Discipline

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”-Jim Rohn

I often get asked the question, “What is the most important part when it comes to getting healthy?” The simple and obvious answer would be: eat healthier and exercise a few times per week.

What if I told you, however, that wasn’t the most important part in getting healthy? What if I told you there was something else that was far more important when trying to get fit and get healthy?

As I was thinking about this question recently, I came to the conclusion that although eating healthy and exercise are very very important, they don’t mean anything if you don’t have discipline.

We all know what foods are healthy to eat and which ones we need to avoid. We also know the kinds of workouts and exercises we should be doing to get fit fast. Do we, however, have the discipline to follow through on those things?

Do we have the discipline to turn down the sodas, candy bars, and desserts when we are trying to get healthy? Do we have the discipline to get to the gym when we don’t feel like it? Do we have the discipline to turn off the TV and go to bed to allow our body to recover better?

The list of questions can go on and on…

If the answer is no to these questions, then you will not get very far when trying to get healthy and get fit. You can be on the perfect workout and nutrition plan, but if you don’t have the discipline to stick to those plans, you will have a very difficult time attaining the goals you are after.

A Story of Discipline

One of the greatest stories of discipline that I know is one about my dad. A few months back, my dad decided it was finally time to buckle down and start getting healthy. He got a plan in place and was ready to go.

Now two things you must first understand about my dad:

  • When he sets his mind to something, he doesn’t let anything get in his way.
  • He also doesn’t like to take the easy route when doing certain things. He enjoys challenges and isn’t afraid to take them head on.

During the beginning, I talked to my dad everyday (something we always do) and each time he called, he would have a new story of an obstacle he overcame. From turning down desserts with family to ordering chicken and veggies instead of a burger and fries to turning down his daily soda. Each day was a new obstacle I got to hear about.

Instead of clearing out the junk foods in the house (as I recommended), my dad decided to keep them in the house as challenges. He felt good when he turned down a soda for a bottle of water. Those little victories got him through the day more easily.

He mentioned that for some this wouldn’t work, but for him, it kept each day more interesting and exciting. Those little victories of turning down the unnecessary foods and drinks felt good and made him want to keep going.

There were even times when my dad would purposely test his discipline. Instead of letting the refrigerator in the house sit free of soda (something he enjoys), he would constantly keep one in the fridge just so he could turn it down each time he went to grab something to eat or drink.

To my dad this was all a game about how to “win” and get healthy. Each time he opened the fridge, he would have an ice-cold Pepsi staring him in the face. He never once chose that Pepsi to drink. Now that right there is some serious discipline.

It was pretty incredible to hear all the little stories and obstacles that my dad overcame to get to where he is today (even if he created some of those obstacles himself).

Along with eating the right foods, my dad found himself at the gym a few times per week doing interval training on the recumbent bike. He knew that just riding the bike for an hour wasn’t going to do the trick when trying to get fit, so he stuck to interval training.

I remember days of him calling me saying the last thing he wanted to do was go to the gym, but you know what text I would get an hour later? “Hey Den, just finished my workout. Now the gym wants me to teach a class.”

(Oh yeah, my dad has a great sense of humor too!)

My dad had straight discipline when it came to his workouts. He didn’t let anything get in the way of keeping him from getting to the gym or walking daily.

Because of his discipline, my dad lost 20 pounds in the first three weeks of trying to get healthy. He then saw a steady pace of another 2-3 pounds per week for some time after that. He is currently down to a comfortable weight and is now working on getting more fit, more flexible, and continuously healthier.

He attained his goal to become lighter and healthier and now is motivated for more. With the discipline my dad has, I have no doubt he will achieve anything he sets his mind to.

Conclusion

If we do not have discipline in our training, our eating or in our daily lives, it is going to be very difficult to achieve what we want. Having discipline allows for motivation to turn into a daily habit.

We all start out with some kind of motivation when going after something we want. That motivation will soon wear off and this is where discipline has to kick in. If you have the discipline, you will then start to see your habits change for the better.

I saw this exact process take place in my dad as he was trying to get healthy. It first started with a motivation, then his discipline kicked in, and now he has developed healthy everyday habits that will last a lifetime.

He has found the balance of living a healthy lifestyle and I have no doubt it will continue to get better. He still works each day to improve his body and be healthier than the day before.

As was stated, we all know what foods we need to be eating when trying to get healthy and what workouts we need to engage in. None of that matters however if you do not have the discipline to make it happen.

So the next time you go to start a workout program or a new nutrition plan, make sure that you have your discipline in check. Without it, it will be very tough to attain the goals you are going after!

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