5 Habits To Cultivate Strong Self-Discipline In Your Life

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Photo by Sam Sabourin on Unsplash

By Jari Roomer

If you regularly read my articles, you’ll notice that I’m more in favour of building strong habits, creating a supportive environment and knowing how to truly motivate yourself compared to focusing too heavily on self-discipline. If you get the first three elements right, it makes hard work much easier and more enjoyable compared to just disciplining yourself.

Nevertheless, you still need self-discipline as the basis for many of your decisions. Therefore, it’s a very important part of peak performance. Those who consistently make better decisions (which, in essence, is self-discipline) are the ones who get ahead in life.

Your self-discipline influences whether you’re going to grab a hamburger or a salad. It influences whether you’re going for a workout or binge-watch Netflix instead.

In other words, self-discipline determines whether you’ll make an empowering or limiting decision within the moment — and that can lead to either stronger or weaker habits.

Habit #1: Cold Showers
If there’s one habit that cultivates discipline, it’s taking cold showers. When that cold water hits your skin, your mind is screaming to get out. In fact, the mental battle already starts when you’re contemplating whether or not you should take a cold shower at all.

If you then override this inner voice and stay under the cold water nevertheless, you develop a strong habit out of doing something that you don’t necessarily want to do — and that’s discipline.

Not only are cold showers great for developing strong discipline, but they also have a ton of other benefits that help you improve your performance:

  • Gets you in a ‘peak state’ instantly
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Higher level of alertness
  • Stronger immune system
  • Stimulates weight loss

All in all, try out this habit for yourself if you want to develop stronger self-discipline. Keep in mind that the first times it may feel like hell (especially the first few seconds, which are the worst). Try to calm down your breath as that will also calm down your mind, which makes it easier to follow through.

Habit 2: Meditation
Not only is meditation an amazing habit for lowering stress levels and improving your focus, but it also helps to cultivate strong discipline.

First of all, through meditation, you learn how to focus on one thing (for example, your breath) and silence inner distractions. You learn how to override the inner voice that so often talks us out of doing certain things, even though we should do them. Merely because you’re familiar with silencing your inner chatter through meditation, you’ll find it easier to overrule the inner voice when it pushes you towards procrastination at other moments during the day.

Second of all, it has been proven by science that meditation ‘strengthens’ (simplified explanation) the pre-frontal cortex, which is the area in the brain responsible for many of our executive functions such as decision-making, focus and… self-discipline. In other words, on a neurological level, your brain will find it easier to be disciplined.

Habit 3: Working Out
Exercising is another great habit to cultivate strong self-discipline. When you’re in the gym and you’re pushing yourself to go another rep or increase the weight a bit more, you train yourself to push beyond resistance — and that’s literally what discipline is. In fact, getting yourself off the couch to go for a workout already strengthens your discipline habit.

Furthermore, like meditation, exercise is proven to lead to a stronger pre-frontal cortex, which cultivates even more discipline in your life.

Habit 4: Working Distraction Free
In today’s tech-heavy world, our productivity and self-discipline suffer heavily from the constant interruptions from our smartphone, email, social media and messaging apps.

In fact, most people haven’t worked in a distraction-free environment for years, and that’s a real problem. Personally, I experience that I produce my best work when I work in a distraction-free environment. That means, no smartphone, no social media, no email, no news websites and no other tabs than the ones necessary for my work.

I make sure that I eliminate my distractions beforehand, so that I don’t even have to tap into my discipline to fight them off (which is not a sustainable strategy).

However, working in such a stimuli-deprived environment is very unusual for us and our brain. In fact, when you’re used to checking email or social media every 15 minutes, it’s quite boring to work in such an environment all of a sudden. Therefore, your brain starts to crave more stimuli. It wants dopamine hits so it can feel good and saturated again.

Yet, this craving for dopamine is exactly what makes discipline so hard, as you’re fighting a battle on a biological level (and that’s never an easy fight). It’s because of our need for dopamine hits that we eat a hamburger instead of a salad. It’s why we binge-watch Netflix instead of reading a book. Dopamine is the reason why we procrastinate instead of work hard on our tasks.

