Discipline equals Freedom
The truth? Implementing new habits is not easy. But we’ve put together a collection of some of the best psychologist-approved action steps that you can implement right away if you’re looking to increase mental energy, establish a healthier mindset, and avoid fatigue or burnout. Because “the more discipline you have in your life, the more you’ll be able to do what you want.” -Jocko Willink, Discipline Equals Freedom.
Movement is non-negotiable
Well, it certainly is if you want to focus, have more energy, and be happy. A Harvard study revealed that a single twenty-minute stretch of moderately intense exercise briefly enhanced the motivation to take on tasks that require intense focus. The same twenty minutes also improved overall energy while decreasing fatigue and depression.
Dr. Srini Pillay, MD, Harvard Medicine, explains: “When you are too exhausted to use thought control strategies such as focusing on the positive or looking at the situation from another angle, movement can come to the rescue.”
When it comes to a routine, discipline equals freedom
If you’re feeling stressed by working from home (as many of us are these days), psychologists recommend keeping a fairly strict routine in place. With this discipline, you can more easily and successfully transition your mental state from work mode to home life and back again.
For example, don’t deprive yourself of your favorite podcasts that you might have enjoyed while commuting. Your brain deserves a break with a regularly scheduled time to unwind. This may also include a daily ritual of putting away work devices and having meals at a set time.
Unfortunately, multitasking isn’t even a real thing because you’re never actually doing two things at the same time. The energy that is used to switch back and forth will undoubtedly increase fatigue, which is due to the constant shifting between competing demands on your attention (and concentration).
Make a choice to be disciplined by choosing to be present and mindful with one task at a time. Try turning off all distractions for hour-long increments (or more) in order to achieve a genuine state of focused flow. This includes removing your phone from view and shutting down other active parts of your computer that compete for your attention (tabs, apps, and all other distracting dings). Yes, this is much easier said than done, but in this case, having discipline equals freedom to get more done.
Prioritize nurturing your relationships in new ways
Life no longer requires traveling to collaborate and connect, and there’s not much we can do to change the virtual manner in which we’re spending time with people. But we can still strive to be creative in our approach. Depending on the kind of relationship you’re trying to nurture, you’ll have to dig deep.
Modern example: The new Lunch and Learn (or lunch date). Face to face lunch meetings aren’t happening right now, but a virtual lunch is a win-win. Plan ahead to pre-pay for local restaurant delivery to your lunch guest on the day of your meeting. If not food, how about flowers, or some other special, pre-planned gift or treat for them to enjoy with you in that moment?
The most significant and potentially rewarding relationships take place within our own household or workspace. We engage in these connections daily, so they’re likely to need extra effort in a specific way. How can you continue to show up for your MVP’s when you already feel like you’re giving your all?
Extra patience and understanding is the answer here, and it’s most beneficial to focus on what they’re doing right instead of what’s going wrong. Show consistent appreciation for any extra efforts they make, and be the first to initiate an apology when necessary. Taking on the responsibility of saying “I’m sorry” communicates that you’re hearing them, you care, and that you’re present.
Analyze your habits of focus
And experience how discipline equals freedom
Author and coach, Tony Robbins, has shared many times over that people are controlled by three decisions, often made subconsciously. Those three decisions are: what am I going to focus on, what does that mean, and what am I going to do about it?
Focus isn’t a technique you implement—it’s a skill you cultivate through practice and habit, and yet another example where discipline equals freedom. He explains: “What we focus on, we feel. Even if it’s not true. If you think something is terrible, you’ll find ways to prove it’s terrible. If you think something’s great, you’ll find what’s great instead.”
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