Ep #458: Self Discipline with Monica Levi
Posted on January 26, 2023
If you’re like most people, you might think self discipline is the same as willpower. That it is restrictive, non-sponteneous, and boring.
You have the intention of working out every day, of not procrastinating, of showing up consistently.
Then you let momentary discomfort guide your decisions and blame this on a lack of willpower.
But my guest this week knows that isn’t true.
Monica Levi is a master of self discipline. As a lawyer turned life coach, she helps her clients develop the identity of being self diciplined through mindset management and self love.
She believes that self discipline is the bridge between your goals and your results, and she’s here to tell you why.
Tune in this week to hear from the master of self discipline herself, Monica Levi, about why you might be lacking self discipline and how to change that. Learn why self discipline is so closely linked to self love, the freedom that having self discipline brings, and how to master this skill yourself.
Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast. It’s the truest shortcut to self development we have ever created!
What you will discover
- Where self discipline comes from.
- Why you might lack self discipline.
- What the minimum baseline is.
- The difference between willpower and self discipline.
- How to grow your self discipline.
Featured on the show
- Learn more about the Get Coached program.
- Join The Life Coach School on social: Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | TikTok | Pinterest
- Follow my new Instagram account @therealbrookecastillo
- Monica Levi Website | LinkedIn | Instagram
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode 458.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Brooke: Hello my friends, and my friend, one of my best friends is here today. Moni, hi, say hello.
Monica: Oh hi, so happy to be here, truly.
Brooke: I’m so excited to have Moni on the podcast to talk about self discipline. Moni is going to tell you - actually, why don’t you tell them a little bit about how smart you are?
Monica: I don’t even know where to go with this question, but Brooke Castillo thinks I’m smart because I’m educated. But I’m smart because I’m her friend, truly.
Brooke: That’s right. Tell us a little bit about your history and how you got into coaching.
Monica: Okay, well I’m going to try to keep it short because I can geek out on it. But I grew up in Bulgaria during communism and came to the US at 17 for college. I went to law school in Chicago at Northwestern and practiced law, Big Law for a number of years and didn’t love it, wasn’t quite sure what to do next.
So the obvious choice was to get more education. So I got my MBA at Oxford and did coaching. At the time it was called professional development but it was truly coaching for lawyers inside law firms. Until I decided that I wanted to leave the law and New York City, and kind of do another change.
Didn’t quite know what to do at the time so I traveled the world for about a year, and landed in Austin, got a job at Google, complete change of pace, and wasn’t truly happy. There were other things at the time happening in my life, but I really wanted the independence of having my own business.
And got certified through iPEC, I thought I wanted to do leadership coaching. And one long drive from New Orleans to Austin, I was geeking out on coaching and found The Life Coach School podcast and changed my life. It changed my life personally on so many levels and I was so impressed by all the wisdom and became a Scholar.
Fell in love with Brooke, even though I didn’t know her, and then a couple months later she moved to Austin and long story short, we met through one of my best friends and I was super intimidated at first and a huge fan, and later one of my best friends. So I feel incredibly lucky, but I did get certified by her as well.
And I’ve gone through a couple of iterations of my coaching. At first I was only doing leadership coaching, then I did coaching for lawyers and leaders, and most recently…
Brooke: I talked her into changing her niche.
Monica: Many times.
Brooke: So let me tell them why. So Moni is one of the most self disciplined people I’ve ever met. We travel a lot. Moni and I and our friend Lauren, we all travel a lot, and Lauren and I often sleep in and cuddle, and Moni is jumping around in the gym.
We’ll go into the gym and I’ll do my half hour workout, and Moni will be in there sweating and very dedicated, very focused on work, very focused on working out. And I told her, “I think the things that we’re so good at naturally are the best things for us to coach other people on.”
And there’s so many clients that I have that struggle with self discipline and it seems to come so naturally to you. So that’s why I was like, I think you should do it, I think you should study it, and I think you should help other people with their self discipline because I do think it’s one of the most important things we can work on.
Monica: Yes, I totally agree and I love that you were able to see that because it is innate for me, but I do think that it is the backbone of all the success that I’ve had. I just hadn’t studied it up until you mentioned it, and now I’ve done so much work on understanding it, understanding habit formation.
And what’s interesting is that a lot of my clients come to me and they’re really disciplined at so many things, and yet there’s that one thing that they lack the self discipline. So it’s not that if you’re self disciplined you could be good at all things in your life, and if you’re not self disciplined you lack complete self discipline.
Usually, most folks are successful in so many things and yet there’s that one or two things that they’re unable to apply their other self discipline skill to. And so that’s where I’m able to help them understand what is it about these other areas that you can take the analogy and apply to this other skill. So I really enjoy that and I love the science behind it, I geek out on all of that. So I’ve been super, super happy with this new niche.
Brooke: I’m so excited. So when I was thinking about this and preparing for it, one of the things that I believe self discipline comes from is self awareness and self love. There’s a lot of things I’m very disciplined in doing and I have great follow through and even when I don’t want to do something, I do it.
So I think if I was going to define what is self discipline is doing something that you don’t want to do, literally in the moment, for your future self. And so I think the only way that we’re able to do that is if we have a sense of love for ourselves, a love for our future self for taking care of ourselves, and for how we define ourselves.
So I often talk about our relationship with ourselves is our relationship with other past self, our present self, and our future self. And I think self discipline is really I think in so many ways truly a love note connection to our future selves. So what do you think about that idea?
