A Guide to Developing the Self-Discipline Habit

By Leo Babauta

One of the most important life skills to develop, for those just starting out in life (and everyone else!), is the skill of self-discipline.

It’s like a superpower: when I developed some self-discipline, I started exercising and eating healthier and meditating and writing more, I quit smoking and ran marathons, I started a blog and wrote books, I read more and work earlier, I decluttered and transformed my finances. I’m far from perfect, but I’ve learned a lot.

But if you don’t develop self-discipline, it causes problems: health problems, distraction, procrastination, financial problems, clutter, things piling up and overwhelming you, and much more.

So it’s such an important skill to develop, but most people don’t know where to start. This guide is aimed at helping you get started.

I’m writing it for my kids, and for anyone else who would like to develop a superpower.

Finding Motivation

The first question is, how do you even get motivated to start? Most of us don’t want to think about our lack of discipline, let alone take a bunch of actions.

For me, the motivation came from realizing that what I was doing wasn’t working. Ignoring the problems only made things worse. Trying to be disciplined but doing it half-assedly only resulted in me feeling bad about myself. Being wholly undisciplined was causing myself a bunch of pain.

Once you realize that you’re causing yourself pain … you might develop a whole-hearted intention to stop hurting yourself. You might say, “OK, that’s enough with making my life worse. Let’s try to make it less worse.”

With that in mind, you can tell yourself that you are going to:

  • Start taking small actions to make things better
  • Do the things that hurt you less
  • Push yourself into discomfort a little bit, so you can get better at this over time
  • Get good at self-discipline with some practice

Keep these things in mind as you practice, as you get the urge to not practice, and as you make mistakes and then want to give up.

There are other good motivations as well:

  1. Wanting to help others — if you get better at exercise or healthy eating, for example, you can help your aging parents who need to get better at these things. If you get better at not procrastinating on your life’s work, you can help more people with that meaningful work. More on this below, in the “Focus on Others” section.
  2. Appreciating life — we have a short time here on Earth, and the life we have is a gift. When we procrastinate and give in to endless distraction, and don’t make the most of our time, we are not fully appreciating the gift we have. Instead, we can appreciate it by being present, being grateful, and being purposeful about how we spend our time.

With these motivations — or whatever motivations move you the most — we can start to practice.

Small Actions

One of the most important things you can do to get better at self-discipline is to take small actions. It can seem overwhelming to tackle huge, intimidating projects … so don’t. Instead, tackle easy actions, things so small you can’t say no.

Have some taxes to do? Just do 5 minutes. Want to run? Just run for 10 minutes. Have a report to work on? Just do the first few paragraphs. Want to declutter? Just find 5 things to declutter.

You’ll get better at self-discipline if you focus on small tasks, and break bigger projects into small tasks. Read more.

Discomfort Training

One of the reasons we don’t have self-discipline is because we run from the hard, uncomfortable things. We would rather do the easy, comfortable, familiar things.

So instead of facing our hard, uncomfortable projects or finances, we run to distractions, videos, games. This running from discomfort is ruining our lives.

What you can tell yourself is that you’re done running. You are going to push into discomfort, a little at a time, and get good at being uncomfortable. This is another of your superpowers. When others run, you’re OK (even if it’s not always fun).

One small task at a time, push yourself into discomfort. See how it feels. See that it’s not the end of the world. See that you are awesome enough to handle discomfort, and that the results are well worth it.

Mindfulness with Urges

You’ll have the urge to quit doing something hard, or to put it off for now. Those urges don’t serve you well.

Instead, develop mindfulness around those urges, and see that you don’t have to follow them.

A good way to do that is to set a time for yourself where you can do nothing but X. For example, for the next 10 minutes, you can do nothing but write your book chapter (or exercise, meditate, etc.). When you have the urge to procrastinate or run to distractions, you’ll easily see it, because you’re either writing the book, or you’re not. When you have the urge, tell yourself you can’t follow it, you have to either write your book chapter or sit there and do nothing.

Raymond Chandler used that as his simple writing system: “Write or nothing. I find it works. Two very simple rules, a. you don’t have to write. b. you can’t do anything else.”

The reason it works is that you are setting up a time where you do nothing else but that one specified task, and you can see your urges to run away. Use this to learn to be mindful of your urges, and see that you don’t have to follow them.

Interval Training

If you combine the above items into a system of bursts, or intervals, you can train yourself using interval training:

  1. Set your intention to practice self-discipline and not hurt yourself anymore.
  2. Set a task to focus on (writing, drawing, strength training, meditating, etc).
  3. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Five minutes is also fine if 10 is too long. Don’t go longer until you get good at 10 minutes, then increase to 12 and eventually 15. I don’t find I need to go beyond 15-20 minutes even when I’m kicking butt.
  4. Do nothing but sit there and watch your urges, or push into your discomfort by doing the task.
  5. When the timer goes off, give yourself a 5-minute break.
  6. Repeat.

You can train for several intervals, or potentially for an hour or two. Then take a longer break, and do another set of intervals after that.

