Self Discipline – The One Key Element To Living Your Best Life

self discipline running

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Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because realizing the reward requires effort. You must sweat and push through pain. You will only get out of it, what you put into it.  I know this sounds cliche but it’s absolutely true. 

Entrepreneurship and achieving your personal goals or dreams is no different..

I re-discovered running about 4 years ago after a divorce. I was looking for an outlet to deal with all the stress and emotions I was going through, so I decided to give running a try.  The last time I ran consistently was back in high school: track and field, cross country and basketball.  But I never fully appreciated how running could shape and inspire my life until I fully embraced its power in my adult life.

It was not easy to pick running back up –  I was definitely not the young and fit specimen I’d been in my youth. I was out of shape and carrying more pounds than I’d like. It was a harsh wakeup call – what had happened to me?  I wanted that ripped body back!

The first run was rough.  The next few runs were brutal.

It was challenging to run 50 meters and a mile seemed like a crazy man’s dream, but I didn’t stop. I realized it was going to be a process.  I acknowledged my condition and understood it would take time to build my strength and stamina back up.  One short run left me with searing lungs and a tight chest, sweat raining down into my eyes. Man, it was not pretty.

So this is what I did…

…Hill sprints.  This is called HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training.  It’s basically a form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods.

Sprinting up hills is by far one of the most fun, effective, and practical methods for improving total body speed and power along with being a very potent stimulus for rapid body composition changes (reduced body fat percentage).

This is exactly what I needed and it worked.

Within 30 days I started running 3-4 days a week…only a mile or two at a time and it was that summer that I ran almost every day and was doing about 15 miles a week.  Yup!  I was HOOKED.  I’m sure you’ve heard of “runners’ high?”  Well, it’s real.  I quickly became addicted to that feeling and my body started reaping the rewards.  I dropped 20 lbs in 90 days and felt great.

Not only was I experiencing a transformation with my body but I was also experiencing a transformation with my mindset and a transformation in my business.   My overall life began to improve dramatically.  My health, relationships, and business all benefited from me running.

Running reveals one key element about success.

Self Discipline: Unlike almost any other form of training, running (especially hill sprints) has a way of making you work hard… once you’ve got your momentum up, you won’t want to lose it, so you’re actually compelled to maintain it or even increase your speed.  The path or hill becomes your coach… you’re compelled to work hard, you’re compelled to improve, you’re compelled to be better, you’re compelled to win…what other exercise can offer this?!?

Self Discipline – Is the key to personal achievement.

Running is considered intrinsic motivation (exercising) and it requires a lot self-discipline.  Exercise is an excellent way to enhance self- discipline.  It can train you to set goals, focus your mental and emotional energies, become physically fit, and help your relationships.  You’ll learn to work hard and strive to do your best, which in turn, will train and teach you to integrate the same mindset and discipline into your everyday life.

You know what else takes a lot of self-discipline?   Entrepreneurship, Being Committed To Your Goals and Never Giving Up On Your Dreams.

Self Discipline is the combination of belief and commitment.

No personal success, achievement, or goal, can be realized without self-discipline.

Having self discipline is all about being able to control your impulses, emotions, desires and behavior.  It’s about doing what you said you were going to do, it’s about doing what needs to be done even when you don’t feel like it.  You have to be committed.

Commitment can be hard….especially when there area doubts, fears, and obstacles. Everyone’s life contains various levels of adversity. It can be scary, and it can seem impossible to overcome. But-

Adversity met with self discipline becomes opportunity.

Life can often be difficult and challenging, but regardless of what life throws your way, you have to able to keep grinding towards your goals.  It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re at… to overcome life’s challenges, you must be committed to doing so. The bad news is, doing so can be scary, and painful. The good news is that you can become a stronger person in the process.

[pullquote align=”normal”]You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou  [/pullquote]

The truth is people don’t give up when things are going well…you don’t need self discipline for that. You don’t give up on exercise the first day you start do you?  It’s only when things get difficult or when motivation slows that people lose the determination or self discipline to continue.

Those who develop and maintain a mindset that adversity is meant to be attacked, rather than feared, are better positioned to win at life because they have built a mindset that pushes them through obstacles instead of turning their backs on them.  Let’s face it….most people just give up.   How many times have you tried to lose weight?  Do you make “New Year’s Resolutions” that you never follow through with?  How many times have you tried to start a business or start whatever?

Let adversity into your life and embrace it.

Realize that no matter the circumstance, situation, or event, it’s only temporary.  Having this mindset will keep you centered.  The more you deal with uncomfortable circumstances the better you’ll be at handling them. This is where your self-discipline will grow and you’ll soon approach everything you want to conquer in life with unyielding determination and motivation because of it.   You’ll develop the mindset of a winner.

There are many important qualities that can contribute to a person’s achievements and happiness, but there is only one that begets sustainable, long-term success in all aspects of life: self discipline. Whether in terms of your diet, fitness, work ethic or relationships,  self discipline is the number one trait needed to accomplish goals, lead a healthy lifestyle, and ultimately, be happy. Source – Jennifer Cohen, Forbes

This why I compare running to life and entrepreneurship. The farther you go, the more challenges you face. In every race or run, you can only run against yourself and your personal best….that’s it.  What other runners and entrepreneurs are doing shouldn’t influence the way you run your own race or your own life.

Decide what it is you want and have the self discipline to just get after it no matter what!

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