5 habits that will help you stay disciplined

Yahoo Lifestyle
Photograph: Thao Le Hoang/Unsplash
Photograph: Thao Le Hoang/Unsplash

Start building these habits when you're working from home and watch them reap benefits after

We are in Week 8 (or thereabouts) of the lockdown. And with the number of coronavirus cases showing no signs of slowing down, it’s safe to say we will be under lockdown for the foreseeable future. What may have started as a cheerful effort at self-improvement, is likely a joke in retrospect. We understand how that transition may have happened. But if you see each day as a new opportunity to start over, chances are you may be able to get started on those self-improvement missions all over again. And the one thing you need to achieve those missions is discipline. Which is convenient because that’s what this article is about. These are the five habits that will help you stay disciplined:

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1. Start your day with a cold shower

There’s nothing quite like a cold shower to get you up and about. It’s also known to keep you looking younger. Just ask this 50-year-old mother who looks as young as her son and counts among her daily routine, a cold swim in the mornings. But even if eternal youth isn’t high on your list of priorities, a cold shower helps you reach a peak state of performance because it helps reduce stress levels, increases your level of alertness and focus, improves blood circulation and your immune system. And yes, it stimulates weight loss.

2. Work out

Really, this is a no-brainer but we’re stressing on this simply because we know the power of reiteration. Even if you cannot hit the gym anymore, it will help if you do some kind of workout every day. Log into Cult Fit if you’re a member. Or simply start with a beginners’ challenge on YouTube. It’s amazing what you can do if you set a target for yourself – 21 Surya Namaskars, 15-day workout with no breaks – keep the target achievable but also not one that can be easily met.

3. Spend 10 minutes meditating

Literally ten minutes, no more! Meditating (and this could include a 10-minute shavasana too) can help you focus and silence all the distractions. When you are concentrating on your breathing, everything else falls out of focus, which is precisely what you need to build discipline. It has also been proven that meditating regularly helps ‘strengthen’ the pre-frontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that’s responsible for functions such as focus, decision-making, and self-discipline. What this means is that meditating will help your brain ease itself into a self-discipline.

4. Take out all your distractions for a couple of hours

What this means is you turn off your notifications, emails, everything that can possibly distract you. Now, this may seem like yet another no-brainer suggestion but here’s what happens when you keep your notifications on. Every time your phone rings, or you screen lights, up you feel get a high. The anticipation of who’s reached out to you or reacted to your social media posts releases dopamine. Sure that makes you feel good but only for a short amount of time. Your one notification pushes you down a slippery slope and before long you’ve lost a lot of time doing nothing useful. The dopamine has, by now, crashed and you’re staring at an unfinished task that makes you feel even more horrible than you felt earlier. If, on the other hand, you complete your task, you have the rest of the time to yourself. This is how most of us got through school and college; no reason why that habit can’t get you through life. Wouldn’t you agree?

5. Learn to forgive yourself

You are bound to slip, not just once or twice but several times over. The important thing to do is to simply pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, don’t be hard on yourself and, ultimately, start over.

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