This kind of interval training is fantastic, because it’s not that hard, you really train yourself in discomfort and watching urges, and you can get a lot done this way.

A Focus on Others

When you find yourself struggling, dig into deeper motivation: doing your work/exercise/meditation etc. not for yourself, but for others.

For example:

  • I’m writing this article to help my kids, and anyone else who might benefit.
  • I work out to be healthy, not only for myself but as an example for my kids and others who might benefit.
  • I meditate not only for my own peace and sanity, but so that I can help others find their own peace and sanity.
  • You might draw or write or play music to inspire others.

In each example, you might benefit … but you’re also doing it to benefit others. And this benefit to others is much more motivating than doing something just for yourself.

Try it … try doing a difficult task for someone else. Tell them you’re going to do it for them beforehand, then keep them in mind as you do it. See if you feel more motivated.

Victories in Success & Failure

A huge mistake that a lot of people make is that they mess up, and get discouraged by this. They feel bad about messing up. This causes them to give up and not want to think about developing self-discipline.

Here’s the thing: failure is actually a victory.

Failure means you tried. So it’s a victory from the start.

But it also means you learned something — you now know that what you tried didn’t quite work. Next time, you can try something a bit different. Add more accountability, try it at a different time, unplug your wireless router, get a workout partner, anything. Because of your failure, you have new information. You’ve learned, and that helps you get better.

Failure is a victory. Success is also a victory. No matter what your result, you can see it as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to get better.

Drop any ideas of being perfect at this, and just keep trying.

The next time you fail at whatever you’re trying, instead of letting it get you discouraged, see it as a victory. Then keep going, no matter what, because giving up is only going to hurt you some more.

Getting Support

You’re not in this alone. You have family, friends, online strangers who can help you. Form a support team by reaching out to the people around you, and asking for their help.

Lots of people skip this because they are embarrassed by their lack of discipline. They feel that the way they behave is shameful. That’s not true. Actually, we all act like this, but we’re just afraid to show that side to each other. But the truth is, if you show your “dark” side to people, they actually love you more, trust you more, relate to you more. So don’t be afraid to connect with others in a vulnerable way.

Find the courage to ask for help. Then let yourself be supported as you work on pushing yourself into discomfort and hurting yourself less.

If you need help from me, try my 44 Training Program – Turning Uncertainty & Discomfort into Mindful Openness.

You can do this.

Original Source: A Guide to Developing the Self-Discipline Habit

Episode 365 – Shawn Stevenson – Health Recovery, Career, and Sleeping Smarter

The Good Kitchen bannerOn this episode of the podcast we have my friend Shawn Stevenson. Shawn is the host of The Model Health Show, the #1 health and fitness podcast on iTunes, and also the bestselling author of the book Sleep Smarter. Listen in as we talk about Shawn’s health recovery, career, and tips for sleeping smarter. (Apologies for the connection issues and audio quality in some places during the podcast.)
Sleepcocktails_banner_540x66_Left

Download Episode Here (MP3)

 

Website: themodelhealthshow.com

Book: sleepsmarterbook.com

 

 

30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet

Want some extra help? Have you been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? We’ve created a getting started guide to help you through your first 30 days.

Buy the book

 

Wired-to-Eat-RenderDon’t forget, Wired to Eat is now available!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBooks

Original Source: Episode 365 – Shawn Stevenson – Health Recovery, Career, and Sleeping Smarter

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili

Are you craving a big bowl of meaty, fragrant chili, but sweating at the thought of simmering a pot in this heat? Instant Pot to the rescue! Homemade ground beef chili is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s inexpensive to make, packed with robust flavors, feeds a crowd, and—if you make it in a pressure cooker—keeps your kitchen (relatively) cool. Did I mention it’s Whole30-friendly, too?

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know: Folks can be very opinionated about what should or shouldn’t go in a hearty bowl of chili. (For another version that uses chunks of beef stew meat, try the Southwest Cowboy Chili on page 224 of my first cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans.) Some of you chili snobs may turn up your nose at this Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili ’cause it includes tomatoes and fish sauce(!), and omits legumes, but that’s okay—just call it something else. No matter if you think it qualifies as chili or not, I love this umami-packed recipe because it hits the spot with my family, and I can whip it together on a weeknight with stuff that’s readily available in my kitchen. Besides, have I ever steered you wrong in the past? (Bonus trivia: Henry and I won a chili cook-off way back in college, so either we know our stuff, or we had lots of friends who stuffed the ballot box. But who remembers?)

Last but not least, this chili is a fantastic emergency entrée to stock in your fridge and freezer. You can eat it as-is, throw it on zoodles, spoon it over some grass-fed hot dogs, stuff it in an omelet—you name it! Now, go get your chili on!

Ingredients:

Optional toppings:

  • Sliced avocado
  • Slivered scallions
  • Finely diced white onions + minced cilantro
  • Unsweetened coconut yogurt (I like Coyo brand the best)
  • Lime wedges

Equipment:

Method:

Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot and wait for the metal insert to heat up. Once the insert is hot, add 1 tablespoon of fat and swirl it around. 

