What is Self-discipline
Many personal qualities contribute to personal growth and happiness. But to sustain long-term success in every aspect of life, one must master the trait of self-discipline.
Motivation is great, but it’s here today and gone tomorrow, and up and down like a roller-coaster. Self-discipline helps you form habits that stick. Whether you’re procrastinating, using social media too much or just lazy, self-discipline will help you kick these habits.
Self-discipline is the willingness to accept physical, mental, and emotional discomfort.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “With self-discipline, most anything is possible.”
Successful people understand that discipline is the portal to the attainment of their intentions. The art of self-discipline creates a foundational set of good habits that can help anyone and will help you, to seek things through.
Discipline is developed through repetition. The problem with this, however, is that we often set ourselves up for failure by promising ourselves to go from zero to hero overnight. It doesn’t work that way. The best thing anyone can do is to use the micro-change approach.
Key: Start small, change gradually. Make progress in small increments, but keep doing it every day.
What will help you stick to your goal?
Whenever you aim for a goal or dream, ask yourself the “why”. We need to visualize our dreams. We need to silence negative voices, focus on who we want to be and what we think is right for us. Visualize, and then start making those choices, fueled by self-discipline.
Example: The desire is “I want to get into shape”. Why? Tell yourself why, or write out the benefits. “I want to get into shape because I want to live longer, I want to feel good about myself, I want to be there for my kids.”
Removing distractions is a crucial step to consistently improving your self-discipline. If you’re trying to take more control over your fitness/weight-loss goal, toss the junk food from your house. If you’re in the office and need to be more productive, learn to silence your phone. Set yourself up for success by removing the obstacles that are blocking the path to your goal.
Put off instant gratification to reach more long-term goals. Instant gratification is when “you want it, and you want it now”. Today, instant gratification has been put on a pedestal – literally, everything we want is at our fingertips. But true success and becoming who we truly want to do not come instantly. It takes time, patience, and discipline.
Other ways to improve self-discipline
Set clear goals
A clear plan outlines each step you must take to reach your finish line.
Don’t wait until it “feels right”
Changing habits and routines will feel awkward and uncomfortable. Breaking a bad habit needs to be an active decision – and it’ll feel wrong because your brain is programmed for old habits.
Meditation can put your mind at ease and set the right tone for the rest of the day. Mediating will also help you realize how often your mind is on auto-pilot, guiding you to unwanted habits.
An organized life is a disciplined life. Start small. For example, today, organize your desk drawer. Work to achieve organization in both your personal and professional life.
This is a no-brainer. Sleep is connected to one’s ability to discipline oneself. Getting enough sleep is a vital prerequisite to getting things done. If you struggle to get a decent night’s sleep, try naps!
Getting discouraged is easy, and giving up takes a lot less effort than pushing through a challenge. To develop self-discipline, be persistent in your desire to reach your goal and have a strong “why”.
The self-disciplined person spends less time debating about their behavior and makes positive decisions more easily. Disciplined people control their impulses and feelings, and act on rational decisions. They don’t overly stress or get upset about the future.
Self-discipline is a hidden gem that allows you to regain your life and freedom.
How do you practice self-discipline in your life?
Know Your Mistakes
We all make mistakes because we are not perfect – but take responsibility for all of them. Things happen. Lessons in life are there for a reason: so you can learn. Acknowledge your errors and move forward with this new wisdom.
There are 2 types of choices:
Ones we truly believe will lead to good
We make some choices because we hope they will be beneficial. But they don’t always turn out in our favor. For example, no one likes exams, but how else can you evaluate skills? You hammer out a bunch of hours studying but fall short of your due date. Now what? You thought your actions would lead to good results, but it didn’t. Now, it’s your responsibility to change and prepare longer for the next exam. You thought you’d done enough, but you missed the mark. And that’s okay. Take it as a lesson that will help you improve.
