Do you need discipline?
This is a topic that comes up often when I talk to friends, clients, and people in the wellness industry at large. Every time we talk about getting in better shape and eating healthy, someone brings up discipline.
For many people, in order to change their nutrition and improve their fitness, they believe discipline is needed. Also, many people who have a healthy lifestyle say being discipline is one of the X factors to making health part of your flavor, your nature.
But I disagree with this, discipline is needed only when the desire to indulge is still present…
In other words, discipline is needed when one you are divided within, one side wants to eat healthy and get in shape, and another side, the cookie monster, wants to indulge in unhealthy food and stay inactive.
When this situation is going on, you might think that discipline, the application of a mental force to direct your attention and action is needed.
So yes, in this case, you might need some discipline. But I want you to understand that people who have a healthy lifestyle, go to the gym regularly are not really using any discipline. A healthy lifestyle is not driven by discipline, it’s fluid, it’s second nature, it’s easy.
So don’t give to much credit of willpower to people who have a healthy lifestyle, because it’s almost automatic for them.
And this is why for many people, they see being healthy, fit and eating well as a chore because they associate discipline with a form of violence. But as I said, if you are split inside, and not all in yet on adopting a healthy lifestyle, you might need some discipline… But be careful,
Because there is a bad type and a good type of discipline. This is important to your success in fitness and nutrition.
Let’s go over the two forms of disciplines:
the bad type of discipline is a form of self-repression. You repress your craving and urges to eat unhealthy food, it’s a form of self-violence, you force yourself to go to the gym, even though you don’t want to. And this is why so many people end up quitting diets and going to the gym because repression can never work for long, it creates more tension inside.
Repressive discipline on the surface works to accomplish goals, but within, you remain divided, the cookie monster is still there, you didn’t transform him, help him grow and understand…No, you didn’t,
Instead, you imprisoned him and your personality is lessen…
But there is a good form of discipline, which is applying some focus on your thoughts and actions. Because you are not all in yet, a healthy lifestyle is not spontaneous yet, so you want to be super alert that your old habits and thoughts don’t sidetrack you…you are making sure, every day, the healthy side of you is in the driver seat.
You are not fighting against the cookie monster here.
The repressive kind of discipline will always lead you to relapse because it creates more and more tension and division inside within, you will get some results and fall back, that’s a cycle many people go through year after year…
But the good discipline can lead you to a state where eating healthy and being active is spontaneous, it’s natural, you don’t need to apply discipline anymore, you actually like it, it’s a part of your identity.
The way to go from good discipline to no discipline with your nutrition and fitness is to resolve your inner divisions, reflect on why a part of you still wants to eat unhealthy…
Reflect and think about the good aspect of eating healthy and exercise, come up with 20-30 reasons on how it’s going to improve your life, then do the same with eating unhealthy…The more you understand deep down why the cookie monster has to merge into the healthy you, the less discipline you are going to need to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Always remember that health is synonymous with being whole, being all in, undivided within.
I’m often told, you are so disciplined with your lifestyle… But that’s not true, I’m not disciplined at all. It’s easy for me to go to the gym at 10 pm at night on a Friday after work… It’s easy to be out with friends and eat healthy, it’s as easy as drinking a cup of water.
I haven’t used discipline with my nutrition and fitness in the past 10 years.
I have always been active in sports since I was a kid, but nutrition and exercising wasn’t part of my lifestyle. But in college, I started to read books away from school and thinking about what I wanted to do after.
So when I started to write down my goals, health and fitness took the center stage, not because I wanted to work in this industry, nope, but because I had a clear realization that whatever I wanted to accomplish in life, I would need to be in perfect physical and mental shape.
Once this was understood deep down, the execution part of it was easy, because it’s what I wanted, I was all in, my commitment was crystalized.
The cookie monster was gone.
No discipline is real power…not power over yourself, but because you are unified, you move as whole so what you want to do is go beyond discipline, but if you need to use discipline, don’t use repression.
It’s up to you