Eat, work, ___, repeat!
Updated: Jul 7
High performers in any field have a skill that is so important in their success: Discipline. It is one of the key steps to reaching peak performance. It refers to being aware of one’s responsibilities, taking ownership and also includes rule-following within the sport and other competitive contexts. You may have all the talent, put in all the hard work, but all that would be ineffective without discipline. It is certainly tough, but it is essential.
Tony Robbins mentions in one of his speeches that:
“There are 2 pains in life: The Pain of discipline OR the Pain of regret, discipline weighs ounces but regret weighs a ton!”
Such a statement weighs tons, to be honest! How often do we wake up and decide to go for a run but don’t? How often do we forget to do important things while focusing on other unimportant tasks? High performers don’t always want to work & they don’t always want to go for training. But they do anyways. Because they choose discipline over regret.
But do you realise that it is a skill? It’s something that can be taught and adopted by people at any time. This blog focuses on understanding discipline and how important it is in reaching peak performances.
So where does discipline start?
Tony Robbins very correctly said that success and failures are not giant events that one day will all just happen- It’s all those little things, those little tasks- those planned efforts and risks that lead to success. So where do we start?
We start with Standards!
Standards are those non-negotiable levels of excellence that we strive for. Something that we won’t compromise on. Reflect from your life, which areas of your life are you really disciplined in? Now, think about why are you disciplined in that area? It’s usually because you have a certain standard set for yourself.
Let’s take an example, if you have high standards for your fitness, you will include any physical activity in your daily routine and prioritise it over everything else. If you have standards of how you want to treat people, you will behave accordingly. It all begins with standards.
Being disciplined can be tough especially when we don’t know what our goal or standard is. So, what are your standards? What quality of performances are you aiming towards? What standard of products or service delivery are you aiming for in your business or company?
● Who we are
● Where we wish to be and
● Most importantly, they determine our behaviours.
Entrepreneurs set standards for their company, products and services which highlights how they see the company and where they see it going. They put in efforts accordingly and discipline helps them reach those high standards.
Our standards influence our rituals and routines.
Routines and Rituals
Once we have our goal set in front of our eyes, we automatically begin to structure our lives around that standard. We start developing rituals and routines that can help us reach those standards.
During this pandemic, I am sure many of our rituals and routines were disrupted, which possibly created frustration and a lack of clarity. But those who followed some sort of rituals were I’m sure better able to cope with the lockdown e.g. meditating everyday morning or going for a walk daily etc.
Setting our routines based on our standards gives us purpose. It makes us feel like we are progressing in the right direction. It helps us continue with our rituals and routines even when we don’t want to.
So what does your daily schedule look like? The picture below highlights the daily routine of the famous international tennis player, Serena Williams!
Setting a daily and weekly plan could seem boring and mundane, however, it saves hours of lost focus and directionless work.
How do I start?
● Start by listing all your tasks, in all areas of your life for the day
● Prioritise them to schedule them (you could rate tasks on their importance and urgency to prioritise)
● Think about the level of difficulty, to determine how much time each task would take.
● Stick to it
1. It can be suggested to start scheduling your days with fewer tasks, to keep space for changes and uncertainties.
2. Let’s look at it from a weekly perspective. If you have 5 things you need to complete in the week, assigning a set day for a task could help you space out the tasks and reduce your stress of doing it. Many times we know we have a lot of things to do and we keep stressing about doing them. Assigning a day or time to do those tasks help free up your mental space.
3. Keep it fresh! Now as we all can grow and learn in different directions, set time for learning something new. Put that on your list. For those who like me who find difficulty finding time to socialise, put it on the list. It may sound weird to write down these things- but it truly helps. And how many of us actually do it?
4. Lastly, at the end of the week, do evaluate and reflect on how your schedule for the week was, what changes need to be made and what is going really well. Assigning 10mins per week on scheduling the rest of the week can do wonders.
Most high performers have a set routine and plans for the day, week and sometimes months. In sport, we use something called periodisation, where we actually schedule the whole year to manage training and recovery processes!
What’s next then?
Create your standards and create your rituals!
Let’s argue backwards, if you want to bring a change in any area of your life, ask yourself what rituals are keeping you in this place? For instance, if you are bothered by the stress in your work life, ask yourself, what am I doing regularly that is making my work-life stressful? Is it the ritual of sleeping late? Is it the ritual of delaying tasks?
Then set a particular standard for yourself and create routines and rituals around that standard. This would set you up towards becoming disciplined and achieve peak performance states.
Discipline bridges the gap between standards and achievements.
In this modern, competitive we live in today, we all face growing challenges but also set higher standards for ourselves and others around us. We are constantly absorbed in a relentless pursuit of those standards and goals. So discipline is a skill that could help us achieve those high standards by creating rituals and routines. Overall, discipline acts as a catalyst in achieving peak performances.