By Reem Abdurrahman al-Muftah
Everyone always asks the question, what is the secret to being fit? To being healthy? Or they may ask, what is the number one quality required to successfully maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle? We have heard so many different answers, but to be honest, I don’t hear my favourite answer that often…SELF DISCIPLINE. Yes, self-discipline, the ability to control your own behaviours. Think about it for a second, imagine what you could do if you were able to control your own behaviours!
For a person to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, he or she has to be able to train their mind and not only their body. The main pillars to achieving a healthy and balanced lifestyle is eating right, being physically active and following a balanced routine that encompasses one’s holistic life. To achieve these pillars your mind must be under control. Our weaknesses, mind and body, are what makes it hard for us to have self-control, but we must practice self-control and put in the effort. Learning to self-discipline is challenging, as we all probably know, but overcoming that challenge is when everything starts to gets clearer, easier. As humans, the moment we are able to practice self-control, is the moment we start to have some kind of control over our own lives.
When is the perfect time to practice your self-discipline? You can and should start at any time, but Ramadan is one of the best times to practice, Muslim or not. As a Muslim, I love challenging myself on an annual basis, testing my self-control and my ability to be more mindful than usual. The beauty of this blessed month is that it is the opportunity for anyone with any religious beliefs to partake in this universal and annual self-challenge. It really is the perfect challenge and kick start to self-discipline. Even researchers find that it takes a minimum of 21 days to start or form a new habit. So why not start during this month where we are presented with country-wide support to maintain a healthy routine of self-control in diet, activity and general mindfulness. Stop making the same mistakes and take the occasion to introduce new behaviours or habits such as fasting, watching what you eat, balancing your portions or even simply closely watching your water intake. Look and notice the habits that make it more challenging to practice control, understand your weaknesses and strengthen yourself.
With discipline comes consistency. The only issue we all seem to face is that we are actually able to temporarily confine ourselves to stricter guidelines and schedules for a month, but unable to maintain this minimal level of self-discipline on a regular basis throughout the year. Of course we go back to our regular schedules, but find it too challenging to continue to exercise the same level of self-discipline and put in the same effort? Here lies one of the main reasons for this annual self-challenge, the reminder to be consistent, and to be mindful of your own behaviours no matter the month.
We all need to take the time to look out ourselves, our daily routines and start being mindful, observe and realise what we do and the way we do it, our habits and how they all connect and effect each other. We need to look to change ourselves for the better and work towards the things we want. Let’s be more mindful of our own behaviours and how they affect our health and overall lifestyle. Let’s understand our weaknesses and train ourselves to improve them, understand our goals and how we can better ourselves to attain them. Let us learn to self-care.
* The author is a wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.
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