Discipline equals freedom. Have you ever heard of that? Well it’s true, whether you like it or not. It’s never been so obvious to me than raising children. My kids THRIVE off of a routine, schedule and consistency. When we provide TV time guidelines, nap time, bed time, dinner time, lunch time, activity time kids are happier and perform better day to day. At the moment they may beg for more TV or beg to stay up later, but subconsciously they need it, love it and yearn for it. Why? Do we, adults, thrive the same way? Why do we often fight it?
Even after years of being an athlete my entire life and being drawn to discipline and consistency, I never really gave it the respect it deserved. I now can look back and see I’m the disciple, husband, father, entrepreneur, leader, athlete I am today because of the disciplines I put into practice throughout my life. I didn’t do this naturally. Often I imitated or emulated those around me, taking things I heard that Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Michael Jordan, Ray Lewis, did in order to be successful and I did them too. So many of my practices, even to this day, aren’t self taught or self created and most times I don’t view them as discipline, I’m just copying others. You may relate. You likely don’t think you want discipline, but you do.
I write this to express how important discipline is at these times in our personal lives. We are in a time that many of us have never experienced! We don’t have to go to work (on site), your job may ask you to work but may not be telling you when to work, or what to where, or how to get it done, they just ask that you get it done. When we have this freedom it can lead to staying up too late, sleeping in too late, starting work whenever we want, watching as much TV as we want, lounging more, moving less, eating more (and of the wrong things)! Sounds like living the dream right? Wrong!
Maybe this would be appealing for 48 hours or the time we’d spend on vacation (a few days, maybe a week for some). But it is no way to achieve happiness. Like I mentioned about my children above, we too thrive under schedule and routine and as much as you may not like it, discipline. You’ll be happier, feel achieved, be more successful, and be more creative. So how are you doing? Really, ask yourself! Are you creating a schedule? Do you have a specific time to work? Specific times to eat? Specific times to train/ workout? Specific times to read/learn (you must ALWAYS be feeding your mind and soul this way)?
If you don’t have a schedule established you are likely taking each day in “reactive” mode. This is a hard way to live and often leaves you feeling like a victim to any and everything that happens. To be happy, to be successful we must be in a “proactive” mode. We must plan, set times, set schedules, and yes...set expectations and execute them! Try this:
- Set a time to wake up each day
- Set time to work/ be productive. This one looks different for everyone. If you are working from home it can be that, if you are a normal stay at home Mom/ Dad then it could be for meal prep, cleaning house, setting up family activities but set time for this.
- Set meal times (as a parent I suggest even including snack time) For you personally it can help create guidelines and standards so you aren’t just “grazing” on food all day.
- Create TV/ Screen time limitations. I’m not talking about your kids! I’m talking about you too! Just because your kids are in bed or napping doesn’t mean you can’t do something to learn and grow other than binge watch TV.
- Set up time to workout or move. It doesn't’ need to be more than 20-30 minutes a day but get outside if you can and do SOMETHING. If you don’t know what to do, start by walking, just go.
- Set up time to connect with others. This doesn’t necessarily have to happen daily. But get on a facetime, skype, zoom, or just a normal phone call with someone. It can be family, or friends but we are made to connect with others, it will do wonders for you down the road and at the time, you’ll have no idea how bad you needed it. And to take you out of the equation for a moment, someone else may need it much more than you do.
- Set a bed time. This is the hardest one for us at the Conway residence I think. We crush this with our kids but often we find ourselves in that “one more episode” mentality. Don’t do it folks, set a hard time and stick to it. It’s not worth it to get less sleep, especially in a time when we need as much rest as possible to keep immunity high. A good piece of advice that was shared with me once was, “Don’t stay up late for anything that you wouldn’t wake up early to do.” ( I felt that. LOL!)
Remember while all of this may seem over the top, it’s the key to your happiness. We do want consistency, we do want discipline, it is what will create true freedom and with freedom comes happiness.