Discipline equals Freedom

Published on: 2017-11-10 8:32:38 AM | Motivational Letters

(Disclaimer; this is not my own title, it is the title of a great book by Jocko Willink)

Jocko Willink is a former navy seal and commander, who developed his own consulting business applying life lessons from his dangerous occupation in one of the most difficult units in the American military.  As I listened to one of his podcasts, I wondered if his lessons and teachings could in some way apply to any of us.  We can all learn from anybody; there are always a few nuggets of information we might apply to ourselves and our daily life.

He pulls no punches; he is a navy seal to the core.  No ‘just try’, mainly, ‘do it’.

As I listen to clients and their hectic lives, there seem to be an endless array of reasons why they aren’t fully applying good eating and regular exercise.  I get it.  I understand it.  However, we must find solutions that we can work on to improve our health.

Certainly no one would disagree that the pillars of good health are good nutrition, maintaining a healthy weight, proper sleep, lower stress, and regular exercise.  Yet, in the chaos of life we let these go and put more importance on other things—some of which are valid, and some which are simply excuses. 

Jocko, like many other successful people, starts his day with an exercise routine.  Nothing fancy, but demanding.  Of all the things I see people not doing, the main one is exercise.  The reason he does exercise first thing is that it starts his day with discipline.  He doesn’t allow fatigue or stress to distract him from his goal.  He just does it.  That structure creates a sense of well-being, and then we are more likely to have a healthier breakfast and lunch.  He writes down his exercise routine the night before, and a few things he needs or wants to get accomplished the following day.  This is the start of discipline.

The barriers I hear about from people are time, fatigue and motivation.  Jocko’s response would be, just have the workout clothes ready the night before, get out of bed, put them on and begin.  Don’t put mental barriers up.  The workouts could be 10 minutes or 20 minutes, or longer if you want.  Then have some tea or coffee, maybe breakfast and as you sip your coffee, write down what you want to get done throughout the day.  Depending on your joints and general health these exercises could be as simple as stretches, or easy gentle squats, or upright pushups, but do a lot of them.  Do at least 10 minutes worth to get the blood flowing and the brain alert.  Then sit and structure your day.

Most of us leave the day to unfold whichever way it turns out.  We are not in control, but we need to be.  We need to know what we are going to eat (or not eat, if you are doing some fasting), but most of all, we need to think about the things we need to accomplish.  A little bit of morning exercise, time to relax with tea or coffee and journaling will bring more structure and as Jocko says “freedom”.

Don’t make excuses, we all have 10 or 15 minutes spare in our day.  We should document our food, write down what we are going to eat the next day, and when.  This way you are in control of the day, the day isn’t in control of you. 

If we want to be healthy we must look at all the pillars and somehow, fit a bit of each into each and every day.

Dr. Doug

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