Do you want to know the secret to success? Here it is; ignore your feelings and listen to your gut. Successful people discipline themselves to do what unsuccessful people fail to do. Discipline is the foundation of all good habits, because it gives us the push we need to take the actions we know in our gut will lead to our long-term success and happiness. Discipline is the source that all good habits spring from. There are two fundamental differences between good habits and bad habits. The first is that good habits seldom provide instant gratification, while bad habits almost always do. The second is that good habits move us towards our long term goals and lead to great achievements and long term happiness, while bad habits sabotage our success and the immediate joy that bad habits bring are fleeting and often lead to feelings of regret afterwards. Abraham Lincoln said, “Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.” I couldn’t agree more.
Why don’t we do what we know we should? It’s because we are waiting to feel like doing it. We are waiting to feel like getting-up early and going running. Successful people don’t wait to feel like doing something. Do you really think that successful people feel like getting up an hour early to work out before going to work? Do you think successful dieters feel like logging their food, which is very easy using the MyFitnessPal app, but you wound know that until you do it. No they don’t feel like doing it, but they have the discipline to do it.
“Don’t wait until you feel like taking positive action. Take the action and then you will feel like doing it.” – Zig Ziglar
Do you think successful athletes only workout when they feel like it. More often than not they don’t feel like it, but they ignore their feelings and do it any way. What do you think the just, in the Nike slogan “Just Do It” is referring to? The slogan acknowledges our hesitation to do what we should do. It acknowledges it, and says do it anyway.
Our minds have been hardwired to keep us alive and propagate the species. If you only followed your feelings, your days would be filled with eating, sleeping, and making babies. Not exactly a recipe for success. As Mel Robbins, Author of The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage often says, our minds have been hardwired to protect us. The moment you hesitate to take an action you perceive as difficult, your mind will immediately begin to magnify the danger to prevent you from placing yourself at risk. This cognitive bias, which magnifies our fears and discomfort, is called the spotlight effect. She says you can overcome this mechanism that holds you back by preventing you from taking the difficult actions that will move you forward with a simple trick. To interrupt this habit of procrastination, she recommends you count backward from five. The act of counting backward, 5-4-3-2-1, is a deliberate action that requires focus. It interrupts the habit of procrastination. Use it as a countdown to action: 5-4-3-2-1-move.
Ignore your feelings and do what you know in your gut you should do. Use her 5 second rule to take control of your life. These moments of hesitation are moments of huge power; moments when leaning into an action instead of backing away from it will change your life. Moments when your inner voice and instincts are telling you what you should do. Mel says if you let your feelings dictate your actions you will rob yourself of joy and opportunity. Many of the actions we need to take are difficult and uncomfortable. If you let feelings decide your actions, you will deprive yourself of growth, opportunity, and happiness. Growth and advancement are almost always the results of taking on new challenges, overcoming fear, and risking failure. If you let your fears and feelings determine your actions, you will be safe and comfortable, but you will never feel joy or experience growth. Conquering fears and overcoming challenges can be scary and daunting, but they also make us feel great about ourselves when we triumph over them. We feel like winners. Will you experience failures and setbacks, sure, everyone does, but failures teach us lessons and make us better.
My advice to you is to ignore your feelings and discipline yourself to take action by applying her 5 second rule. Take control of your life. Success requires we make good decisions. Success requires we consistently do all the little things we know in our gut we should, whether we feel like it or not. Many of these actions aren’t difficult to do, but as Jim Rohm liked to say, “What is easy to do is easy not to do.” These little things aren’t significant by themselves. Choosing to drink a glass of water instead of a soda one day will not make a difference in how you look and feel, but over the course of a year, it could help you lose 30-pounds. Living a disciplined lifestyle becomes less challenging as these new behaviors become habit, and eventually a lifestyle. Start today. There is no better time than now.
Learn more about the Five Second Rule.
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Discipline pushes us, motivation pulls us, but intentional habits keep moving towards our goals. Change your habits, change your life!
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