But, when you cultivate the habit of working for at least 2 hours per day free of any distractions, you slowly but surely train your brain to crave less dopamine — and that makes it easier to make the right choices over and over again (aka, be more disciplined).

On top of that, you’ll be able to produce higher quality work and finish it much faster than before as you don’t waste time and energy on mindless distractions. In fact, it has helped me reduce my average workday from 8 to 6 hours..

Habit 5: Do A Regular Dopamine ‘Fast’
As I mentioned before, the craving for dopamine hits is why it’s so hard to be disciplined sometimes. You see, every time you scroll through Instagram, watch something on YouTube or Netflix, receive likes on your Facebook post, play some Call of Duty, masturbate to porn or take a bite of a nice juicy hamburger, your brain produces a strong hit of the neurochemical dopamine.

Essentially, your brain is addicted to dopamine and it feels really good whenever dopamine is produced. Therefore, your brain will try to stimulate the repetition of the behaviour that produced the dopamine in the first place. And that’s where things go wrong for us nowadays.

As this is such a big problem for us nowadays (even though most people don’t realize it), I decided to counter it by doing a crazy experiment. I decided to do a 24-Hour Dopamine ‘Fast’

For 24 hours, I had to follow these strict rules:

  • No electronics (no phone, Netflix, laptop or video games etc.)
  • No reading of books or magazines
  • No sex or masturbation
  • No food
  • No talking
  • No music or podcasts
  • No coffee or other stimulants

The only things I practically could do were:

  • Write (with pen and paper)
  • Meditate
  • Go for walks
  • Do deep thinking
  • Visualize
  • Drink water

It’s not as terrible as it sounds. In fact, it was quite peaceful. I finally created the mind-space to think, reflect and come up with new breakthroughs.

Regularly doing a dopamine fast is like pressing the mental reset button. It helps you get out of the fast-paced dopamine-fueled world so that you can focus on the important stuff again.

I clearly noticed that after my first dopamine fast, I became much more aware of how my craving for dopamine led me to make undisciplined decisions (such as procrastinating, eating bad foods etc.) and I was able to override my inner resistance much easier because of that.

If you’re interested in doing a dopamine fast yourself, check out this article that I wrote about my own experience with it!

Note: Dopamine is not per se something bad. It’s a very complex neurochemical that is also responsible for motivation, our attention and our decision making. So dopamine isn’t the bad guy here.. It’s the fact that certain man-made pleasures abuse dopamine in unnatural ways that is the real problem here.

Now Do It
You can only improve your discipline by taking action and not by merely knowing about how to do it. Therefore, I encourage you to implement at least 3 of these habits in your own life in order to cultivate stronger self-discipline.

This article was first published at Medium

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6 Daily Habits To Make Motivation Flow Effortlessly

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

By Jari Roomer

Learning how to motivate yourself is one of the most powerful skills you can learn in life. Motivation is definitely not something random (even though it sometimes feels like it is). There’s a psychology behind why you feel motivated or unmotivated.

In today’s self-development landscape it’s very popular to glorify self-discipline and to disregard motivation. I completely disagree with this notion.

Learning exactly how motivation works makes it much easier to stop procrastinating, overcome the inner resistance and work hard on your goals instead. Furthermore, it makes your work and life much more fun as you don’t have to force and discipline yourself 24/7 to do the right things (which, let’s be honest, isn’t a fun way to go through life).

I’ve tried both approaches in my life and work. I tried just disciplining myself to do the work even when I didn’t ‘feel like it’ and I tried getting myself in a peak state of mind before the start of the day. I can say with 100% confidence that I prefer the latter.

Why not look into the methods to make you ‘feel like it’? When there are habits and tactics available that can spark motivation within a matter of minutes, it would be a waste not to make use of them. Why rely only on your willpower when that’s proven by research to be a finite resource that weakens throughout the day?

