It’s easy to do what we’re supposed to do when we’re feeling good. Everyone likes to feel good. We do things to make us feel good, like eating right, exercising, or going out and enjoying fresh air. Keeping a discipline of doing what’s right for ourselves makes us feel good. The motivation for this is easier when we’re already feeling good and positive, but what about when we don’t feel good? What about the days when we feel awful, depressed, sad, unmotivated, or let down.
Why is it so easy to do what we’re supposed to do to take care of ourselves and others when we feel good, but when we don’t feel good, it’s so much harder to pull ourselves back together and do the things that we need to do to feel good again?
You might measure resiliency by the way a person handles those bad days and the way they handle undesirable situations. So, how can we work to build up our resiliency and have discipline in the bad days as well as the good days?
Discipline doesn’t just come from a desire to do what is right and what is good for ourselves and others. Sometimes we want to do it, but we just can’t seem to find the energy. Discipline comes from good practice, good habits, and a drive towards a goal that will keep us on the right path even when we don’t feel like doing the things we need to do. It comes from routine, focus, and prioritizing.
Emmaline Soken-Huberty says, “No matter where you look, whether it’s in a spiritual or secular environment, self-discipline always comes up when people talk about improving their lives. It can be defined as the development of new habits, the regulation of emotions and actions, and intentional focus” (Ten Reasons Why Discipline is Important, 2021).
A great way to keep ourselves disciplined is to keep a routine. This way, even when we don’t feel like doing a certain thing, we will still drive ourselves towards routine, towards habit. It’s what our minds and bodies expect to happen next. We’ve talked about the power of routine, but let’s review it again.
We brush our teeth in the morning, we shower after a long, hard day, we put our shoes and jackets away in a particular place. Whatever our routine items are, we do them by habit because we’ve been doing them for so long. Of course, we want to have a good routine, one with healthy habits leading to desirable outcomes. A person could have a routine of smoking after dinner, but it’s not a good routine.
When we want to do something in order to achieve a goal, we build routines to make it happen. If we want to exercise more, we create a time and place to do and make actually doing it part of our daily activities. That way, we don’t just decide at that moment to go exercise but we do it because that’s what’s next in our day.
Ever drive while sleepy or when your glasses or contacts are foggy or unfocused? It’s dangerous. You know and probably don’t like that you can’t see where you’re going clearly. It’s the same with life goals. We do better when we stay focused. That’s easy enough to understand, but how do we stay focused?
Those who have ADHD will understand the danger of distractibility. It takes some longer to complete a task than others because so many things get in the way. Thoughts race, unexpected issues arise, or people interrupt. It happens. But those who have learned to deal with those issues know the secret.
There’s no secret. It’s about getting back in focus, lining up your goals once again, and moving forward. It’s okay to lose focus, but come back. Don’t drift off and give up. Remember your goals, write them down, put them somewhere you’ll see them, and go forward. Check out these tips from BetterUp on improving your focus.
We can all get lost in the shuffle. Looking at bills is overwhelming. Considering new expenses, overdue charges, and needing to provide for your family can make our heads reel. When we feel overwhelmed, we need to stop and prioritize what’s right in front of us.
Is there an immediate need like gas in the car or food on the table or kid to go pick up? Do that. Is there an overdue charge? Take care of what you can. Is your goal finding work? If that’s a goal and you feel you have no time, then you might be underestimating yourself (or overestimating the task.) You could take as little as five to ten minutes glancing through an app or website. Most have auto-apply settings. Throw a couple applications out there and move on. When you can, put more time into your resume, but don’t let “I don’t have time” become your excuse. Do something if it’s important enough. Check out this from Indeed on How to Set Priorities in 4 Steps.
Peaks and Valleys
It’s been said that life is filled with peaks and valleys. If the good days are peaks – highs in our lives when we feel happy and can see far – then the bad days are valleys when we’re feeling lower and can’t see very far. You could reverse that and say the valleys are good and easy to walk through and the peaks are challenges, hard to climb or descend. Everyone has a different viewpoint.
Either way, we have ups and downs, good days and bad. The idea is to set yourself up to be resilient through the bad days, discipline yourself so that you’re able to come through them. Then, you’re more likely to continue towards your goals and crush those mountains. If you need a little support – or a lot – FRC is here to chat. Now let’s reach those goals!