Developing Mental Discipline

Developing Mental Discipline

On my right wrist I have a small tattoo that says “own your mind”. I got it after getting out of a long relationship that was mentally abusive. It took years to get his voice out of my head. During that relationship I started to take my thoughts back. It was such a foreign concept to  me. How do you control what you think about?

This is the first step to discipline. It is not easy, especially in the beginning. But nothing is easy in the beginning. Your first day of a new career is always full of mistakes and opportunities to learn. Ever try to go back to the gym after quitting? The first day is miserable, full of questions like: why am I doing this?

Answering this question: Why am I doing this… is the first step to building mental strength. Usually it’s because you are sick of your own nonsense. You’re ready to make a change! You’re going to stay committed this time! But commitment is hard because it’s inconvenient. So how do you stick to things when it’s not easy? When other things are pulling at you or when you just don’t feel like it?

You do it anyway. You do it tired. You go through the motions when your heart and head aren’t in it. If you’re bad at something, you keep doing it until you get good at it. You stop quitting on yourself. Mental strength means recognizing your power. Your mind is stronger than your body. If you wake up and say “I’m so tired” your body will believe it. But if you wake up and say “it’s not so bad, I can do this” you can do it!

There are tools you can use to “own your mind”:

Prayer

Have you ever tried to commit time to praying? You get distracted so easily. Talking to God and asking Him to help you with your thoughts will give you peace. Developing mental control isn’t just for the gym, healthy eating or saving money. It is for overcoming sin. If you are weak minded, you are vulnerable to all kinds of temptation.

2 Corinthians 10:5 “We destroy every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

Phillipians 4: 8 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think of such things.

Podcasts

Listening to people who are focused, ambitious and motivated are going to light a fire. When I was getting ready for my competition, before going on stage I had this podcast on repeat. He talks about not just competing but truly DOMINATING. There’s no way to lose if you dominate. You take your opponent out the game. And for me, my opponents are laziness, lethargy, sugary snacks and spending money on dumb stuff. So how can I dominate these enemies? I don’t give them a say. There’s no chance I will snooze my alarm, I won’t put off my meal prepping, I don’t even buy garbage food. I know I’ll eat it if it’s in the house. And I’ve committed to a no spend year. This is miserably hard but I’m listening to podcasts by Dave Ramsey. You want to change your behavior, listen to the experts who leave no room for excuses.

Post It Notes

Whether it’s bible verses, steps to success, daily reminders, put them all over your house if you have to. Treat your bathroom mirror like a giant post it note. On my mirror, I have my debt balance, my savings balance and my tax balance. Three big financial goals I’m trying to conquer and every time I go in the bathroom, to get ready for my day, I’m reminded what I’m working for. Crush debt and save money.

Pictures

If your goal is physical, take progress pics of your body. If you’re unhappy with it, nothing will motivate you and depress you enough to make you make a change now. If you’re trying to grow your muscles, you’ll see how far you’ve come. Put pictures of your goals all over your house. Is it a vacation you’re saving for? Hang pictures on your door. Is it eating healthy? Put pictures of healthy people on your fridge. Are you working for a better marriage? Put your wedding pictures up. Whatever it takes for you to stay focused, do it.

Preparing

Every night before I go to bed, I set my gym clothes out. Every week I only buy healthy food and I prep it immediately so I don’t get tempted to order a pizza. Every night I fill my water jug so I have my gallon ready to go. Each week I know where my money is going, and I have people in my life who know those numbers that I’m working toward. They celebrate with me. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Doing little things  today can set you up for success tomorrow.

Recently, my marriage was feeling overwhelmed with the chores that can take over quality time on the weekend. So my husband and I sat down and had a conversation about what we wanted our mornings to look like, what each of us could handle, what we wanted to come home to, and what we were comfortable with waiting until the weekend. He hates for his Saturday to be bogged down with laundry, and I hate waking up or coming home to stinky dishes. So each morning, when I’m up at 4:30 for the gym I start a load of laundry, he puts it in the drier when he wakes up at 6:30. He makes the bed as soon as he wakes up. He empties the dishwasher from the night before and I load it with breakfast dishes and anything that fills up through out the day. Then I can clean the counters. I can fold 1 load of laundry before work. Now we can both come home to a clean kitchen and no laundry and a made bed. This keeps our weekend for brunch, snuggles and naps. Only because we prepared for it!

Because we’ve committed to this routine, and we each do our part, it makes the entire load easier and leaves little room for procrastination.

Pay Attention To Your Triggers

I have a tendency to get lonely. My husband works Monday – Friday. He lifts Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He goes to Bible study on Tuesdays. I have bible study or book club on Thursday. I work Saturdays. We’re both exhausted by Sunday. We could spend the whole day sleeping and staring at our phone. This leaves me feeling neglected come Monday. We’ve learned this. So Saturday nights, we get in our pjs, we make breakfast for dinner and we play board games. We have brunch on Sundays. We’ve learned what triggers loneliness in our marriage and we’ve created disciplines around them.

I know I want sweet stuff at night. So I make sure I have a healthy but sweet snack. I know on days I lift really heavy, I’m going to be exhausted the next day so I either plan for a rest day or I make sure I get to bed really early. That means after dinner I won’t even turn on the TV, I go straight to bed and read. I’ll be asleep in 15 minutes. That means some nights I go to bed around 7:30pm but then waking up at 4:30am isn’t so hard.

Building mental discipline takes time, planning and work. If you can become disciplines, the world is yours for the taking. You can accomplish any goal. You can get out of debt, take nice vacations, have a body that you feel good in, take control of your health, have a great marriage. Your mind is powerful so if you can own it, you will then be powerful.

Got any mindful tips? Leave a comment!

 

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