We all have our quirks. Granted, I have more than my fair share, which I am about to prove once again.  When you’re just getting to know someone it usually takes only a few meetings before you decide you like them, or they reveal something that quickly lets you know it’s time to part ways.

It could be something they say such as, “The aliens came to my window again last night.”    

Or maybe it’s something they do, like showing up for dinner wearing chaps and no underwear.

Maybe it’s more serious, like you discover they own a telescope that looks directly into a neighbor’s window or they have a shrine dedicated to Elvis.

In any case, you know it’s time to bid adios and go your separate ways.

Maybe this bit of info will be that for you and me. I hope not. Because once you give me a chance to explain, it will all make sense. Mostly.

Ready?

My weird confession: I have a fascination with army snipers, SWAT teams and Navy SEALS. 

Before you go all unsubscribey on me, allow me to explain.

First, the sniper part is most ironic because I don’t like guns, never owned one, never shot a gun and honestly am afraid of them. I won’t allow them in the house, they frighten me that much. As for becoming part of SEAL Team Six, I don’t swim and have no desire to jump out of a plane, so that’s out, too.

So how does this make sense? You may be asking yourself for the fifth time so far in this post.

It’s not the actual shooting, barreling down a door with a giant log SWAT Team style or holding my breath underwater until I pass out. It’s the self-discipline and training that goes into becoming part of any of these class of people that fascinates me. 

For example, jumping into the deep end of a pool blindfolded and with your hands and feet tied together, maneuvering an inflatable raft against 8-foot ocean waves, all while being sleep deprived, is some of the training that eliminates a third of the men who try out for the Navy SEALS. 

Compare that to my situation, where I was sweating so much at the gym the other morning I left early.

Hardly SEAL team material, I’m guessing.

The mental discipline of qualifying for any of these extreme teams equals or surpasses the physical training and is the focus of my point today:

♦ SELF DISCIPLINE ♦

Gotta have some. Without it, you won’t make progress. Period.

Focus, a clear goal, and the ability to deal with discomfort makes the difference between achieving and reaching your goals — be it weight loss or becoming fit and lean or both – or not.

The good news? You can develop your self-discipline muscle just as you do any muscle.

If I led you to believe I’d discovered a new actual body part by the title of this post, I apologize for the sleight of hand. However, if you flex your self-discipline as if it’s part of your workout program, you’ll be able to achieve the results you want from all your other, “real,” muscles.

Bottom line: Getting fit requires taking yourself outside your comfort zone.

For comparison sake, imagine using a pencil for biceps curls. Laughable, right? You could flex until the cows come home and never break a sweat or see one iota of muscle tone in your arms.

Using a 10-lb. dumbbell, or enough resistance that triggers a physiological change, however, is a whole different story. What do you do when it starts to hurt? If you want results you keep going for a few more reps.

Those last few reps require ignoring the logical part of your brain that says, “Hold on here, this is no longer fun.” Self-discipline is all about telling your brain who’s boss (that’s you).

Ditto for eating.

Turning down a piece of cake at an office party is hard the first time you do it but it gets easier each time. Trust me, I’ve done it myself with diet soda.

You’re literally training your brain along with your body.

The downside: No one can do it for you, no matter how much you pay them.

As a trainer, I provide advice all the time but only a small percentage of people actually take it to heart. Those that do, see results.

Those that don’t, don’t.

I often hear how Oprah “has it made” because she has a staff of people to help her lose weight. But, in case you haven’t noticed, Oprah’s weight fluctuates more than the weather in Connecticut.

Theory is, if you have Oprah money you can hire someone to slap your hand every time you reach for a donut. In reality, at some point they’ll fall asleep, have to use the restroom or otherwise be untethered to you for a few minutes.

In the end, it’s all up to you, no matter how many motivational quotes you memorize, calorie counts you learn or workout videos you watch. 

In addition to simply practicing doing the right thing over and over, try these science-backed motivational tips to get your brain and inner self-discipline on track…

Ask yourself questions

Weird as it sounds, a study from Mississippi University showed that participants who spent a minute wondering whether they would complete a task were more likely to build motivation than those who simply told themselves they would. Apparently this approach enables your brain to find a way to get the job done. So instead of telling yourself, “I can do this!” try “Will I do this?” and see what happens. 

Make tough decisions early in the day

Self control tends to wane as the day goes on, so herein lies another argument for exercising first thing in the morning. Steer clear of temptations at the time of day when you’re most likely to cave, say researchers from Texas A & M University.

Stay off Facebook  

Yes, I know this one’s ironic considering I have an Ageless After 50 Facebook group of over 1,600 women. But we don’t (usually) tempt each other with photos of caloric overindulgences. A series of studies show a link between greater Facebook use and increased binge eating, a higher body-mass index and higher levels of credit card debt.

I have no idea how the latter plays into the others unless you’re racking up a mountain of debt at the local bakery.

Regardless.

NOW YOU... Do you feel you lack self-discipline? If so, what works to keep you on track? Let me know in the comments below… 

Got questions for me? Post them below, too, and I promise to respond ASAP!

Other posts you may enjoy:

7 Reasons you’re STILL not seeing results

How to handle fitness setbacks

4 Motivation killers you underestimate (and how to turn them around)

Your Ageless Body Coach,