Ones we choose even though it is the lesser of two
These mistakes can get really nasty and come back to bite you if made repeatedly. Repetition is good, but not in this situation. Let’s say the situation before you decide to stay home and be productive – to catch up on bills – or go out for the night. You know you should probably stay in, and you know you will have plenty of opportunities to go out. But you decide to go out this time. And next time, and the next. Now you’re really behind, stuck in an endless game of catch-up. The sooner you get out of that situation, the better off you will be.
Know which mistakes you are making, and why. Be mindful of your mistakes. They will happen, so it’s your job to benefit from them and promote change in your life. By realizing and acknowledging your mistakes, you learn and grow as an individual. This is how you succeed in life and become the person you strive to be.
Benefits of Meditation
The benefits of meditation are no longer a secret.
Have you ever wondered why the happiest, most successful people practice meditation? The answer is simple: when adequately developed, meditation yields benefits such as self-awareness, better concentration, and lower stress levels.
Meditation involves focusing on the present moment, breathing, and being in touch with your body sensations. Most people use their minds all day long. Doesn’t your mind deserve a break? Just like any part of your body, it needs a rest from constant thinking.
Our thoughts are a huge distraction that affects our quality of life. Your thoughts do everything possible to distract you. They make you chase them down and give them attention. As your day carries on, you get completely lost in thought, without realizing you haven’t had a chance to tap into your inner self. Our body and mind are on constant autopilot.
Just imagine how many thoughts you have on a daily basis. If you have so much running around in your mind, how can you realize who you are within?
If you’re thinking of starting meditation, consider some of its benefits:
Meditation reduces stress
Managing stress is a common reason why people try meditation. The latest neurobiological research shows that mediation affects the amygdala, the “fight or flight” area of the brain (1). The amygdala filters emotions such as anxiety, fear, and stress. That area of the brain shrinks when you practice meditation, which correlates to a reduction in stress levels.
High-stress levels also correlate with higher levels of cortisol. This hormone increases inflammation, which promotes anxiety, fatigue, and disrupts sleep. An eight-week study found that meditation reduces stress-related inflammation (2).
The typical coping strategies for anxiety are to “take a time-out” or “take a few deep breaths.” These two strategies are basically what meditation encompasses, but with more effectiveness. When we get anxious, we’re usually concerned about the future. An eight-week study found that mindfulness meditation helped to reduce anxiety and other anxiety-related disorders such as phobias, social anxiety, and paranoid thoughts (3).
Mind and Performance
Meditation allows you to focus your thoughts on an object or sound, rather than on trying to achieve a more precise mind to focus. In one study, students practiced meditation for 20 minutes a day and showed improvement in their cognitive skills (4). Some students did ten times better than the control group that did not meditate.
Strengthens you against pain
If you apply the same pain stimuli to the same body part, wouldn’t you feel the same amount of pain? In a study of the Journal of Neuroscience, led by Fadel Zeidan, Ph. D, volunteers attended four 20-minute meditation courses. Heat at 120 degrees was applied to their calves, and the results showed that 57 percent of them felt less unpleasant pain and 40 percent less intense pain (5). Maybe meditation will be part of the future treatments as we work to address America’s opioid crisis!
Meditation helps manage ADHD
I think we all have a little ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) because of our highly active lifestyles and addictions to technology. In a study with 50 adult ADHD patients, the use of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy resulted in a reduction in hypersensitivity and reduced impulsivity (5).
Emotional well-being is vital if we are to meet the demands of society and function in our everyday lives. Eating better, positive thinking, and exercise are crucial to well-being. A study conducted at the University of Utah with 38 subjects linked meditation to greater emotional stability, better self-rated emotional control, and lower pre-sleep arousal (6).
Reduced blood pressure
Some 75 million American adults have high blood pressure – that’s 1 in 3 adults (7)! High blood pressure puts you at risk of heart disease and stroke. No wonder it’s called the “silent killer”! After using an experimental technique called “relaxation response,” two-thirds of patients with high blood pressure showed a significant drop in blood pressure, which resulted in less need for medication (8).