Yes, you’ll need to perform these habits on a daily basis as motivation is just a temporary wave of emotions. But that doesn’t really matter when these habits only take a few minutes each day.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.”

— Zig Ziglar

Nowadays, I’m more motivated than ever before — and my results are better than ever. It’s not that I wake up and immediately feel motivated. Rather, it’s that I exercise certain quick habits that spark the motivation necessary to work hard on my goals, without the need to force myself.

I clearly notice that when I don’t perform these habits, my motivation levels drop heavily. That’s why Zig Ziglar’s quote is so true — we need to spark motivation every single day.

Habit 1: Visualization
Visualizing about your goals and how your future could look like is a highly effective way to motivate yourself to work hard today in order to make your vision a reality.

In the past, however, I had trouble adopting visualization as a habit in my life because I always thought it was a bit vague and pseudoscience-ish.

However, visualization can be extremely powerful as it can prime your RAS (your lens through which you view the world) and disarm limiting belief systems. Furthermore, as your goals are at the forefront of your mind during your visualization, you’ll be consistently focused on them.

Personally, I use the 3-phase visualization technique, which takes only about 3 minutes to complete. In the first phase of the visualization you think about how your life would like 3–5 years from now. Clearly visualize what you’ve achieved, what you are doing, where you’re at and who you are with. In the second phase of the visualization you think about how the coming 12 months will look and the last phase of visualization you think about what you need to do today in order to make significant progress on your long-term visions.

During today’s visualization practice I envisioned how my business, Personal Growth Lab, would have many highly engaged followers that would join me on a Peak Performance retreat in Bali. I clearly envisioned the exercises we would do there (such as defining your values, setting your goals, getting clear on your priorities, learning about state change hacks and productivity techniques) and how fun and exciting this retreat would become.

This immediately fueled me with motivation to work hard (and smart) today so that I can grow the PGL following and make this retreat come true.

Habit 2: Reviewing Your Goals
Another highly effective peak performance habit is to review your goals every single day, preferably as part of your morning- and nighttime routine. By reviewing your goals and your reasons why you want to achieve your goals, you put them at the forefront of your mind. This doesn’t just spark the motivation to work hard, but it also helps you to stay focused on your goals and spark new ideas on how to achieve them.

The main reasons why people don’t achieve their goals is because (1) they set too many goals and are therefore spread too thin with their time, energy and focus, and (2) they ‘forget’ about their goals because they fail to remind themselves every single day about what they want to achieve.

Habit 3: Cold Showers
Taking a cold shower has become one of my go-to tools for getting out of a lousy state of mind and into a peak state of mind in an instant. It quickly helps to me to go from unmotivated and low on energy to highly motivated and peak energy levels.

From this improved state of mind it’s much easier to stop procrastinating and work hard on your goals instead. In fact, there hasn’t been a single time where I didn’t feel energized and motivated to go out and crush it after taking a cold shower.

I have to admit, at first, taking cold showers sucks. Your body is actually going into a stress response as the cold water hits your skin, but the key is to stay calm, control your breath, breathe deeply and silence your mind. After 10–15 seconds you’ll start to notice that you can actually handle it and that it’s not as bad as you first thought it would be.

Try to stay for at least 30 seconds under the cold water and notice how awake, energized and on fire you feel when you leave the shower. This instant boost of energy feels amazing, and it’s totally worth the initial struggle.

Habit 4: Reading
Reading the work of the greatest minds in the world is incredibly motivating. By reading business or self-development books, you feed your mind with empowering messages and learn new valuable lessons that you can implement in your own life.

Through reading, you continuously focus your mind on growth instead of mindless distractions, and you spark new ideas that get you motivated to take action.

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”

— Jim Rohn

If you make it a strong habit to read every single day, you’ll fuel your mind with new ideas and motivating messages. Personally, I read for about 15 minutes as part of my morning routine. This helps me to start the day with an engaged and highly motivated mind.

