The Myth of Discipline, Let Love Be Your Driving Force Guest Post by Elite Strength and Conditioning Coach Charles Poliquin

There is no such thing as discipline. There is only love. Love is the most powerful creative force in the universe. You are the result of what you love most.

You either love finely etched muscular abs more than donuts or you love donuts more than wash board abs you could do your laundry on. It is as simple as that. Don’t beat yourself up that you have no discipline or further drown yourself in a sea of refined carbs out of guilt. Admit that you like crappy food more than you love strength.

Or ask yourself this, what do you really love? Self-esteem is the reflection of self-judgment. One of the best ways to raise self-esteem is to make truly loving choices that lead to increased strength of body and mind. No need for discipline there. For example, if you truly love yourself in the gym, you choose the full squat with chains over the leg extension machine. At the restaurant, if you truly love yourself, you pass on the heavenly smelling basket of bread and creamy butter, and ask for some more limes for the water. Limes alkalize your body which in turn helps your bones, muscles and your ability to deal with stress.

When you are faced with difficult choices, ask yourself, in context of course, what would a loving knowledgeable expert recommend? For example, when working chest, would a loving strength coach recommend the pec deck, or full range dumbbell presses. When choosing desserts, would the loving nutritionist recommend a bowl of berries or the gluten rich pro-inflammatory triple decker brownie submerged under melting vanilla ice cream.

How to free yourself from the outdated concept of discipline:
1 Accept that all your choices are reflections of what you truly love.

2 Love is the greatest creative force of the Universe. Use it wisely.

3 Choose to love yourself more than external things.

4 Treating yourself well accelerates the growth of your self-esteem. When is the last time you went for a massage?

5 When people comment on your results and say things like “Wow you have a lot discipline” answer “No, I just make loving choices for myself. Reinforcing your own positive behavior will help you grow in strength.

6 What you appreciate appreciates. Whenever you make a truly loving choice, say to yourself ‘Thank you for taking care of me in a loving way”. The more you talk to yourself like a loving parent, the faster you will grow. Let’s say, for example, you just did a single on the squat with a load you didn’t feel like doing. Say: “Wow! I am impressed with your strength of mind, that’s why you are a champion”. By documenting and rewarding your successes, they will grow in magnitude and frequency. Whenever I meet a goal, I reward myself with positive things like a vacation or a new piece of equipment. When I get something better, I make the choice of giving away the old piece to someone who will appreciate it. Living a clutter free life allows for more growth.

7 The more you believe in yourself, the more objectively you will be able to take the advice of authority figures.

8 “Use your faults” was French singer Edith Piaf’s motto. I don’t like to stretch athletes. It is too time consuming and requires too much energy. Using that fault, I developed the Kinetic Chain Enhancement modules, which is a system that uses a myriad of body work techniques such as acupressure points that instantly give increases in flexibility.

9 Always reward behavior/effort not qualities. For example, you made a better a choice, and you say to yourself “You are great”. There is a better approach. Instead, say to yourself: “ I am

10 impressed with the ability to make the right choice out of love for yourself”. One the best books you could ever read is “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck. Contrary to most fluffy self-help books, she uses peer reviewed research to provide her advice.

11 Learn on how to meditate. I always knew meditation was good, but not THAT good. Actually, to be completely truthful, it is one of the things where you wished you had actually listened to people. Thanks to Janet “The Passion Test” Attwood, I got to learn transcendental meditation along with Brendan Burchard and Joe Polish. The invested 20 minutes twice a day, has already paid off as in fatherhood, teaching leader, and of course in the weight room.

There is an old Hindhu saying: “The World is as we are”. Are you tired of seeing the condition of the world around you? Start by changing yourself- be the change you want to see in world. Be what you want to attract more in your life. Being loving to yourself is the fastest way to enjoy a more fun and productive life.

More on the myth of discipline – Five Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Question 1: Aren’t disciplines and habits the same?
Yes, I would add the word “great” in front of habits.
Whenever one talks about discipline you cannot take away the word “habit” from the discussion.
Here is something you should know: it does not take three weeks to install a positive habit, it actually takes over three times more time than that: 66 days to be precise. Disciplines are specific. Michael Phelps had been diagnosed as having ADHD in kindergarten. His teacher reported to his mother that “he can’t focused on anything”… Really?
As an Olympian, he has won enough Olympic medals to qualify 12th in the World over 3 Olympics. To be successful you need discipline not in all areas of your life but only on a few key ones you are passionate about. Phelps “loved” swimming, as I mentioned in my first article, and it is easy to be disciplined in something you love.
You don’t decide on your future, you decide on your habits, and your habits decide on your future. READ THAT LAST SENTENCE AGAIN !

Question 2: How much discipline can we have?
Willpower goes through a LOT of glucose. Willpower is like a fast-twitch muscle, great for short bursts, yet… no staying power. Hence timing tasks which require willpower have to be done when glucose is stable or slightly raising…like after the meat and nuts breakfast.
I am of the opinion that this explains why most really effective individuals only work 4 hours a day at maximal power. You brain fuel supply is just not there. While our brain represents only one 50th of our bodyweight, it consumes one fifth of the fuel.

Question 3: Want to win a business meeting?
Provide free breakfast of carbs and low fats for your guests, and you eat the meat and nut breakfast right before the meeting. Time your demands when their blood sugar is dropping, lets say 10:30 AM if you gave THEM the breakfast at 8 AM…

Question 4: To be sharp at a meeting, what do you need ?
You need a prefrontal cortex that is lit up: sharp focus, great short-term memory, problem solving ability, and of course, impulse control. When your blood sugar is the doldrums, your prefrontal cortex is done.. A sharp brain consumes fuel the way a Porsche does.
Anybody who claims they are sharp 16 hours a day, is a compulsive liar.
Skipping meals kills will power !

Question 5: How can I get more discipline?
Four hours on CONCENTRATED work a day is a realistic goal. You do that, you will BE in the top 1% in your chosen passion. Here are the best 5 tips to be more disciplined:

1 Go on a smart phone/social media diet. Twice a day, 15 minutes. Max. Implement that, and you are on the fast track to success. Are there exceptions? Of course like riding the subway, not while you are driving. The average worker is interrupted every 11 minutes, and spend almost a third of their day recovering from these interruptions. Distractions cost in terms of time and effectiveness. The numbers are even frightening for people who work on computers all day, they tend to switch tasks 37 times an hour.

2 Do your most important task after you finish breakfast. No email, no phone, give it two hours. Take a break. Preferably a glycemic balanced snack.

3 Do another two hours of priority work.

4 Now you can read email, take messages etc.

5 Learn on to meditate. If there is one thing I wish I had learned earlier in life, it would be having to learned meditation earlier. I can’t unring the doorbell nor unscramble the eggs. However, my best course is to promote it. Meditation has numerous brain benefits that have been published in peer reviewed papers. I have only done it 3 months, yet that short time period, I have already found that my sleep needs have decreased, I wake up more rested, and my short-term memory has significantly improved.

Do what you love, love what you do!

Coach Charles R. Poliquin