Meditation for loneliness, depression
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses; it affects 16 million American adults each year (9). Researchers at UCLA showed a decrease in loneliness and depression in seniors who participated in an 8-week meditation program (10). Similarly, in a study of 400 students aged between 13 and 20 in Belgium, students followed a mindfulness program, and afterward reported reduced depression, anxiety, and stress (11). These results persisted six months after the mindfulness program ended.
How to enjoy the benefits
There’s no doubt that meditation is beneficial – but can you get results from just one session? Probably not. To receive the full benefits of meditation, you have to incorporate it into your daily life. It only takes a few minutes a day. Soon enough, you’ll love emptying your thoughts, and meditation will become the best part of your day!
Is Sugar Toxic?
Just take a moment to realize how often you consume sugar.
You add sugar to your morning cup of tea or coffee. You add it to your fruit or oatmeal to give it that “flavor.” How about the sugar that you consume without even realizing in ketchup, sodas, and candy?
Many experts say that sugar is one of the most harmful substances we can ingest. Take a look at western culture, where obesity and diabetes are on the rise. According to the American Heart Association, the limit for added sugar should be no more than six teaspoons of sugar for women and nine teaspoons for men (1) (One teaspoon is 5g). In the United States, the average person consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day (2)!
What is sugar?
Sucrose is the scientific name for sugar. Sucrose is naturally made by plants, through photosynthesis. During the refining process, we remove the sugary sap from the plants to produce that beautiful white, crystal, sweet sugar. The sucrose molecule is made up of two parts: glucose and fructose. For this blog post, we will focus on fructose.
Glucose comes from starches like potatoes, rice, and bread. Every cell on the planet has glucose in it. It’s vital to us. Glucose is the primary source of fuel for every cell in your body. On the other hand, fructose is not needed. Fructose can only be metabolized in the liver; any excess is converted into fat, which is then stored in the liver (3). A prevalent form of fructose is high fructose corn syrup.
What does sugar do to our bodies?
We know that the average western diet brims with excess sugar and that we are overloading our bodies with it. The bad news is that our body is not made to process excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. Here’s what you get when you consume too much sugar:
Zero nutritional value
Added sugar is empty calories. I’m sure you’ve heard it a hundred times, but it’s worth repeating. There are no nutrients – like proteins, vitamins, and minerals – in sugar that are needed by the human body. Feeling fatigued? Maybe you’re nutrient-deficient and need more iron.
A damaged liver
Overconsumption of excess sugar or fructose produces effects much like those of excess alcohol consumption. When fructose is not used up, the liver turns it into fat in the form of cholesterol. Over a prolonged time, this leads to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (4). Studies show that individuals with this condition consume 2-3 times as much fructose as the average person (5).
Fructose doesn’t stimulate the body’s appetite-control hormone, so it fails to excite insulin, which turns off ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.” This has a domino effect that fails to stimulate the production of leptin, the “starvation hormone.”
The bottom line is that different foods have different effects on our brains, which control our hunger and the number of calories we consume (6).
Type II diabetes
Consistently high levels of blood sugar make our pancreas work harder to produce insulin. Eventually, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand; the result is insulin resistance. Western culture loves just to take a pill and “fix things,” but insulin resistance only gets worse, and patients typically move from using tablets to insulin injections.
So stop being lazy – and make a long-lasting change by making healthier food choices!
Increased cancer risk
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, with 8.8 million deaths in 2015 alone (9). Cancer is an uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in the body. Many scientists believe that consistently elevated insulin levels, due to excess sugar consumption, can contribute to cancer (10).
Eating a lot of sugar over time can cause you to gain weight gradually. Sugar isn’t indirectly tied to cancer, but there is evidence showing that overweight people have an increased risk of 13 types of cancers (11).
Other effects of fructose
- Increased levels of uric acid in the blood, which leads to gout and high blood pressure (12).
- Sugar addiction (13).
- An urge to over-consume and gain weight (14).
You get the point by now. SUGAR IS BAD. Acknowledge that sugar is your real enemy and that it isn’t necessary to your enjoyment of life. Sugar is keeping you from living a vibrant life by endangering your health.