Habit 5: Affirmations
Affirmations are essentially messages that you want to remind yourself of on a daily basis. This could be in the form of post-it notes hanging around your house or by having a single piece of paper with all of your affirmations on them.

Your affirmations can include any message that you find empowering and motivating. Whether it’s inspiring quotes or life-lessons you’ve learned yourself, it doesn’t really matter. As long as it gets you motivated.

Personally, affirmations such as ‘you are strong, you are powerful, you are great, etc.’ don’t really work for me. There’s nothing wrong with it though, and maybe they work great for you. My personal preference is to affirm important questions and principles that will help me improve my performance during the day.

For example, part of my affirmations is the question ‘What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?’ This helps me to focus on my most important task every single day.

Another part of my affirmations is ‘Focus on the highest value activities. Focus on just a few key things. Continuously do a 80/20 analysis and eliminate or outsource everything else’.

But I also have reminders like ‘Fear is a compass for action, direct action.’ and ‘Act and behave like the person you want to be. How would they act?’

Affirming these messages or questions to myself on a daily basis helps me to focus my mind on doing the things that are necessary to accomplish my goals, and it feeds me empowering messages that spark that motivation within to work with much less resistance than I used to.

Habit 6: Continuously Optimize Your Environment
We are truly a product of our environment. Most people view themselves as separate from their environment, but this is impossible.

In fact, your environment continuously influences how you feel, think and act. It influences anything from how motivated you are to how productive you can be.

Your environment, such as the people you surround yourself with (friends, colleagues, family and your significant other) and your direct environment (your home and your office) can either support your goals or hinder your goals.

For example, your environment could make you lose motivation because people in your surroundings distract you from your work. Another common example is that friends and loved ones try to talk you out of chasing your goals or subtly shame you for improving yourself. Maybe they even (subconsciously) try to pull you back towards destructive habits while you are trying to build up empowering habits.

“You are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.”

— Tim Ferriss

That’s why you should continuously analyse whether you have the right people around you. Ask yourself important questions such as:

  • Which people support and inspire me?
  • Which ones hold me back or talk me down?
  • Which ones make me feel better and which ones make me feel worse?
  • From which people do I learn a lot?
  • From which people do I get energy and which people drain energy?

These are all questions you should ask yourself regularly. If you come to the conclusion that the people in your environment are actually limiting your success, make it your mission to surround yourself with new people who accelerate your success. Make it your mission to find your ‘tribe members’. Talking with and being around these people is one of the surest ways to spark the motivation within, as you engage in more stimulating and inspiring conversations more often.

Another example of an environment that limits your motivation and success is when your physical environment is filled with distractions and lacks success-reminders.

Especially as a work-from-home entrepreneur (like myself) or freelancer, you should be careful when it comes to your work environment. When you try to work with focus and intensity while your environment is filled with distractions (such as your Playstation, Netflix, bad foods and even your smartphone), you’ll find it hard to stay motivated. All of these distractions pull for your attention non-stop as your brain finds them more stimulating and novel than your work, pushing you towards procrastinating.

Instead, make sure you work in a distraction-free environment to keep your focus and energy on your important work at hand.

Furthermore, if you want to continuously get that spark of motivation throughout the day, make sure you fill your office or home environment with success-reminders such as inspirational books, empowering affirmations and pictures of your goals.

By creating a supporting environment, you make motivation ‘effortless’ as your environment essentially does the work for you.
Personally, I found that upgrading my environment was one of the most powerful decisions I’ve ever made to upgrade my mindset, motivation and productivity levels.Through upgrading my physical environment and surrounding myself with inspiring people, I built a ‘system’ that sparks motivation and new ideas round the clock. I encourage you to do the same!

Now Do It
Learning how to motivate yourself is one of the most powerful skills you can develop. It makes it a lot easier to stop procrastinating, decrease inner resistance and work hard instead.

Furthermore, you don’t need to force yourself every single time to do the work. Instead, it’ll flow with less effort and with more joy. In my opinion, that’s a much more fun way to live your life.

