If you had to rate your level of self-discipline on a scale of 1 to 10...how would your rate yourself? Have that number in your head? Good. Now, I want to get a little more specific. Think of any area that you perform well in...it could be work, school, community service, how would you rate your level of discipline in that area? I bet that number is high than the first number that came to mind...isn't it? I often hear those that have a desire to lose weight or get in shape declare they are not disciplined. And yet, everyone has at least one area in their life in which they exhibit this wonderful character.
You may be disciplined in your occupation, in keeping your household running smoothly, in managing your finances, or in your volunteer efforts, the reality is that EACH OF US has an area of discipline strength. And the good news is, we can capitalize on that...we can leverage our strength in that area to be successful in health and fitness. And the fact that we excel in that area means that contrary to what we may sometimes think, we DO have what it takes to develop discipline in this and other areas. If we did it before, we CAN do it again! But how do we do that?
I would propose to you that it all boils down to 3 simple, but perhaps not easy steps...
1. Start small. We often have a tendency to try and" boil the ocean: like one of my former bosses often says. Think about that for a moment...how possible is that...boiling the ocean? :). You may be laughing with me but I know that I am often guilty of attempting to and you may be too. Trying to change everything at once can be a daunting and overwhelming task. Instead, try taking small steps...work up to 10 minutes of exercise a day then continue to build. Start by focusing on having a healthy breakfast...you soon see how good that feels and can add on more. What small step can you take today?
2. Expect to succeed, plan for setbacks. While I would love to tell you that once you make the commitment to get healthy and fit that you won't ever lapse back into old habits, that's not realistic. We're not perfect people and so we must plan for imperfection. Decide now what your coping strategies will be when you have an emotional eating bout or are tempted to skip your normal day at the gym. You know how the saying goes...if you fail to plan, you...you know the rest! Based on past experiences, what area are you most likely to be challenged in? What can and will you do when faced with that situation?
3. Recognize that this is a process, not an event. What I mean by this is it will take time. More than a day or two, more than a week or two...for most of us it takes a solid 30 days to build a habit and even then there will be a good days and not so good days. Keep the faith and keep pushing ahead! Do you have a tendency to be impatient? Don't worry, you're not alone, I can be too. When those feelings of "it's not happening soon enough appear, remind yourself that just as a seed take time to grow, change takes time.
I can't promise you it will be easy, but I can promise you that it will be worth it. You're worth the investment! I hope that you believe that, because I do.
Originally published: September 13, 2013
coach tam's Blog
40-something who loves food, fitness, and fun!