Oh, Discipline! We Need to Hang Out More Often!

By Donna Gates, as seen on:

Chop wood and carry water. According to meditation masters and seasoned yogis, the path to greater awareness is unadorned and practical.

In order to awaken to our essential self, all we need is determined effort.

And after we “wake up,” the story is the same: Chop wood and carry water.

Too often, we glamorize spirituality. We are accustomed to finding peace in a place that we need to go to. In reality, our greatest source of strength and peace is within.

And the only way to get there is with consistent effort and discipline.

Discipline can take us to deeper and more fulfilling places in life. It can make our dreams a reality and it can bring our goals within arm’s reach.

When I counsel families on the benefits of going gluten-free or how to remove sugar from the diet, or the benefits of fermented foods, the most common argument that I hear is that it is too hard.

After all, processed foods are filled gluten and added sugar is everywhere! And if you are a parent trying to control what your child does and does not eat, the task can seem impossible.

Whether we want to change our diet, drop a bad habit, release a toxic relationship, or dig deeper into our spiritual practice, discipline is the force that we need to trust.

But discipline doesn’t need to feel miserable and unnatural.

When we focus on taking it step by step, we find ourselves constantly steered in the direction of our goals.

In making a shift in our eating and in our health, we need to take it step by step. Be disciplined in cutting out sugar, be disciplined in cutting out gluten, be disciplined in cutting out unhealthy fats, be disciplined in drinking plenty of water and eating high vibrational foods like fermented veggies, be disciplined in resting when our body needs rest, and be disciplined in eliminating toxic people and relationships from our lives.

What makes us successful is not in reaching the goal, but in the effort we put into shifting our focus from the end result to each step along the path.

Having the discipline involved to move forward even when we are impatient or want to quit is a reward in itself, because this is where we teach ourselves about self-love. The more self-love we bathe ourselves with, the more we change the lens that monitors our progress.

This is true with our most basic goals. And it is true of the big ones, the ones that can span a lifetime.

Setting goals and dreaming big is only part of the picture. Committing to doing the work to make it happen is other part.

Commit today. Take a calendar and on today’s date draw a big smiley face. Choose to take a step. It may be saying no to an unhealthy snack or making a healthy smoothie with active fermented greens. It may be saying no to answering that call you know will make you feel bad.

Each day take a small step. Before you know it—you’ll have a calendar of smiling faces staring back at you, cheering you on.


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