Make your habits, then let your habits make you.
This quote from Jim Kwik really brings home the importance of discipline in the arts and exercise regimes we train at FitLife Martial Arts. Once you can set your habits in place through short term discipline then they will repay you in kind by becoming easier to maintain and providing you with long term discipline as second nature.
Grandmaster Henry Sue says discipline is a promise you make to yourself, and then you keep it. Do not let excuses sway you from your goal. Our mind is the greatest at coming up with every reason not to keep your promise. Broken promises will not result in the outcomes and goals you set for yourself. It is no good to wish that one day you might be fit, or one day you will wear a red sash, or one day you will be rich, or the best in your field, or an inspirational teacher or leader. What we harvest today is a sign of what was sown yesterday. Make that promise then do not let yourself down.
Recently, I had my promises to myself tested. I already have a very busy schedule that I have found time to fit my own training in regularly three times a week. This is amongst acupuncture clientel, teaching 24 classes a week, AND finding family time. Then two new opportunities arose. The first was to train with my Qigong teacher, Master Zhao, in his TianDi 12 Cycles Qigong. This meant training every day for 103 days straight with a full weekend of training, including 24 hours of two hour sessions to finish.
A third of the way into this training the opportunity for me to sit for my 6th degree red sash was presented to me by Grandmaster Sue. This meant a window of 7 weeks training and finding the space for 2 more training sessions, one at our club and the other at the Brisbane HQ. Now to say I wanted both goals, is an understatement. Especially to achieve a 6th Degree Red Sash!! There were many days when I entertained excuses not to practice my 12 Cycles. Who would know the difference whether I did or not anyway. The answer is me. I didn't want to let myself down. I also didn't want to let my family or my students down.
When it came to the Kung Fu grading I most certainly did not want to disappoint my Sifu. You can bet he would know the extent of my discipline when he saw me move, and the same goes for Master Zhao. So even as excuses and doubts were floating through my mind, I trained anyway. I let my habits make me. Those habits for me include a steadfast mind to attain my goals, a belief that I have the stamina, stoicism, and energy to achieve the desired outcomes of these arts. The habit of training no matter the weather, my mood, my location, or digestive status. The habit of always being positive when it comes to training time. As GM Sue says - if you want more energy, train more. And the habit that the sacrifices I make, the sacrifices of my students for me to train, and most importantly the sacrifices my family makes to let me be away from them, will all pay off fantastic results for me and benefits for them.
Now ongoing discipline is important to achieve anything of substance. But a break, time to rest and relax, recharge and regenerate is just as important. That way you can come back to your habits, your disciplined practices with a renewed vigour that can see you jump from previous levels of attainment, or break through plateaus you might have been experiencing. Just don't let that rest, or holiday, become your new habit!