Are You Ready to Build Self-Discipline?
Welcome to this week's episode of It Takes Grit! I am fired up for today's episode because we are talking about how to build self-discipline when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Have you ever found it challenging to build self-discipline? Well, I'm going to give you the keys and tools today to help you break through barriers and set yourself up for self-discipline success.
When it comes to food and exercise, I know how hard it is to stick to a particular regime, so I'm going to share a couple of points that have really helped me. I'm excited to help you because once you have self-discipline, you get more motivated. In fact, you won't even need motivation anymore because it will just become your habit.
How would you feel if you could have that discipline inside of you every day? Before we even jump into the four tools, it’s important to recognize that it's okay to slip up once in a while. Our aim is to build a lifestyle where we wake up and don't have to get motivated anymore — it's just an embedded self-discipline inside of you. So what are the secrets to getting disciplined?
Let’s jump straight in!
Create a Routine
The first tool comes from building a routine — this is when our fitness and nutrition become part of our lives rather than something separate we feel we ‘have to do.’
If we're all over the place, we have no structure and no routine — and what happens then is we fall out of our good habits because we don't have things planned. So, the first thing to do is create a routine.
This is my real secret, and routine doesn't mean you have to be the same thing every single day. If you have got a variation of things that happen in your life where you've got to take kids to school, or you have a club that you've joined, it's okay to be flexible — you can look at your whole month and create a routine that can incorporate everything that needs to be done. Even if you prepare a routine weekly, it still doesn't have to be the same thing every single day. Maybe Monday, Wednesday, Friday, you work out in the morning, and on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, you work out in the afternoon.
Most important though, is that as long as you have your workouts in your diary and it's scheduled, you have a better chance of building a routine. Remember, you can plan what you need to do over the month that fits in with your life schedule and becomes part of your life.
That's your first piece of homework — looking over the whole month, whatever month we are in right now, and see where there are gaps in your calendar or diary when you can schedule a workout! It sounds so simple, but if we don't write it down or if we don't schedule it, it doesn't happen.
I want you to add in all of those areas where you're going to do your workout and build consistency. It's not every single day you're working out at a different time, perhaps it's a few of those days where you are working out at two, others where you’re working out at 10,, but we can start seeing the consistency building over the week. Create the schedule for the month, and have that locked in.
Just as you’ve planned your workout, it’s equally important to schedule your fun and the nights to go out for dinner. Can you build a schedule around when you are going to eat healthily? Absolutely! As an example, last week I went out three times in a row for dinner, something I don't normally do eating out that many times in a week. When I go out to eat, I pick whatever I want because that's my time to relax and enjoy eating and have fun without putting myself under unnecessary stress to change the menu to suit my healthy eating habits.
This includes enjoying some alcoholic drinks, and maybe even a cheeky dessert! After three days though, I could feel it in my body, so I thought that in the future I either shouldn't go out for three dinners in a row or I should be a little bit more conservative with what I'm eating on one of those days when I go out. See? I'm still learning and growing! But having that in your schedule and knowing when you're going to have the fun and go out for dinner helps plan for things like that.
With regards to your nutrition plan — when can you meal prep? When can you order on Instacart? If you visit a grocery store, where are you getting your groceries, and what healthier snack options can you choose? Put that all in your diary, and it won't feel like such a big deal. Make it as easy as possible to stick to your schedule rather than relying on motivation to work out or eat healthily. Keep doing this until it becomes part of your routine, and when things become part of your routine, they become a habit.
When you put your routine in your diary and you follow through because you have that integrity, that's how you build self-discipline.
Great — let’s take a look at tool number two.
Know When to Celebrate
We must know when to celebrate! If you are looking to lose 20 pounds and you’re already five pounds down — give yourself a celebration! Whether it's just dancing around the house, going out for dinner to your favorite place, or maybe it's getting a new pair of yoga pants — whatever it is, we have to celebrate and recognize that we have done something great. The reason that we do that is to build more self-discipline because we have a reason to do it. This builds consistency to lose that next five pounds and to do another five pounds, and soon you will be even more motivated because you keep progressing in the right direction.
