Establishing and maintaining daily routines is the difference between life lived to its fullest, and wasting precious days that become years doing nothing memorable, imitating a pile of clothes with a hibernating animal inside.
This article is for those who know that more self-discipline would improve life for themselves and others around them. Few people develop self-discipline alone. Most of us need guidance, example, and accountability, sometimes in the stout-hearted manner of good old universal basic training!
See how grateful these lads were for Cpl Nauyokas’ discipline and his resourceful guidance, using mugs to illustrate his instructions? Marvellous. If you ask someone to be a Cpl Nauyokas in your life and motivate you directly, remember to have plastic mugs out.
Discipline is the answer to being sad and wasting time while under government lockdown for a virus you didn’t contract:
A “discipline boot camp” is one month of effort to produce healthy habits that underpin the rest of your life!
The key elements are as follows, with suggestions from us. We recommend using paper and pencil, not apps, where applicable. It’s better for your creativity, gives you one less excuse to pick up the smartphone, and if you do need apps later, you’ll have a clearer idea of what features you need:
Sleeping regular hours, rising early:
5am rise, 10pm latest bedtime.
One 25-minute power nap during the day: lying down for 25 minutes is recommended, even if you don’t sleep.
Take a cold shower first thing: Don’t complain, get in there.
Eat a fixed number of healthy meals at regular times, no snacking or sweet drinks:
4, 3, 2, or 1 meal/s per day is fine, but no snacking and no junk food. Prepare healthy food from basic ingredients at home, avoid processed foods, and fill your freezer with your own frozen meals. Eat sitting down, with no screens or books: if you are alone, you may play a talk radio or podcast for company. Look at your food, chew it properly and when you finish, sit and relax for five minutes.
Bonus: quit caffeine, switch to mint tea (easy to grow at home).
House shipshape and Bristol fashion: At the start of the boot camp, clean and organise one room of your house per day, as well as you can.
Once you have cleaned the whole house, you will at least quickly wipe/hoover/brush/mop the entire house clean once a day, and have a quick organise and tidy. Keep the kitchen and bathroom spotless, nothing left in sinks.
Bonus: Get rid of things you don’t need, and pack up & label things you rarely need to store them.
Exercise to a sweat daily: 100 Push-ups, 100 Squats, Plank for 15 minutes. Divide those totals into sets according to your fitness level, and adjust monthly as you get fitter.
Make a SMART goals list, a timetable, and a separate to-do list on a notepad:
You can use this month to focus on one goal, or several, but you must have a daily timetable of tasks based on your goals, with time allocated for the other boot camp activities, meals, breaks and so on.
Use a notepad to avoid switching between tasks and getting distracted when you have an idea for something else.
Limit social media to once a day, except work & important commitments: Read books and do other productive hobbies when you want to relax.
List your bad habits: If you are undisciplined, you have bad habits, and you can be honest with yourself about them, you don’t need to tell anyone the details. Whatever unhealthy or unproductive thing you’ve been doing to kill idle hours, you will now fill with working on goals and completing your daily boot camp activities. If you smoke cigarettes or vape, now’s the time to stop.
Be accountable: Print out accountability sheets that list all your daily timetable items, from rising early to not giving in to bad habits, with a box to tick for each.
Find someone you know and trust to report to, and contact them daily with your sheet. If you didn’t tick a box, explain what happened, and what you will do differently tomorrow. If you have no one to do this with, fill in the sheets for yourself anyway, and use a nice looking object or plant as your accountability partner; this is normal and healthy.
Rest on Sunday and plan the week ahead: Sleep as much as you like in the morning, do what you like to do until the early evening, with no timetable, but not your bad habits.
Before the evening gets late, take a couple of hours to go over your to-do notepad from the week just gone, reflect, and plan a timetable for the coming week. Be detailed: you can always change items later when you need to.
All that in a day seems like a lot now, but after a month, it’ll all be another typical day, and you’ll achieve even more the following month.
There’s nowt to it but to do it!
Cover Photo: Kenneth Allen: Steeplejack, Omagh Sacred Heart Church