Sunday 25 January 2015


"Self-discipline is a learned skill, not an innate characteristic." (Amy Morin)

Maybe your goal in 2015 is to lose weight.  One of the keys to your success will be self-discipline, a skill to which you must devote intentional, dedicated practice.  Know that developping self-discipline takes time and hard work.  There is no easy fix.  Here are six tips offered by Amy Morin to reach your goal.

1.  Acknowledge Weakness:  You might say:  "I could lose weight if I wanted to."  That statement infers that you really don't need to stop overeating, that you really don't have a problem.  The first step to stopping a bad habit is acknowledging you have one.  

2.  Establish a Clear Plan:  Write out a daily, weekly and monthly plan that you can follow.  Planning ahead can help prevent you from slipping back into old ways.  For instance, my husband planned on eating canned salmon last night.  I cooked mini-burgers for the kids.  Even though, he was sorely tempted by the burgers, he stuck to his original plan and ate the fish.  

3.  Remove temptations:  If your weakness is sugar, avoid buying sugary foods and stocking your cupboards with them.  Use natural sugars like honey, as substitutes for sugar, in your tea and your baking.

4.  Practise Tolerating Emotional Discomfort:  Practise handling boredom, frustration, loneliness and sadness in a constructive manner, thereby increasing your tolerance and your self-discipline.  When frustrated, rather than reaching for a bag of popcorn like I did last night, do a set of stretches or go for a jog.  

5.  Visual Your Long Term Reward:  Sacrifice immediate gratification for long term rewards.  Visualize your new slim and trim self in a new outfit.  Post a photo of yourself when you were slim on your fridge as a reminder.

6.  Recover from Mistakes Effectively:  We all make mistakes.  We all fall off the wagon at some point.  Acknowledge your mistake and move on.  Don't let the mistake define you, but rather let it strengthen your resolve!  I ate the bag of popcorn last night.  Rather than dwelling on the mistake, I can plan to do a set of stretches tonight.

Self-discipline will serve you well in life, whether it's applied to losing weight or quitting smoking or curbing your overspending.  The skill can be applied to both dropping bad habits and forming good habits.  Self-discipline has served me well in keeping a daily appointment at the gym for the past five years.  Practise it daily -- you will be amazed at the rewards you reap!

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