PREAMBLE

Knowledge about Health Promotion and Education  is very important, so that we know what habits to embrace or imbibe, to improve health and those habits that mar health, which should be avoided. However, it’s not all about knowledge about health promotion and wellness; a lot has to do with self-discipline. Discipline is an Art– a trained habit; it is also a Choice. Discipline is all about a series of decisions that can lead to a larger goal. According to Tommy Lasorda, there are three types of people in the world:

*Those who watch things happen

*Those who wonder why things happen

*Those who make things happen

Those who make things happen exercise discipline much more than the other 2 types of people. 

THE ENIGMA OF SELF-DISCIPLINE- THE POWERS OF MAN

The Art and Choice of Self- discipline has it’s origin or roots in the Interior or Spiritual life of a person. It’s important that you are self- aware and strive for an ever – increasing level of self-awareness in order to exercise the art and choice of self-discipline better and better, with the passage of time.

It is important to note that the highest powers of the human person are the Will, followed by the Intellect: through the latter, you get knowledge about things including Health Promotion and Education and through the former, you carry out the decisions according to your convictions. The lower powers of man include the Senses, Memory, Passions/Emotions/Feelings, Imagination, Instincts  and physical attributes.  Tendencies to egoism and sloth also reside in human nature, which are associated with the tendencies to justify our lack of discipline, blaming others and circumstances for our inadequacies, etc.

A good number of influences from the lower powers or the animal nature of man affect the decisions and actions of the human person. For instance, you may have given yourself a target of doing 200 squats daily and one day, you’re not just in the mood for doing it — and you fail to do it. Due to egoism, there can that rationalization to justify your failure to do the pre-planned exercise– always quick to finding excuses for failure to doing it. .This is a lack of discipline, which may, little by little, manifest itself in other areas.

HOW TO GROW IN SELF-DISCIPLINE 

As discussed earlier, self awareness is key to growth in self-discipline. It is important that you know your level of Emotional Intelligence,Cognitive powers Etc, so that you accept yourself as you are, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and noting areas that need improvement. Organizational skills can be learned; Interior skills like saying “No” to laziness and procrastination and other skills can be learned and practiced. All these efforts will have a positive impact on the living of self-discipline.

Simple ways to build discipline in your life are as follows:

*Create a to-do list daily.– Each day, ensure you have measurable, clear goals or tasks to achieve; focus on the clarity of the goal or task at hand and continue to build out your daily task with a focus on what is most important to you, taking care of the little things: completing the smallest tasks  will keep you positive and pave the way towards your larger goals.

*Find tasks in your life, inside or outside your work that VISUALLY show your accomplishments when completed e.g. Bed- making, Sweeping a particular area Etc.

*Share your tasks and goals with others:-This will help in improving on the very important virtue of HUMILITY and will also help build up ACCOUNTABILITY towards yourself and your team mates.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SELF-DISCIPLINE 

*SELF-AWARENESS

From the point of view of Self-Awareness, discipline will help you to be able to manage your emotions like Anger, Sadness, Anxiety and other emotions, which if not controlled, are detrimental to mental health. Uncontrolled anger adversely affects the mind and body, increases blood pressure and creates stress. With self discipline, you will have a more healthy  positive influence on other people, work and environment. This is because practice  of self discipline will bring about an increase in Emotional intelligence and maturity, among other benefits, to the spiritual life. Self discipline is associated with inner strength, courage, temperance, perseverance and other virtues.

*DIET/FOOD AND ALCOHOL  CONSUMPTION 

Self- discipline will enable you to avoid eating too much food, eating junk food, consuming too much sugar and other unhealthy habits.Temperance or Moderation is an outcome of self-discipline and this will ensure control in eating habits, especially eating more of healthy foods which you find unpleasant like cucumbers. Most people will find a nice-looking chunk of chocolate cake more appealing than cucumbers or carrots, but self-discipline will enable you go ahead to satisfy your hunger pangs with fruits and vegetables, which will improve your health and prevent all kinds of health problems associated with eating of junk foods, excessive food and sugar consumption.

Drinking moderate quantities of alcoholic drinks is okay for most people; however, it becomes a problem when there is no self- control  over drinking. Possessing a certain degree of self -discipline will help you resist drinking with no restraints; to resist the temptation to drink too much.

*BODY EXERCISES/LOSS OF WEIGHT

Undoubtedly, a disciplined and healthy lifestyle is very beneficial in maintaining mental and physical health.

With discipline, you will not succumb to laziness and procrastination. Discipline will give you the strength and the resolution to decide to exercise your body and also to carry out this decision.Exercising your body is very essential for your health.

Some discipline can help you lose superfluous weight through control over quantity of food consumed, perseverance with diet, fidelity to aerobic and anaerobic exercises. It is very useful to stick to plans that last just few minutes e.g.  doing squatting exercises for about 3-5 minutes at a times twice a day, walking for about 30 minutes a day etc can go a long way to promote health.

SMOKING AND USE OF HARD DRUGS

Smoking is an unhealthy habit as well as intake of hard drugs. If you improve on your discipline, It will be easier to quit these unhealthy habits. Insufficient will power and inner strength are factors responsible for people being unable to quit these habits.

CONCLUSION 

The skill of self-discipline will help  you overcome bad habits of over-eating, eating junk and unhealthy food, , smoking, laziness, procrastination and other negative habits which are harmful to health. The good news is that these unhealthy habits can be overcome and Positive habits built, through the skill of self-discipline.

In order that you live a better and healthier life and have more control over your actions, you need a certain degree of self -discipline, which enables you to resist temptations and distractions, improve endurance and can help you overcome negative habits.

A little discipline will reduce impulsiveness( lack of control over action and words), add common sense , which will help you avoid stress and unnecessary risks. Take lots of water-there is need to be sufficiently hydrated  and sleep 6-8 hours every night.

Practicing self- discipline starts with your drive and determination: Ask yourself WHY you want to finish what you have started, why you want to avoid this bad habit and adopt this good habit. In order to succeed at self -discipline, you have to know your WHY! Self- discipline is hard work, but mastering self- restraint and self- control is needed to turn your health goals into accomplishments.

Self- discipline is the key to good health and is also beneficial to other areas of your life as well. Lack of self- discipline will keep you from meeting your physical, professional and even your financial goals, but with self- discipline, many areas of your life will change for the better.

Caroline Ademiluyi is a Lagos based Pharmacist.