So who else struggles with self-discipline? I know I’m not the only one. For the most part, I’d say I’m actually very self-disciplined, but recently my head has been all over the place and I’ve been struggling to really stick to my goals. So while my own self-discipline and focus is currently a work in progress, here are a few things I’m doing to get myself back on track…
1. Set Goals
I have a couple of long-term goals I’m working towards: compete in a bikini fitness competition and to set up my own personal training business. I really, really want to achieve these goals, but the thing is, they feel quite far away right now. I’m therefore breaking them down into short-term process goals that will help me keep disciplined and focused. I could do a whole separate post on goal setting (and will!), but briefly some of my shorter-term, in-the-present, process goals now include logging my food each day, getting to the gym five times a week and spending four hours a day studying. Breaking them down this way makes them feel much more manageable and achievable, which is so important for actually reaching your big goals.
2. Reward Yourself
This might seem counterintuitive, but rewarding your mini-self-discipline achievements can really help keep you going. For example, when it comes to studying I’m splitting my days up into 45 minute chunks. If I concentrate for the full 45 minutes then I reward myself with 15 minutes of scrolling on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This way my usual social media distractions become a treat rather than a form of procrastination, and I feel less guilty by the end of the day!
3. Keep It Simple
How often do you make a commitment to being more disciplined, feel like you do really well for a couple of days and then fall off the wagon? We’ve all been there. Often it’s because we try to change too many things all at once and make things much harder than we can handle straight away. Instead of overloading yourself, change the simple things first. Get settled with those small changes and then start adding in bigger ones. I, for example, really struggle with sticking to my macro plan and haven’t been logging my food at all for the last month. So to get back on track, I’ve started just logging my food. Next week I’m going to re-introduce my careful calorie tracking. Once I’ve got that nailed down again I’m going to start focusing on macro-tracking again too. It’s a process, not a dramatic overnight change.
4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
This follows on quite nicely really, because I know I do this. We often forget that self-discipline is actually a learned quality, not something we are necessarily born with. And like with all things we learn, it takes constant practice. Sometimes it’s not going to go to plan. Sometimes change is really, really hard. We all get distracted, we all have a ‘cheat’ meal, we all skip the gym or a run every now and then. It’s not the end of the world. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get right on back to grinding without the guilt.
5. Talk To Someone
I know, I always say it. But it’s amazing what a difference talking to someone who motivates, inspires or just plain supports you can do. Throughout the last months of me being a little all over the place my coach has been a constant source of support, and I’m truly thankful for that. We had a fantastic technique session on Monday to go over the lifts I’m struggling with in my programme, and to just get me back in the gym with some guidance. And I feel so much better for it. We’ve agreed to make sure we get our monthly face-to-face sessions in the diary so that I have that added support and accountability going forward. Try and find someone you can reach out to for guidance, or just to let off steam to, and I’m sure it will help you get back on track.
What techniques do you find helpful for staying focused and disciplined with your training, goals and work? As always I’d love to hear from you!
Photo: Kim Nicole Photography