The Squats to Strengthen Self-Discipline
Updated: Mar 24, 2021
At the beginning of the year, the number of Google searches for exercise tips and tricks increase dramatically. The gyms get an influx of members, and the fitness apps see a spike in subscribers.
These are all great, and I especially loved January 1st when I managed a gym and was a personal trainer! The problem with the "New year, new body" mindset is, most people quit by March.
Why is this? Well, we are so caught up with trying to find the latest exercises to give us a flat stomach that we forget the most important muscle of all - our self-discipline. Like our quads, if we stop doing the exercises to strengthen our self-discipline, it will atrophy. I am sure you know what I am talking about after getting back to reality after the holidays.
In this article, you will find great ways to strengthen self-discipline that will allow you to be more productive, make better decisions, and feel better!
Below are the best exercises or "squats" you can do to increase or bring back that atrophied self-discipline. (side note: The lady below is a beast, and I will forever feel like my squats are weak)
Now for the list:
Mel Robbin's 5 Second Rule - This is the easiest one to try.
She found that if you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must act on it within 5 seconds, or your brain will kill the idea. You use this rule by counting backward from 5 and acting on your goal by the time you get to 1.
I like her example of getting out of bed. Many people would prefer to sleep longer, and if you wait too long to jump out of bed, you are likely to hit snooze. So, once you hear your alarm go off, count backward from 5 and put your feet on the ground by 1.
The Pomodoro Technique - Few people can focus for long periods of time. I used to pride myself on this, and now, after having all of the distractions and changes in 2020, I find myself needing a system for focused work.
This is a simple technique where you do focused work for 25 minutes, followed by a short break—a real break, not one where you scroll social media. Get up, walk around, drink water, meditate, etc.
Pay attention to your work environment - Are you surrounded by disciplined people? Let's be real, in 2020 and early 2021, you are most likely surrounded by chatty kids, lazy pets, your significant other, or all the above.
When you can be more selective about who you work with, it is important to hire people who are disciplined to maintain and elevate your teams' work ethic (and your own).
The desk and chair you use, along with the lighting and ambiance of your workspace, will also impact your ability to stay disciplined.
Start a SIDCHA - According to Joshua Spodek, a SIDCHA gives you independence, confidence, security, and resilience. They create a platform for everything else you want to do to improve your life, free from distraction, full of direction, and focus. A SIDCHA is:
Self-Imposed: that is, you have to choose to do it. Going to work, so you don’t lose your apartment, doesn’t count.
Daily: if you don’t do it regularly, you’ll drop them. You don’t have to do it daily but daily makes it harder to forget.
Challenging: easy things don’t help you. Watching TV, listening to music, and reading don’t qualify.
Healthy: it has to improve your health or well-being. Smoking doesn’t count.
Activity: you have to do something physically. Thinking about things doesn’t count. Writing does. Meditation does.
Have a great morning routine - It does not matter (to me) when your morning starts. Some experts say you have to wake up at 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM when the sun rises, or 3:00 AM to be successful.
Personally, I wake up at 3:30 AM (I also go to bed by 8:30 PM) because I need the time in the morning to myself. When I have this time, the rest of the day is much more productive and manageable. Plus, being a high-achiever, I already have a sense of accomplishment by 5:30 AM.
The key is to wake up early enough to take control of your day rather than 5 minutes before your first meeting and reacting frantically to the rest of the day. The key things to accomplish during your morning routine are:
Meditate, pray, read, or do something that gets your mind right
Create your to-do list for the day with your top 1-3 priorities for the day
Notice how to check email, social media, texts, and news are not listed here. Save those for post-routine. By jumping out of bed and reacting to these notifications, you automatically put your mind in a reactive state and hinder your ability to focus for the rest of the day.
Like traditional squats, start light, choose one new behavior to develop into a habit at a time, expect to be tired, and give yourself time to see results (and realize you will never see them if you quit).