You have no doubt been inundated with advertising online about how to use a new super food to melt away extra pounds or some Jiu-Jitsu instructional series that promises to reveal secret techniques that transform you to a mat monster in minutes, and many other ways to get results fast. This quick fix / no pain appeals to all of us. It is human nature to want to get something that we want for the least amount of time, money and effort expended.
However, when we think about the accomplishments in our lives that we are most proud of, these things likely did not happen overnight. And meaningful accomplishments - whether that is a new purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu, a certification from school or overcoming and quitting a bad habit like smoking or drinking alcohol - did not come without concerted effort. It just seems to work that way doesn't it? All of the good things in life are difficult to achieve. That is a major reason why we value those accomplishments so much.
Motivation is certainly a factor. The person that one day decides "enough is enough!" and vows to change some aspect of his/her life finds powerful motivation to change course and go towards a new direction.
The point at which many great motivations fail however, is the lack of follow through, the lack of daily discipline to take the concrete steps to make your goal happen. It requires self discipline to push yourself away from the dinner table or say no to the French fries and yes to the vegetables at dinner when you are trying to reduce your body mass. It takes self discipline to drink water instead of a Coca Cola when watching a movie at night when you want to reduce sugar in your diet. It takes self discipline to show up for training on days that your energy is low but there is a tournament coming up that you want to peak for.
Our discipline is constantly tested by numerous distractions. By temptations that are easy and enjoyable in the moment, but take us further away from our most important goals.
How can Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu students avoid traps of the failure of self discipline and stay on track to work towards their goals?
Connecting with your goals. I recall a quote some time ago that stated simply "Motivation is simply remembering what you REALLY want."
Staying in touch with your goals and the WHY you have decided to go train is super important in order to stay disciplined.
Why not pick up some ice cream at the store on the way home from work? "I deserve it!" your inner voice says.
"Well, if you want to compete at 155 lbs. next month, you better stick to your plan!" Stay connected with your higher, more important long range goals to stay on your short term disciplines.
For this reason, many competitors say there is no greater motivation to stick to one's disciplines than the knowledge that they will be put to the test in competition.
Understanding that patience is key.
So many of these fad diets, get rich quick schemes and "get abs in 30 days" appeal to our desire to get what we want NOW! Our ability to maintain that discipline over the longer period that they take to get results is improved if we acknowledge and accept that anything worthwhile takes a longer time. Expecting immediate success can be a road to disappointment and abandoning our efforts before we get what we really want.
Master Carlos Gracie Jr. quote:
"Discipline and consistency. I owe these two factors all have attained in my life.
Things have never happened overnight. Results have appeared as a consequence of decades long toil. It is necessary to persist."
Small things matter
The shock of switching from eating anything that we want to a Spartan regimen of zero sugar, no junk food or fasting has been the premature end of many a grand plan. It is too difficult for us to change our ingrained habits drastically and not expect to fail.
One speaker offered the advice to begin major life changes with something small and on the surface - inconsequential.
"Start with making your bed every morning."
Why would this be helpful?
We can build self discipline through small decisions repeated often. Change a few of your behaviors in small, relatively painless ways to get some momentum started. These small victories encourage bigger disciplines and positively contribute to our self esteem.
How do YOU maintain your own discipline when it comes to working towards your Jiu-Jitsu goals?