A Quickie To Help Boost Your Motivation To Exercise & Eat Better. Wisdom That Will Transfer Across To Others Areas Of Your Life.
Widely regarded as the Father of modern psychology, William James noted in his book the principles of psychology in 1890, “when we look at creatures from an outward point of view, one of the things that strikes us is that they are bundles of habits”. James also noted that while the actions of most animals are automatic, and relatively limited and simple, because of our wide variety of desires and wants, humans have to consciously form new habits if we are to achieve certain results. The problem is that creating new, good habits requires work and application. James wrote that the key to good habits is to act decisively on the resolutions you make. You are the sum total of your habits and influences. In changing bad habits you don’t suffer, you reap the benefits. A friend of mine got into jogging to reduce his expanding waistline, but disciplined himself to start every day at the same time. While good habits are hard to develop, they become easy to adhere to; in contrast, bad habits come slowly and easily but are hard to live with. A good guide is the people in your circle of influence and who influence you and that you spend your time with. If you want to stop smoking, quit drinking and start getting up early, you will not achieve it by spending your nights in bars. You acquire habits by choices – choose good habits and they make you.
Choose bad habits and they break you. Our character, fundamentally, is a composite of our habits. Habits are influential factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often conscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character and produce our effectiveness or ineffectiveness. Bad habits wait on us forever. They don’t ever go away. They will always be there, just around the corner, lurking and looking for an opening.
If you’re addicted to food or alcohol or cigarettes or even the wrong person in your life, if you’ve got a bad habit of any kind, I don’t think it just disappears. If you stop setting goals for the future, if you start living in the moment again, that’s when those bad habits will push their way back into your life.
To develop a habit in our lives we need all three of the following
- Wisdom/Knowledge (what to do and why)
- Mastery/Skill (how to do)
- Desire (The motivation).
My job with my books and blogs is to help a bit and try to provide you with information that will lead to the Wisdom of what to do and why to do it in order to reach your dream. Also, my job is to provide you with the wisdom of how to do it, although mastery of the practical skills of actually doing it is down to you and you’re self-coaching.
To form a good habit you must be convinced that it is desirable. When your desire for the change is greater than your desire to continue with the old habit, you are already on the road to success.
Forming new better habits leads us to one of the most important habits you will need to develop in order to succeed.
Self-discipline is often ignored as one of the key reasons for success in improving your health and fitness and achieving your dream body. And in success in all areas of life.
Meet The Deltoid Demon
In cartoons you often see a character with a demon on one shoulder and an angel on the other stressing over a decision that has to be made. Both can offer you a convincing reason to follow their lead. The physically easier route is always to follow your demon. He will tell you not to work-out today, you are tired, you have done enough, you don’t need to train legs, you deserve doughnuts and chips and this once won’t hurt. He will follow up with suggesting you watch the television or have a nap or do what your friends are doing, as long as they are not doing anything healthy or strenuous, he will tell you there is no time or you have other things that are more important.
You will make a great team because the deltoid demon will tell you whatever it is you need to hear to justify not working out or eating badly. You will believe that this only happens to you and the obviously fit people don’t have the demons, well you are so wrong and the demons have fooled us on numerous occasions in the past. When he does fool you the trick is to bounce back more committed than before and learn to ignore the little beast, don’t let one demon encounter put you off for life. You learn that once you get moving and ignore him you gain the energy you need and an empowering feeling of triumph because you have disciplined yourself to follow your dreams against what seemed like insurmountable demon odds.
All joking aside though the fact is that without recognising you will need self-discipline you will never reach your goals. Saying, “I didn’t feel like it today” and any reasons used to excuse yourself from your chosen path become a habit just the same as any other repeated action, each time it seems to become harder and take longer to get back on track. Any gym computer will show you that once members lower their exercise consistency they soon stop exercising completely, the same will apply if you are exercising away from a gym environment. And, trust me on this one, there will never be a time when you regret ignoring your friendly deltoid demon and following your set challenges. Get up and get moving and he vanishes and you will start to feel energetic and human again.
The top of the list of natural mood enhancers is exercise. When your motivation is waning, it could be that your workout needs changing because you are just bored with the old one and have reached a sticking point in your progress. Nobody says you have to do the same thing all the time, recognise the fact that the more you learn the more flexibility you will have within your programmes to motivate you. Most of all recognise and accept that you will often not feel like doing what you need to do, you will need self-discipline. Don’t rely on others this is “SELF” Discipline. Most often the last thing you feel like doing is the thing you need to do most. “Change the way you think and the things you think about will change”. We love that idea and it is so effective, all you need is the awareness that your thoughts are in charge, to make it happen for you. Be consistent in your habits, keep a daily journal and you will succeed or have to explain to yourself why not, trust me it is easier and far more rewarding to just do it.
On a very positive note – the more your chosen behaviours become a habit the less self-discipline you will need to call on. I am often commended for my supreme self-discipline when it comes to exercising daily for over 45 years and some other good habits. But the truth is that my behaviours have become habitual and it is then easier to act that way than it is to act differently. A habit just happens – but to form it you will need to discipline yourself for as long as it takes until you one day realise you are no longer having to struggle to do whatever it is you have chosen to challenge yourself with..Adam x
To Summarise Self Discipline:
A habit you need to develop and develop is exactly how it will happen, self-discipline is like a muscle and the more you exercise it the stronger it will become.
Expect self-discipline to take that good old zig-zag route again with each perceived failure or as we know it with each episode of feedback you will get back on the fast track towards improving your self-discipline. Eventually, you will “just do it” because it is a habit you have developed and it would be more effort to stop. Your new behaviour has then become embodied and a crucial part of your chosen persona.
Don’t forget to give yourself a break and don’t beat yourself up if you have lapsed. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Self-discipline will happen just like any other habit, and you will never be perfect, so don’t even try as there is never any peace of mind in striving for perfection.
Listen to your own bull-shit excuses and justifications for not meeting your own expectations and see them for what they really are – your personal deltoid demon working against you.
When you look in the mirror you are seeing the embodiment of your habits and behaviours to date – the good news is – you can change the image by changing your habits consistently. Consistency is the key!Adam x