Hello Aion Family,
Today, I'm writing on the concept of Discipline.
Reason being is, I tend to have trouble with it myself. For example, today was the first time in years that I've been able to wake up several hours earlier than necessary in order to write this.
Discipline is nothing more than repetition of action. There's no connotation for the 'positive' or 'negative' aspects of discipline, you're practicing it everyday.
Check your phone first thing in the morning? Discipline.
Go to bed without stretching? Discipline.
Refusing to begin work right away at your job before coffee? Discipline.
The brain is pretty interesting in that, the more often we repeat an action, the easier it becomes to perform it. This is why the 'average' smartphone user is opening Instagram 150+ times a day, refreshing for interaction or keeping up on what other people post.
Personally, I find it bizarre that even negative repetitive actions are a form of discipline. It was this realization that caused me to put a full attempt into not only indulging those states of mind, but cultivating better ones.
See, I don't know how far along you're in on your 'New Year's Resolutions,' but I'm willing to bet you forgot to keep that promise to yourself. (Unless you didn't, in which case keep it up because you're doing awesome!)
Change is going to require more from you than choosing an arbitrary date on the calendar before you decide to start doing something.
It has to be more precise than that. Because if you're expecting the year '2020' to give you more willpower, that's just not how it's going to work.
Battles are won in the moment, Wars are won in the Battles, the Moment is the Breath.
Let's consider this:
If you can remind yourself to take 5 deep breaths whenever you feel yourself get distracted, or reaching for your phone, or mindlessly scrolling a social media site, you will have interrupted the cycles within your brain that are wanting you to continue.
For most people, this is the most challenging part of breaking a habit, the recognition of its existence to begin with.
How often do you find hours have gone by before you get out of bed? All because you instinctively reached for your phone before rising to stretch, grab some water, or take 10 deep breaths of the morning air?
I know I'm a work in progress as well, we all are. There is never a finish line to self-improvement, which is the entire point of the concept. Don't grow discouraged if you find yourself facing an uphill climb once you recognize the parts of yourself you no longer want to indulge.
Remember the Sisyphus Myth? That boulder is your discipline to the actions you've already determined are not for you.
The hill is your new discipline.
The steps you take are the active actions and reminders you use to break that which came before.
If this sounds too 'heady' or if you're getting lost in the language, I can break it down even simpler.
You, as a person, are the culmination of your action.
If your primary actions in life are social media usage, you have now given up sovereignty of mind and attention.
While it is important to invest attention into the new actions that you want for your life, it's even more important (in my opinion) to be able to recognize when you're performing the wrong actions and BREAK that synapses.
Your brain is seeking ways for you to feel good, this is not unnatural.
What is unnatural, as of the last 20 years, is how the digital world has supplanted real-world activities that used to perform this function for us on a daily basis.
Personally, I know that if I'm feeling depleted, it's likely because whatever I'm over-indulging in, has no real 'use' for me other than being a dopamine-kick.
To wrap this up, I want to leave you with some actionable guidance that you can implement in your daily life, to cultivate a level of mindfulness:
- Active Breathing: If you find yourself in a 'rushed' or 'stressed' state of mind, take 5 really deep belly breaths, or better yet, try Box Breathing
- Posture Check: How far forward is your head? How much tension is in your jaw? How high are your shoulders? Ask these questions while doing the breathing I just mentioned to really give yourself a 'boost.'
- Smile More: This one is optional, but probably has the quickest effects. Smile at people when you pass them, greet them with a simple salutation, everyone in this world is experiencing a war of your own. Given the fact that social media is so popular, we're probably only looking for anyone to notice us. The Mirror Neurons in your brain will make you feel as good as the person you're offering that attention to. Sort of like a 2-for-1 bonus. A natural dopamine boost!
That should suffice for now.
If you'd like further discussion about mindfulness and the tactics that I have learned to implement in my life, you can leave me a DM on Twitter.
Thank you for reading, continue having an awesome day.