Why I am happy to follow a strict routine in life
I am often asked how I manage to be so disciplined. The assumption is that my life must be very hard since I am always under a strict schedule. That was true when I was training to be an Olympic athlete, and it’s true now that I am a brain training coach, MIT mentor and a co-founder of Onbotraining, an online course for developing happiness.
However, I don’t believe my life is hard. My journey to the Olympics has shown me what it takes to become good at anything, and that’s discipline. Discipline is a way to take control of your life and achieve anything you want. It’s a means to freedom and happiness. It also teaches how to control your thoughts, since only by controlling our thoughts can we learn how to be happy in any situation. Discipline also brings self-confidence, mental and physical strength, and inspires us to grow as human beings. With growth comes the ability to enjoy life in deeper ways.
Here is my advice on how anyone can develop discipline.
Set big goals. Don’t be shy!
When you challenge yourself to achieve bigger goals, as for example, being the best at something in the world, then you dedicate yourself to the craft. The more time you spend on it, the harder it becomes to quit. You feel shame that you have already spent so much sweat, time and effort on it that if you quit it will have all been for nothing.
Set clear goals
Goals can be set for a process or for a specific thing — to be healthy or to buy a new car, for example — but they must be clear. Clearly define what healthy lifestyle means to you, and what you will do, exactly, to achieve your goal. If there is no clear goal, there is no possibility to create the specific steps that you will need to do to achieve it.
Every day matters
When you wake up in the morning, you need to know what is most important for you to accomplish that day. You have to create a routine that becomes automatic. Everything that you have set for yourself has to be done. It’s a life and death matter, since you will determine whether your dream lives or dies. Every athlete knows that if they skip one training session, they are already behind. They know that in the competition that is still three months away, they will deprive themselves from winning if they don’t accomplish the set plan today.
Understand the process of transformation
Your body and brain will do everything to resist the change and growth. You need to know that it’s natural to feel lazy and undisciplined. But you have all the power to fight it, and you need to start with your thoughts. Imagine your body is a beautiful machine, and you are operating it as a higher force from above. Separate yourself from your body. Play it as a computer game. You are the one who gives commands to your body to accomplish tasks.
Finding pleasure in hard work
Shift your focus to the process and concentrate on getting the work done faster and better every time. Speed is important. You have to move fast in order to achieve perfection in a set amount of time.
Do not debate the plan
If you want to go to the Olympics, each training session matters. The same is true for everything else in your life. When the process starts, you cannot question it. You have to work every day to reach your dream with full force.
Many quit on their goals too early. Success is all about persistence and going until the end. Discipline is what gets you to your final destination — the realization of your dream. The more you learn about your craft and your own capabilities you start seeing yourself change, and the results will get you hungry for more. Self-improvement is an amazing motivator.
ABOUT INGA STASIULIONYTE
Inga Stasiulionyte is an Olympic athlete and javelin thrower who competed at the Beijing Olympic Games. Inga simultaneously pursued a career in business, working with executives as a life coach. Her dream is to provide access to everyone to the knowledge, tools and training that she received in sports that helped her win. She cooperated with a motivational writer to create Onbotraining, an online mind-coaching program that offers training on the skills needed to reach desired goals in life. Inga is a University of Southern California graduate with a BA degree in entrepreneurship and minor degree in communication design. She has also completed International Business and Global Affairs Master’s studies in the International University of Monaco. She is a mentor and keynote speaker at MIT’s Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp.