Hey guys! What’s new? How’s your week been?
So I’ve been completely M.I.A. I know, I know. It literally goes against all the principles of my blog and my life in general. But I suppose that’s why I enjoy doing this. It shows me where I lack commitment no matter how disciplined I try to be. And it’s really important to know the difference, crucial to making anything succeed…
Okay so it’s often thought that being committed and being disciplined is one in the same. I mean I definitely did. I always thought that the more disciplined I became, the more likely I would stick at something.
But, there is a very fine distinction between the two that means without each other most activities/goals are futile. But they are often conflated and used interchangeably (wrongly, might I add).
Anyway let’s make that distinction really clear. As succinctly put by Morgan Kate Fitness: “Discipline by definition is to train people to obey rules or code of behaviour. Whereas, commitment is defined by the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity.”
So in a way being disciplined is a result of being committed. You have to START with the desire to be/do something different, to want to keep at it until the end.
For example, when I had a goal of losing 10 pounds, I was able to achieve this by wanting to lose the weight in the first place. It meant so much to me to finally do this, that I stuck to my gym routine and hardly deviated from it. It helped me to focus and develop healthy habits, like not eating past 8pm.
And so I lost the weight, was feeling buff and lived my best life (well the over-exaggerated version of it).
However, my love of food and indulging in it, came back with a vengeance. I eventually piled the weight back on, and really struggled to get it off again. I did my very best to get back into my hard-core gym routine and become overly disciplined, but it just wouldn’t work.
It was only when I realised that my commitment was missing that I knew my discipline wouldn’t amount to anything.
For me, that hard-core desire I had the first time around, just wasn’t there the second time I tried to lose weight, and why I failed so miserably.
It’s also probably why so many of us struggle with being disciplined without having that intentional behaviour (i.e. the commitment).
It’s the underlying cause and desire that propels you forward. It moulds your cognitive behaviour so much so that the required action is not too difficult. You just do it anyway. You want it that bad that the subsequent sacrifices are justified.
In the Huffington Post, Shayne Hughes, describes this as having emotional clarity: “Emotional clarity comes when how we feel on the inside about what we are compelled to do is in alignment with what we intellectually believe we should do. Discipline then, rather than being a characteristic or a quality to develop, is really a consequence of this alignment.”
Yet, with discipline alone and imposed routines, you result to a heavy-handed approach that causes tension within you. It’s a yes/no dichotomy that you constantly battle with and beat yourself over.
You get pissed over the fact you didn’t wake up at 5am to go for a run or the other day you ate something you weren’t supposed to. There is a constant tugging of your will that can lead to more than failure. It can result in depression, high anxiety and other health issues. Priya Rao noted that when she adopted an all or nothing approach to writing and working out, she felt her creativity dip and never felt at ease with her new routine.
“I was approaching these new habits with the same all-or-nothing loathing I feel when I get too tired and fall asleep in a full face of makeup.”
But why am I even talking about this? Well if you haven’t noticed already I bang on a lot about purpose and remaining focused on self development. Part of that process, for me, was creating a blog and staying with it. Not letting it fall to the wayside like I usually do.
I wanted to post a blog every two weeks and ensure that I was giving it my all. Yet, I’ve struggled with this hence my hiatuses. I, too, have been beating myself up over the lack of discipline and failure to stay on top of my schedule.
But I soon realised that I needed to go back to my commitment to this process and not the activity of doing it. It’s what got me here in the first place.
But how do you do that? How does one find their desire and commitment again?
Well, you start with what it meant to you. And I mean taking it to way back to when you were first unhappy and why.
Before I started sosasharon.com I felt like I had so much to say but nowhere to say it. I knew that I wanted to show people my talent and engage with other writers. But if I’m really honest, I was deeply unhappy with where I was in life and having a blog was my way of expressing that.
So, when I felt my desire to post dip, I imagined not having my wonderful blog, my own space to be totally me.
I also learned to understand the end goal and vision.
Okay that sounds generic but hear me out…
Productivity expert, Ryder Carroll, suggested that by doing your homework before you take on the commitment is really important.
“Say you decide you want to be a vegetarian for the next 30 days, but day one rolls around and you have no idea what it means to be a vegetarian — your refrigerator is empty, you don’t know how to cook, you don’t have any recipes. Try to avoid that,”
And she’s right. You can’t have the desire without knowing what you have to be prepared to do. Doing your homework on important and tremendous life shifts, requires a lot of willpower. And being mentally and practically prepared can make all the difference.
So, by deciding I want to blog every two weeks or lose weight, I needed to set up my environment to enable me to do that. Such as preparing posts or keeping my fridge and diet junk-food free. It’s about making your life more intentional to enable real change.
This also relates to ridding yourself of unnecessary temptation and holding yourself accountable to your actions. You are no longer in a tug of will, but you are building UP your will, giving yourself a greater chance of success. Then it becomes a constant cycle of re-assessment, goal setting and consistent commitment.
Of course, this is really hard. Heck I’m struggling with it right now. It was supposed to take me three days to write this post and it’s been over a week.
The point is, I’m taking control of my desire, NOT my routine, to get back on the path I set myself.
And as the old saying goes, ‘where there is a will, there is a way’.