Therefore, as an action point for this article, I recommend you try out at least 3 of the previously mentioned habits. Experiment with them and see which ones work the best for you!

This article was first published at Medium

Identifying and Nurturing Your Talents.

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Featured photo credit: Mindsets Programs

By Azugbene Solomon

We are all gifted with different natural talents and abilities that are meant to help us in one way or another in our day to day lives but do we really use them at all?Truth is, few people in this world know their talents and abilities and even then, the people who have actually discovered their talents still do not know how to develop and use them.

A good place to start is by gaining a clear idea of your skills and talents. Make a list of the things you are naturally good at, as well as the things you’ve become good at through repetitive effort. Write down the skills you use in your job, the things you learned in school, and the things you enjoy doing in your spare time.

When you’ve listed everything you can, look over your list and consider whether any of these skills and talents might be marketable. How can you use your talents to provide something of value to others?

Take your time with this exercise!

Seriously, don’t rush through it. You’re trying to get an idea of the work that would make you feel passionate and fulfilled – therefore it deserves your undivided attention.

This exercise is also important for another reason. Your dream is NOT just about you. It’s about all the lives you will touch when you do what you were meant to do on this planet. It took me a long time to understand that by holding myself back I was denying others something special I had to share with them. And I don’t mean that as a boast.

We are each special and unique, and we each have something to offer this world that no one else does. By denying our own talents, we deny others the gift of what we have to share.

So please, don’t skimp on this exercise. You owe it to yourself and others to be ruthlessly honest about your passion(s).

Once you have a clear list of your existing skills and talents, make a check mark next to the ones you use on a regular basis, whether in your work or personal time. Can any of those skills be enhanced or strengthened? Can you enroll in a continuing education course to expand on any of your skills? Make notes about possible opportunities to grow and develop what you already have.

(Note: if any of the skills on your list are not things you truly ENJOY doing, cross them off the list and do not consider them as career candidates. That doesn’t mean you’ll never use those skills, just that they won’t be your main focus. A good example might be bookkeeping or accounting skills that you use in your day job. You may be good with numbers but if working with them doesn’t thrill you and move you, you should simply consider it an additional tool that can help with your work.)

What’s left on your list? Look at the talents that were not checked as something you use frequently. Would you like to spend more time developing those talents? Again, if they don’t thrill you, cross them off the list. If they do interest you, consider ways to expand and develop them further.

Finally, make one more list: of things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet. These will be things you can explore gradually and see if they have potential to be your passion.

Then, be sure to MAKE TIME to explore them! Check out courses and classes in your local area, or do a few internet searches for groups of likeminded people. Give your interests a chance, and one (or more) of them might blossom into a life-changing passion.

Reference
Develop A Millionaire Mindset, mind-sets.com

MTN Nigeria, partners tackle substance abuse among youths

By Sola Ogundipe

TOWARDS curbing the rising rate of substance abuse in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, under the Anti Substance Abuse Programme, ASAP, led a multi sectoral roundtable on the substance abuse ecosystem in Nigeria and the need for intensified collaborative action.

The forum, which held in Lagos, was part of the Lagos state activations of the ASAP aimed at reducing the incidence of substance abuse specifically among youth in Nigeria. Speaking at the forum, the Chairman, MTN Foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, explained that the purpose is to stimulate discourse among thought leaders, policy makers and leaders from different walks of life.

“It’s to bring us much closer towards our goal of freeing our future leaders from the evil attraction of drugs and possible addiction to opioids.”

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, who was also present, opined that education about substance abuse was essential.

“We all can take time to educate ourselves and others about the harmful nature of these substances. Education on the impact that these drug and substances of abuse have on the individual and the society as a whole should be taught and understood.”

To the youths, the State Commissioner for Youth & Social Development, Mr. Agboola Dabiri stated: “You are the future of Nigeria; you have a lot to give. When we speak of the next level, you are the next level. ”

The issue of drug abuse is no longer on the roads; it is now within our homes. I thank MTN for this opportunity and I commend them for a job well done,

“ he stated. The State activations, which started with various activities in primary and secondary schools, motor parks, and markets, will continue with an advocacy walk that will culminate in counselling sessions for all interested persons.

