In a country where two-thirds of adults are now overweight or obese, choosing to create health in your life makes you a bit of a maverick. While I don’t want to go as far as to say you are a rebel because you are pursuing optimal health, but one of the most common discussions we see in our community revolves around the struggle of being the only health-conscious individual at a party or gathering.
With the 4th of July holiday a few days away, this challenge is likely on your mind as well.
How do you choose health when you are surrounded by coolers of beer? How do you make the healthy eating choice when everyone around you is eating sugary snacks and deep fried foods? How do you stay on course when a well-meaning friend or family member insists that you cheat for the day?
We will talk about strategies that you can use this weekend to enjoy your holiday without breaking your Habits of Health, but first I want to explain what discipline actually means.
The key to discipline is that it can be learned. You don’t have to have some naturally in-born train to benefit from discipline. It takes work, yes, but that work can produce significant returns compared to those that rely on their natural gifts instead. A study published in Psychological Science found that students with high-rates of discipline consistently out-performed students with higher IQs. The gift of natural intelligence would seem like an incredible advantage, but without discipline, its potential falls short.
If we extrapolate this conclusion into other aspects of life, we can see just how important discipline can be. You don’t have to be a natural athlete to create and enjoy vibrant health. As long as you are willing to do the best you can with the body you have—day in and day out—you can reap the rewards. In fact, you might even create more health overall than someone who happens to find staying fit easy.
And it comes back to discipline.
The value of discipline is that you can learn a specific process and turn it into an automatic routine. The human inclination for routine is what powers the Habits of Health system. The naturally gifted athlete might exercise and practice when he or she feels like it. The disciplined athlete will have a set schedule of training sessions and never miss a workout. For the disciplined athlete, practicing regularly becomes a habit.
For you, as someone who wants to create health, the process of adopting and maintaining habits takes practice, and sticking to that practice takes discipline.
Here are some tips you can implement today to help you conquer your 4th of July weekend and use to continue to build discipline throughout your optimal health journey.
- Stop. Challenge. Choose. – When you encounter a difficult choice, take a moment to stop. Challenge yourself to think about your goals and your desire for health. Make the choice that supports your goals.
- Plan ahead – Think about the challenges you are likely to face and decide ahead of time how you will handle them. Envisioning yourself rising to the occasion will make the actual moment less difficult to surmount.
- Be accountable – Before you arrive at an event, ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable to your goals. Having someone supporting you will make choices easier.
- Lean on your coach – Talk to your coach about the holiday weekend and use his or her encouragement and expertise to prepare and overcome.
Remember: you don’t have to have some natural inclination to living a life of perfect health to enjoy the benefits. Instead, you have to be willing to work through the process of forming lasting Habits of Health. This takes discipline, and discipline takes practice. This weekend is an opportunity to flex your Habits of Health and to achieve a big win.
You can do it!