the small things AND the big things will inspire me and others to start making better decisions and choices in their own lives.
We all need the inspiration and motivation to be disciplined, if it was an easy choice it wouldn’t be called discipline!
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