Which is more challenging? Controlling others or controlling yourself? It is indeed challenging to control other people’s thoughts, behaviors and actions. I believe that controlling your own thoughts, behaviors and actions is as difficult, and sometimes even more difficult than controlling others’ thoughts, behaviors and actions. Sometimes, you may even feel that you do not even recognize yourself when your thoughts, actions and behaviors become out of your control and totally different than those of the kind of person you thought you were. That is when you realize that controlling one self is not easy at all.
Nowadays, it has become a trend to work on your fitness and overall well-being, both at the physical and emotional levels. People, or at least those living in urban areas such as Addis, are increasingly making it their lifestyle to join the gym to achieve physical fitness and health and to follow diets recommended by professional nutritionists. This is definitely something that should be encouraged particularly in a time where our daily jobs require us to sit whole day everyday at our desks with limited movement during the day. This not only causes us to gain unnecessary weight but is also threatening our health and lives.
People are convinced that healthy eating and exercise should be a lifestyle and therefore part of our daily routines. Nevertheless, I have seen that many fail when it comes to turning things into action. They want to get fit and thin but do not want the hard work that leads to these results. For some, paying expensive for the gym is considered an objective in itself. They pay for the gym, but it is rarely that they attend to it. Or they join the gym, but do not want to follow the diet restrictions that should go hand-in-hand with exercise to be able to achieve the desired weight reduction and overall fitness. The temptations for unhealthy foods just go beyond their desire for fitness, and they end up giving up on this desire.
What causes lack of self-discipline? I believe that the one and main thing that determines one’s level and strength of self-discipline is the level at which they desire the final objective of the thing for which the self-discipline was needed in the first place. For example, one’s desire may be to loose weight and look thinner. For me, if someone is lacking the self-discipline to realize this desire it is because the desire for getting thinner was not as strong as the desire for weight-gaining foods, for instance. These people simply did not desire loosing weight as much as they thought they did. Self-discipline is for me all about how much you want the thing the self-discipline was needed for.
People fail to realize that the greatest motivator to achieve a certain desire or objective is themselves. People can only give you advice and some support. At the end of the day, you are the one who should push yourself towards the achievement of the desired objective. If you take the case of exercises for instance, I have seen that some people try to convince themselves to join the gym with them. This might be a motivator of course. But it is a weak motivator. If the people joining with you at the gym get weak, you will also get weak. Even if those joining the gym with you are well motivated and self-disciplined, you cannot keep your commitment of going to the gym and work hard once in there if you do not have enough self-motivation in you in the first place. At the end of the day, no one can push and force you to exercise for your own benefit. You and you only can do that. So working on own motivation, strength and commitment, independent of what others would do, is the only way out!
Be it exercise, dieting, your education, your family, or your work, unless the drive to achieve your desires is not strong enough, achieving self-discipline is going to be very challenging!