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As soon as the oil is shimmering, add the onions and bell peppers with a sprinkle of salt.

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened.

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Stir in the tomato paste and minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Add in the ground beef…

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…along with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Brown the meat and break it up with a spatula.

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

When most of the ground beef is no longer pink (5 to 7 minutes), stir in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper (optional).

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Combine well to distribute the fragrant spices.

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Toss in the drained diced tomatoes, broth, and fish sauce.

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Stir everything well, making sure the liquid reaches the bottom of the insert.

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Lock the lid and cook under high pressure for 15 minutes. (In other words, press the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button and set the time for 15 minutes under high pressure.)

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

When the chili is finished cooking, release the pressure manually if you’re itching to eat it right away. Otherwise, you can let the pressure come down naturally and chow down when you’re ready.

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Taste the chili and adjust the seasoning if necessary. 

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Sprinkle on some extra salt and stir in the apple cider vinegar, if desired. Taste again to see if you need to punch up the flavors.

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ladle up the chili and serve with your favorite toppings, like sliced avocado, white onion, and cilantro!

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You can store the chili in the fridge for up to 4 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!


Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili

Prep 5 mins

Cook 30 mins

Inactive 10 mins

Total 45 mins

Yield 6 servings

Instant Pot ground beef chili recipe is one of my favorite comfort foods. This budget-friendly weeknight supper feeds a crowd and is Whole30-friendly, too!

Ingredients

Optional toppings:

  • Sliced avocado
  • Slivered scallions
  • Finely diced white onions + minced cilantro
  • Unsweetened coconut yogurt (I like Coyo brand the best)
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot and wait for the metal insert to heat up. Once the insert is hot, add 1 tablespoon of fat and swirl it around. 
  2. As soon as the oil is shimmering, add the onions and bell peppers with a sprinkle of salt. 
  3. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  5. Add in the ground beef, along with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Brown the meat and break it up with a spatula.
  6. When most of the ground beef is no longer pink (5 to 7 minutes), stir in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper (optional). Combine well to distribute the fragrant spices.
  7. Toss in the drained diced tomatoes, broth, and fish sauce. Stir everything well, making sure the liquid reaches the bottom of the insert.
  8. Lock the lid and cook under high pressure for 15 minutes. (In other words, press the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button and set the time for 15 minutes under high pressure.)
  9. When the chili is finished cooking, release the pressure manually if you’re itching to eat it right away. Otherwise, you can let the pressure come down naturally and chow down when you’re ready.
  10. Taste the chili and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle on some extra salt and stir in the apple cider vinegar, if desired. Taste again to see if you need to punch up the flavors.
  11. Ladle up the chili and serve with your favorite toppings, like sliced avocado, white onion, and cilantro!
  12. You can store the chili in the fridge for up to 4 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Notes

This chili is a fantastic emergency entrée to stock in your fridge and freezer. You can eat it as-is, throw it on zoodles, spoon it over some grass-fed hot dogs, stuff it in an omelet—you name it!

Courses Dinner

Cuisine Whole30, American, Comfort Food, Tex-Mex, Paleo, Gluten-free, Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Primal

The post Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili appeared first on Nom Nom Paleo®.

Original Source: Instant Pot Ground Beef Chili

Turmeric Braised Chicken with Golden Beets and Leeks

Turmeric Braised Chicken with Golden Beets and Leeks is a flavorful dish layered with vegetables and spices, covered with wine and baked in a casserole dish.

Turmeric Braised Chicken with Golden Beets and Leeks is a flavorful dish layered with vegetables and spices, covered with wine and baked in a casserole dish. What emerges from the oven once it’s done is the most incredible tasting chicken dish in a rich, golden broth with the perfect balance of flavors that will make you want to lick the bottom of the dish, it’s THAT good!

Turmeric Braised Chicken with Golden Beets and Leeks is a flavorful dish layered with vegetables and spices, covered with wine and baked in a casserole dish.

(more…)

Original Source: Turmeric Braised Chicken with Golden Beets and Leeks

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 76)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 76)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 76). A few favorites added from last week, and some favorites from the archives Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats and Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato Kebabs, perfect for Memorial Day weekend! If you want some Memorial Day inspiration, here’s a ton of recipes perfect for the weekend!

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 76)

Pictured above is The Skinnytaste Meal Planner where I plan my dinners for the week (you can of course use any meal planner). Meal planning is a great way to get organized before heading to the supermarket to get ready for the week! My breakfast is usually something quick like eggs with fruit, a smoothie or avocado toast. We’re a family of four, so if a recipe serves more, it’s either packed up for everyone’s lunch or eaten the next day as leftovers. If you would like to see some of the previous week’s dinner plans, click here

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 76)

Monday: Asparagus and Green Lentils with Poached Egg
Tuesday: Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Wednesday: Chicken Pesto Bake with zoodles
Thursday: Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries and Spinach
Friday: Waffled Crab Cakes with salad
Saturday: BBQ
Sunday: Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato Kebabs

(more…)

Original Source: Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 76)