Whether you celebrate with actions or experiences, what that does is sends signals in our brain that we get rewarded for what we set out to achieve. This is all part of building our routine so that eventually it will just be part of our lifestyle and we won’t need motivation anymore. I really think that there is a big shift between motivation and then not needing to feel motivated anymore because you have that self-discipline with exercise and nutrition. It's just what I do because I know how it makes me feel when I eat healthily and it's part of my routine.
Let’s move along on to tool number three!
Give Yourself Grace
Have you ever messed up or skipped a workout? We all have! Instead of beating yourself up about it, let's learn from it, let's remember how that feels, and choose to move forward with grace. We all have days where we really don’t feel like exercising — no problem, just ask yourself if it was because you just didn't feel like it or if your body was telling you to slow down. These are two very different things, and sometimes even if you're trying to slow down, you must recognize your body and how it feels.
Give yourself grace when you have not shown up for your workout and when you haven't done your meal planning. Just take a deep breath and know it's not the end of the world. Take some time to recognize how it makes you feel.
Then sit down and make a plan to change that behavior because it doesn't feel good when I skip my workouts. It doesn't feel good when I skip prepping for my meal plans. Give yourself grace, and acknowledge how that made you feel rather than beating yourself up or getting angry at yourself. As I said earlier, we're always going to make more mistakes and we're always going to slip up — it's just part of being human.
Now, let’s take a look at the last tool and one of the most important ones to take some time thinking about.
What Can You Stick To?
Remember — the goal is never an endpoint, it’s a lifestyle, and that requires discipline. I know for me, if I have to measure macros and count my calories and my plan is super rigid, that’s something I won’t do forever.
I like a lifestyle choice that I can actually maintain, and that's why I love a nutrition plan. It's simple, it's easy, it's not focused on calories, it's focused on protein and getting my body the right nutrition. That's what has worked for me over the last eight years since 2013 when I started on my nutrition plan, and I’ve been able to stick to it. If you can't stick to something, it's going to be really hard to build self-discipline for something that you don’t enjoy short-term — never mind into the future!
Think about what you can sustain going well into your fifties, sixties, and your even seventies! What are you going to be able to do when you are that age that you can do right now? Constantly switching from one diet to another might work now, but after a few years, ask yourself if it’s something you can maintain for the rest of your life.
It’s the same with workouts — if you're doing workouts that you think are going to get new results, but you do not like doing them, you're not going to be motivated to keep working out because you hate it. Find what you love, find a plan that is healthy, that you can do long-term, and then remember why you are doing this. Always bring yourself back to this question of why do we do something. Why do we want to be disciplined? Why do we want to have that motivation? Is it because you want to be a role model? Is it because you want to have a healthy life? Is it because you want to treat your body with the best in nutrition and you want to move your body because it's good for your joints and your heart?
These are the things we need to think about in the phase of building discipline. Discipline is the muscle inside of your brain that makes you do something without needing to psych yourself up and get ready or watch podcasts or videos to get motivated — it's just something that's inside of you. That comes from doing it until that muscle memory is inside and it’s part of your daily life.
Building that self-discipline comes from creating a routine, it comes from giving yourself grace when you make a little mistake and it comes from finding something that you can really stick to — and remember to celebrate when you've had those successes!
Final Thoughts and Next Steps
These are my tips to build the kind of self-discipline with food and exercise you’ve always dreamed of. Get your diaries out, get your Google calendar out, and start putting the plan into action on paper. And then guess what? You just follow through with whatever you said to do that day. That’s it! I know how daunting creating a plan can be — that’s why I created the BTES app to take all the guesswork out and to work with a team of experts focused on creating your dream lifestyle specific to your needs, taking into account where you are already on your journey. We’re here to help you build self-discipline to break through some barriers and crush your goals.
You can also head over to rebecca-louise.com to learn more about nutrition and exercise and even join our free 5 Day Better You Program if you’re just getting started.
Thank you for spending time with me today! I hope this helped you and that you took at least one thing away. If you did, I’d love to hear from you. You can tag me on Instagram, @rebeccalouisefitness, or subscribe to my YouTube Channel and leave a comment under the video! Share this with somebody if they are struggling to find a routine or with their self-discipline, and you get to be that hero in that person's life today.
See you next time.
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