The health world can sometimes be a confusing place. Take time to digest all this information and gradually start making healthier eating habits. Can you put a price on health and happiness?
What is Mindfulness?
How can mindfulness benefit your life?
Let’s first understand the opposite, Mindlessness.
Have you ever driven your car to a destination only to realize you can’t recall how you arrived there? Most of us have!
According to research, by psychologists at Harvard University, the average person is on autopilot 47% of the time. These mind-wandering most people perform is a daydreaming state. In this busy hyper-connected world we live in we fail to notice the true meaning of being alive. This mind-wandering is always thinking about the past or the future. Mindlessness makes us susceptible to anxiety, stress, and depression.
A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.
So, what is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the state of being consciously aware, to be aware moment-by-moment of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. It is the fundamental human ability to be fully present, no matter what we are doing or where we are.
If you take time to realize where your mind is throughout the day, you will realize it’s stuck in the past or future. Our minds are filled with worry and planning, being upset about what happened or didn’t happen. We are blasting through the day, squeezing the present moment to make time someplace else. Day to day we rush to work, school, shopping, eating, and checking our phone. When do you take time to be grateful, be in peace, and be with the present?
Mindfulness is a natural quality we all have. When we practice mindfulness we’re practicing the craft to form space for ourselves. Quieting your loud mind gives you space to think, breath, and not excessively be overwhelmed by what’s happening.
- Decreased stress
- Enhanced performance
- Gain insight/self-awareness
- Increased attention to others
- Increased clarity and perception
- Lowered anxiety level
Things to keep in mind:
Remember, being mindful is available to you at all times. Your mind is always with you; you just need to choose when to become aware. Start small, for example, take time out of your busy life to find a small area, silence your phone, and just breathe. Focus on your breathing and become aware of it. Breathing deeply and smoothly is an easy, effective way to be more present. Think of it as a quick reset in your day.You will immediately feel calmer and less stressed. Eventually, you will become aware of your thoughts and without any judgment allow them to float, like a cloud out of your mind. Commit to taking time each day to sit and be still. Make it a habit!
Whatever practice you do develop, practice it! Be mindful not mind full.
Healthy Start to Your 2021
No one likes a bad beginning. Have the start of 2021 be a healthy one.
Start your morning off with water
The first thing in your body should be water; it’s refreshing. Drinking water flushes out any leftover toxins from the night and day before. It wakes up your gut and organs, and it lets the body know it’s time to start working. Drinking water in the morning also aids in weight loss by making you feel fuller. After all, we are 60% water.
Exercise workout, gym, & weights
The best way to get into shape is to work out. Incorporate strength training along with your aerobic exercises, including lifting weights and cardio into your daily or weekly routine. Now is the best time to start and progress through 2021. If you work out, now is a good time to change up your routine and get out of that plateau.
If you’ve been slacking on your nutrition now is the best time to get back on track. It’s January, and it’s winter, the adhesion to unhealthy carbs is at an all-time high. Cold weather makes you want to stay in and eat. Make sure that hunger is satisfied with plenty of nutritionally dense foods. Try and increase the number of fruits and vegetables this year and lay off the sugars, if you’re looking for a challenge try going vegan for 30 days or even intermittent fasting.
Never tried it? Make this year be the year of change and try it out. It’s quick and easy. Just relax, breathe, and calm your mind. Try and clear your thoughts, it’s hard in the beginning because your mind is full of racing thoughts. Give yourself a few minutes of silence and ease your tension.
See Your Doctor or Dentist
When you seek financial advice, you see a Financial Advisor. To evaluate your health and well being you need to see a Doctor and Dentist. These people are medical professionals and can assist you with almost anything health-related. Don’t make this a chore, make this a way to evaluate your health and progress.
I’m still trying to figure out why cigarettes exist and how they are still legal. Quitting smoking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. Not only will it make your body healthier it will also teach you how to break bad habits, promote determination, and self-control.
New year, new goals. Make this year be the year that brings out the healthy in you. You will have a healthier body, a more attractive physique, and a better outlook on life.