As I build a more disciplined life, I understand why discipline equals freedom.
As you build more discipline, you start to feel more free. I know that doesn’t make sense on the surface. Wouldn’t being more disciplined lead to fewer choices? Nope, in fact, the exact opposite.
Almost every day, I drink two cups of espresso – never after midday. I’ve built this habit and it’s now easy to do. It requires no thought or effort. If I ever break it, it’s an intentional choice and worth it.
But, I used to drink at least ten cups of tea from the moment I woke up, to going to bed. I could never resist a double espresso after a big meal out at a restaurant. I tried to cut down many times, and found it very difficult. I knew it was too much caffeine. I knew it was hurting my sleep and therefore my health. Yet, it seemed to have a control over me that was too hard to break.
Almost every day, I drink two litres of water. This one requires a little more intention, but it’s not hard. I drink a litre quickly and early in the day. And I have a 1 litre Yeti water bottle that makes it easy to remember to drink more water – which I do.
But, I used to drink hardly any water on any given day. I’d remember at multiple points throughout the day, but never actually did the right thing and actually drink some water. Sometimes I would drink a glass or two, but it felt like a massive chore. I knew if I drank more water, I would feel better and be healthier. Yet, I still struggled to nail down the habit.
Almost every day, I push back my first bite of food to about 14.00. Only water and espresso until then. If I ever break it, again, it’s an intentional choice. This helps me be clear headed, alert and productive in the mornings. It helps me control my appetite and calorie intake. It helps keep my weight at the right level – which makes me feel good and gives me better health. And perhaps most importantly, it gives me control over my relationship with food. I’ll eat when I need to eat. I’ll eat when I say I’ll eat.
But, I used to eat as soon as I woke up. And from there, it was an autopilot, graze fest through to bed time. I’d eat for the sake of it. I’d get energy slumps throughout the day. I was often bloated and uncomfortable from eating too much and too frequently. I felt like a slave to food.
I could go on and on. Which versions of these sound more free? Which versions of these lead to more peace of mind? Which versions of these have more choice? Which versions of these lead to a higher quality life – both in the moment you decide to let loose a bit (i.e today I’m going to enjoy having pancakes for breakfast) and also in the long term (better long-term health)?
I can guarantee you, it’s totally possible to go from undisciplined to disciplined. And when you taste it, there’s no going back. But, talking about it and hoping for things to get better won’t work. You need to put systems in place. You need to get people around you that will keep you accountable.
A great first step is writing out your habits and then tracking them on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be fancy – as you can see 😉
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