Tough Love

There is a big misunderstanding around what it means to love yourself. Often times people mistake mindless self-indulgence as self-love. But this isn't the case. Loving yourself is like parenting a small child. The idea here is to make decisions that will support your well-being both now and in the long-run. Would you let your 3 year old binge on Netflix and Pop Tarts into the wee hours? Not likely. While this would satisfy her temporary desires, it would take a shot at her health and quality of life in the long-run.

The point is that self-discipline, similar to the loving discipline a parent enforces, is an essential part of loving yourself. Telling yourself to cut it at one episode of Game Of Thrones so that you can be well rested for tomorrow mornings workout is not depriving yourself. Rather it is you putting off temporary pleasure in favor of deeply satisfying long-term rewards. Here are three ways to practice self-discipline in a way that serves you.

1. Stop eating when you're full.

It doesn't matter how healthy the food that you're eating is, once you hit a certain point, eating more is not going to do anything more than leave you bloated and ready for a nap. Practice listening to the cues your body sends you, eating when you're hungry and stopping once you're full. Stopping when you're full is a way to nurture your health and respect your body. When you take care of your body, your body will take care of you. This provides you with the energy necessary to fully show up in all other areas of your life.

2. Give yourself a bedtime and stick to it.

How many times have you stayed up later than you would like, sucked into something interesting on TV or your IG feed? As adults we no longer are required to go to bed at a certain point, and sometimes we still find ourselves fighting sleep for fear of missing out on that precious time to unplug. The irony in this is that the more you stay up later to enjoy the evening, the less enjoyable your days become as you slug through them on too little sleep.

If you find yourself resisting a bedtime, try setting up a restorative ritual that makes you look forward to going to bed. Take a bath saturated with Epsom salts and essential oils, spoil yourself with a foot massage and an extra long meditation after. Let's be honest, most of the time when you're up past midnight, you aren't doing anything extraordinarily productive or beneficial to you. Getting into bed earlier on a consistent basis means that you spend less time with Game Of Thrones and more time on the things that best serve you.

3. Keep the promises you make to yourself.

This is a biggie. A solid relationship isn't built on flakiness. Just as constantly bailing on plans with a friend will sabotage the quality of that friendship, failing to live out the promises you make to yourself ruins the relationship that you have with yourself. As you go through life, setting goals and carrying them through to the finish line (or not), you gradually build a track record with yourself. When you follow through with a big goal once, it becomes easier for you to do it the next time because you have seen yourself do it before. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to build this muscle with little wins until you are tackling all of the big things that you want to do. When you tell yourself that you will do something, make it happen. If it's big and intimidating, break it down into chunks easier to digest and pick away at it one bite at a time.

Ironic, isn't it? The very things we looked forward to about adulthood (no rules!) are often times the same things necessary to ground us into successful, well-rounded human beings. Going to bed early, keeping those pinky promises, not overdoing it on the ice cream, these are all examples of habits that take discipline to enforce but overall leave you better off for following through.