- The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
We are all subject to difficulties large ones can include house moves, relationship changes or the death of someone close to us. These are overt, overwhelming, and obvious and take a huge bite out of our toughness and ability to continue with health daily practices.
The more subtle difficulties we all face can often however take the same resilience toll over time affecting our habits in an unresourceful way.
What’s more, as these subtle difficulties such as career challenges, awkward conversations, travel, fatigue, tiredness, and family life go largely unnoticed we often question why it is we lack the discipline or motivation to follow a consistent training or nutrition plan.
We become our own worst critic without taking into account why discipline may be low.
Discipline is the will to act on a predetermined course of action after the emotional state that accompanied the decision has passed.
It is sticking to what you told yourself you were going to do when you no longer feel motivated to do it. Even though you know it is good for you.
We think some think are naturally motivated or disciplined and then we will never have it.
What is more likely is that they consistently do a number of things that actually feed and magnify that motivation, discipline, and willpower and resilience.
Study into the area of resource-based therapy, which is a form of psychology that seeks to improve peoples lifestyle choices through enhancing and empowering peoples natural and inherent strengths rather than seeking a flaw or problem that needs fixing in a person, has yielded 3 areas that are the primary sources of enhanced resilience.
If we put time and energy into these 3 areas and, more than just doing them, make a few subtle changes in the way we undertake these daily tasks, the rewards are increased energy, discipline, motivation, and resilience to setbacks and problems.
Here are the sleep guidelines
- Sleep 7-8 hours per night – Olympic athletes sleep up to 10 hours per night because of the recovery benefit on both body and mind. We may not need physical recovery but our brains are on overdrive every day resulting in missed information, mistakes, and missed opportunities.
(See the blog entitled – Why you may be lacking motivation for more on these vital mental processes)
- Keep the room cool and dark – Don’t have TV lights, light from a mobile phone in the room as this light will affect your sleep. Tim Ferris in his book – Tools of Titans actually recommends a blanket that can be attached to the bed that cools the mattress through the night to aid sleep
- In James L. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue in the 21st Century, the author explains that 5-6 nights of reduced sleep by just a couple of hours per night can amount to the same mental fatigue as 48 hours no sleep what so ever.
Just think about that.
There is a reason that a key interrogation and training stress technique in the military is sleep deprivation. As soon as you start to lose sleep your resilience is greatly reduced.
So if you are finding it hard to get your butt off the couch and get to the gym. First ask, “Am I getting enough consistent sleep?”
This is simple but can be made complicated
For each either questions you answer a “no” to you are subject to less resilience
- Do you have prepared meals and snacks that you eat throughout the week?
- Are these meals made up of largely nutrient dense foods that control energy intake naturally whilst providing all the necessary nutrients including vitamins and minerals?
|High Nutrient Density||Low Nutrient Density|
|Bright or deeply coloured Veg|
Bright or deeply coloured fruit
Beans, meat, eggs
Pastries, refined grains/flours
Although training takes up a certain amount of discipline and energy, on balance it directly creates more energy and resilience that can be used at a later time.
The training habit starts to feed itself. The more consistently we train the more we want to train and so the cycle goes.
Now, this is all well and good to know but where do you get the initial discipline from in our lives to actually generate the Sleeping, Eating and Training habits, because they all themselves require discipline.
The answer is comfort!
To do anything that requires a degree of discipline and by its nature discomfort first requires us to be in a degree of comfort or confidence.
As the saying goes, “You need to get out of your comfort zone!”
This is true, but of course, assumes that you are actually in it to start with. This however for most people is just not true.
We are asking ourselves from a place of considerable discomfort with work, money pressure, traffic, and relationship stress to get even more uncomfortable!
The conscious brain says….”I should do it” the day before.
The subconscious brain says “ errmmmm no thanks” on the day
And there you go! You lack discipline.
Let us be clear. The trick is not to generate more discipline to overcome the subconscious brain! It is way stronger than the conscious brain.
Dan & Chip Heath in their book Switch portray the subconscious brain like an elephant and your conscious brain as the rider. If the elephant wants to go one way! It wins. The subconscious brain is strong.
Professor Steven Peters explains the subconscious brain, as the Chimp is his best selling book The Chimp Paradox. The chimp is stronger than the human and more mischievous. The author explains that the way to free up this discipline you want is to take care of the Chimp in safe ways. Not to bottle it up and then let it run wild on a rampage!
Here are 4 ways that you might have your chimp bottled up in your work, relationship, and financial life which leaves you with the chimp ready to kick your ass by the time it comes to training and nutrition discipline.
Jeffery & Noreen Wilbert wrote their book Fattitudes explaining that these 4 areas take energy from your conscious brain and giving the chimp licence to rampage.
- Expressing Your Feelings – The more you hide your feelings the more you suppress the chimp, and it’s only a matter of time before it starts to rattle the cage.
- Assertiveness – The more we say yes to work, family, and financial commitments the less you leave energy for a subconscious “yes” your intended healthy lifestyle habits.
- Time Management – All the things we have said yes to or just didn’t say no to (the same thing) mount up to limit our willpower and disciple reserves.
- Self Care – Sleeping, Eating & Training all fall under this category of time for ourselves. Without this resilience, motivation, disciple, and willpower will always be low.
We must balance discipline and pleasure, (taking care of the Chimp), and remember that every day at work and at home we are using up our discipline with a finite amount before the chimp just wants to drink wine, eat food and watch the TV.
If you find yourself constantly falling short of discipline or struggling with motivation, you may need to look at the 4 Fattitudes habits and start to look after your chimp!
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