It was gathered that a replication of all the activities under the ASAP initiative will be carried out in Imo, Rivers, Kano and Bauchi State as well as in Abuja.

The overall objective is to take the ASAP initiative to the streets of Nigeria and meet the youth in their comfort zones, as part of MTN Nigeria’s CSR objective of improving the quality of life.

Also in attendance was Mr. Dennis Okoro, Director MTN Foundation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, the Nigeria Police Force, the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) and a host of others.

MTN Nigeria continues to fulfill its CSR objective of improving the quality of life with various projects such as the What Can We Do Together Campaign, ICT and Business Skills training, upgrading of Sickle Cell and DNA laboratories and consistent support for arts and culture in Nigeria.

Source Vanguard

International Women’s Day 2019: 10 Powerful Women’s Day Quotes

Edited By Azugbene Solomon

International Women’s Day Quotes: Inspiring women’s day quotes that you can send to the women in your life. They would inspire them and assure them that they are not alone in their journeys. Happy Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world on March 8. It’s a day to appreciate women in your lives and also celebrate their achievements. It is a day of hope, reflection and a celebration of gender parity in all walks of life. International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and has since then grown from strength to strength every year. To honour the women in your lives – your mother, sister, wife, daughter, relative, friend or colleague, here are some quotes that you can to send them, inspire them further and tell them how much they mean to you. Happy Women’s Day 2019!

International Women’s Day 2019: 10 Inspiring Women’s Day Quotes:

1. “I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been.”
– William Golding, Author

2. “I don’t like the word “sacrifice” or “compromise”. Anyone who is too into this sacrificing concept has very low self esteem because they want to be martyrs at the drop of the hat. No! Stand up for yourself!”

– Sushmita Sen, Indian actress, Former Miss Universe

3. “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman”

– Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

4. “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re weak because you’re a woman.”

– Mary Kom, Indian Olympic boxer

5. “Every man needs a woman when his life is a mess, because just like the game of chess – it’s the queen that protects the king.” – Unknown

6. “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” – Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States

7. “Power’s not given to you. You have to take it.” — Beyonce, Award-Winning Singer

Source NDTV

Youth in South Africa struggles to find a place

The South African Parliament has 490 members (400 in the National Assembly and 90 in the National Council of Provinces).

Out of the 490 members, only 23 are 35 years old and younger with the youngest being 26.

Of the 23 the ruling party (African National Congress) only has two people.

Is this a case of the young not being born or a case of the old refusing to die?

Imagine if the whole ruling party did not deploy its youth from its youth wing, the African National Congress Youth League. Does this mean they do not have much trust in the youth?

The ANC leaders are not going to live forever and, as bad as it may sound, it’s true. What will then happen? Does that mean we will then be leaderless? Should they not be train,ing their youth wing to be ready to take over?We are three months away from the national elections and the majority of the youth did not register to vote. The Electoral Commission of South Africa has even started a drive where they go to different universities and colleges to get the youth to register. How do you register to vote as a young person only to be led by someone who is 60 years old?

We should remember that most members of Parliament are there because they were in exile; they fought for our rights, etc. However, we are fighting a different struggle now and we need to be led by people who can relate to our struggles.

Have you ever watched the parliamentary channel, especially after 2pm? That is when you will see that we need more young people as South Africans to lead us as that is the time where people sleep in Parliament. They should retire and go spend some time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I might sound like I’m blabbing; however, is there a future for the youth in South Africa? Will the South African youth ever be recognised or will they only be recognised when someone needs to be removed from a position? In South Africa that is the only time you will see that there is youth in politics.

Let me end with the words of Oliver R Tambo: “The children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future.”

Dear South African youth, learn to stand up for yourselves or you’ll never be taken seriously.

Source African Reporter