Recently, I decided to change four things in my life – my sleeping habits, my eating habits, my exercise habits, and my blogging habits – all at once. From sleeping super late at night, I am training myself to wake up at 6 and sleep at 11 pm. From eating junk, I started shifting to fruits, vegetables, oats and the likes. From sitting most of the day, I started exercising everyday. And from blogging twice a month, I started posting everyday. And man, this sudden shift made me super uncomfortable. Just after week 1, I learned a lot of things about self-discipline.
I realized I couldn’t do it all at the same time. Changing one thing is too uncomfortable already. Imagine changing 4 things at once. I realized that this is the reason why new year’s resolutions don’t work – there are too many of them and people decide to do all of them in a day. You will need a huge amount of energy for resisting your cravings, and having many things to resist is too damn stressful and difficult. If you’ve been planning to change a lot about yourself, list them all in a notebook, but set schedules on when you are planning to achieve them. Eat healthier on January, start going to the gym on February, have 8 hours of sleep on March, is better and more effective than doing them all on January 1st and giving up on the first week. Focus all of your energy in one, and you will receive great results.
It is better to do it slowly but surely. Because changing everything at once is too damn hard, I tried a different approach. (Don’t ever give up. Just find better ways!) I tried to do things incrementally. I started with focusing on blogging full-time, and taking smaller steps toward my other goals. I would go blogging everyday, and start sleeping at 11 but not waking up to an alarm, start eating normal food in the morning and oats at night, and start exercising at least two times a week. Then when my body had adjusted and became comfortable with blogging daily, I started waking up early. And when I got used to waking up early, I started eating healthier everyday. After I was able to establish my blogging and sleeping and eating habits, I started exercising everyday. It would take a while but what’s important is its effectivity for the long term. Change isn’t overnight. I realized that all change is doable, but you have to be patient or you wouldn’t be able to accomplish your goals.
I also realized that it is easier to be self-disciplined if you show care and support for yourself. I used to have this attitude of scolding myself for not being like other disciplined people. “Dude? What are you doing? Why can’t you do what they are doing? Are you really that weak? Come on! Do it!” Seemed normal to you? Well, I have come to realize how dangerous this act really is. Imagine if you motivate your boyfriend this way? He wouldn’t care about exercising at all, and would just think about how weak you think he is. Nothing really close to making someone feel motivated. More like making someone feel how they suck. And that’s what I was making myself feel. So instead of making myself feel bad, I changed my ways and started encouraging myself more and started patting myself in the back whenever I start to feel weak. “You can do this self. Of course it is going to be hard at first. But once you get used to it, I promise it will be easier. This is just not a usual thing you do, that’s all. I’m very proud of you for trying and for helping yourself grow. Just take it slow. You can do this, I promise. You are strong. You are doing great. I’m so proud of you.” This self talk helped me more than anything else in establishing my self-discipline.
I realized that if I break one day of not accomplishing things, I should not let it stop me from continuing what I was doing. Have you ever experienced going on a diet and then one day you ate like a monster again, and the day after that you already felt like a failure, so you stop trying again, and you ended up getting worse and eating even more? I always do. But then this one time, I told myself, I won’t let you win, cravings. After eating a lot on Tuesday, I ate healthy again by Wednesday and continued until this day. There will still be days that I will eat a lot, because there are days that it will be harder to resist because temptations are everywhere, but I will just let that day pass and allow myself to eat because I shouldn’t be that hard on myself, and will continue eating healthy the next day. Let’s say you wanted to eat healthier like me. There will be days where you have to attend birthday parties, your boss will buy food for the office to celebrate a group accomplishment, or your boyfriend will bring food because he thinks you are cute if you are chubby. Whatever your goals are, temptations will always show up. If these days happen, just allow yourself, be cool with it, but promise to continue committing to what you sign up for – the road to a better you.
I also realized the most important ingredient of going towards the road of self-discipline. That my friend, is perseverance. It doesn’t matter how little I do today, but I have to make sure that I do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be forward. It doesn’t matter how small the step is. What matters is me giving all the effort to strive accomplishing something towards my goal.
Are you also working towards your goal? Share your story in the comment section. Always remember, we can do this. We just have to be the best supportive friend that we need. Good luck!