Monica: I think it’s beautiful and it’s a super unique way of thinking about it. Most people think of self discipline as restrictive and not spontaneous and boring and what you’ve just said is the opposite. And truly, to me, self discipline is freedom. And I think of it as the bridge between your goals and your results, and exactly what you said, having impulse control, to be able to work towards your long-term goals despite the obstacles and the setbacks and the discomfort and the self doubt.
But it is probably driven, like you said, by having that love for your future self and belief and confidence that you can create those results. And I think it’s not how most people think of self discipline. Such a beautiful description.
Brooke: So let’s talk about some of the areas that people struggle with self discipline. What do you see?
Monica: So I see it all over the spectrum. So with my lawyer clients, they were struggling with productivity, or the self discipline to avoid distractions, to resist the temptation to check the news, or they’re so tempted to procrastinate on these really difficult tasks.
Brooke: Okay, so let’s talk about that one because I think that for a lot of people, I think procrastination is a demonstration of a lack of self discipline.
Brooke: Right. And so if you are committed to a goal but instead of following through on that, maybe it’s work, like you said, being productive, you are on social media, or watching TV, or doing nothing. Just not doing the work that you’re meant to be doing. To me, that lack of self discipline, which is the way that you had said it is the impulse is to pick up your phone, the impulse is to turn on the TV.
And that is a lack of being able to discipline yourself to do the things that you don’t want to do, and then pick up the phone, and then afterwards, right? So what do you think that’s about?
Monica: So it’s clearly about the discomfort in the moment of doing the hard thing. So the distraction makes you avoid the discomfort, the feeling of discomfort. That is not uncommon. But what people do is they identify as a procrastinator, so they take on that label and they just said, “I’m someone who procrastinates,” but they don’t recognize what that signals to their subconscious.
Once we have that identity, we kind of throw our hands up and say I’m someone who procrastinates and so the way we do the work is, one, raise the awareness around why is it that people procrastinate, what do you feel in the moment? What would your future self tell you to do? But also start small.
Instead of telling yourself I’m going to finish that document the moment I sit down, start very small to become someone who doesn’t procrastinate, even if it’s commit to five minutes of working on that document, and then give yourself an out. And usually within five minutes, you have some momentum and you’re not necessarily wanting that distraction.
But when you commit to a small action consistently, you start changing that identity and you no longer are someone who procrastinates. You’re someone who gets to do what you told yourself, what’s in your calendar, you get to commit to that action, and that counts for working out, or drinking, or eating, how you talk to your kids, when you’re stressed. People work on a variety of different issues, whether it’s money, so it’s the whole gamut. But the formula is the same.
Brooke: Right. So when I think about this - and I’ll just stay on the subject of productivity. When I think about this with myself and if I have a commitment that I’m going to get a podcast done, for example, or I’m going to record something, and I tell myself, “Okay, I’m going to do this, I put it in my calendar, I’m going to do this Tuesday at three.”
If I don’t do it Tuesday at three and my reason for not doing it is BS, it chips away at my relationship with myself. It’s like if I were say to you, “Hey, I’ll meet you Tuesday at three,” and then I just don’t show up, and you’re like, “Why weren’t you there?” “I just didn’t feel like it.” That would chip away at our relationship with each other.
And the chances - this is what I find so fascinating. I’ll be curious what you think about this, but the chances of me doing that to you versus me doing that with myself, the disparity between that is crazy. So many of us are so much more willing to let ourselves down than we are to let someone else down.
And I think what you’re saying, when you start getting the identity of someone that doesn’t have a lot of self discipline, that’s an insult to yourself.
Monica: Yeah, that is so true. So there’s two points that I studied that I want to make here. One is decide your excuses ahead of time. So the goal of self discipline is progress. It’s not perfection. There will be times when things come up that you want to allow to detract you from the planned action.
So in your case, you not feeling like doing a podcast hopefully is not an allowable excuse, but your son needing to go to the emergency room hopefully is. But if you decide your excuses ahead of time, you don’t have to make a decision in the moment. You still trust yourself, okay, here’s something that’s happening that I have decided I want to allow as an excuse.
So in the case of productivity for example, you can say my child needing to go to the emergency room is something I definitely want to allow to detract me from working on this document. But me having poor sleep the night before and feeling tired is not an excuse I want to allow. So you know how you’ll handle yourself because you’ve decided that ahead of time.
The whole point of self discipline is having decisions done ahead of time so in the moment of the action you don’t have to renegotiate or decide. You kind of know what the plan is and you obey yourself.
But the second point you made is really interesting. There’s so much research done on people who honor obligations to others but not to themselves. That’s a personality trait called obliger. This is really good to understand.
There’s four personality traits and we all fit into one of them. So once you know which one you are, you can work around that propensity to make it easier for you to obey yourself. So if you’re someone who honors obligations to others but not to yourself, you really want to create external accountability for the things that you want to do for yourself.
So, simplest example is always weight loss because we all understand it. If you want to go the gym but you know that you can easily bail on yourself, you make sure that either there’s someone waiting for you, whether it’s a trainer that you pay a lot of money, or a friend that you don’t want to disappoint, or there’s a cancelation fee for you not showing up.
There’s a cost attached, there’s someone else being disappointed or relying on you that makes you honor your action because that’s just the personality trait you have. You’re much more likely to take action for others, but you don’t mind disappointing yourself. So how do you counteract that? By getting that external accountability.
Brooke: And as you’re saying that, I’m like, that might be a good temporary fix but I think ultimately too, you want to be a person that - you want to be obliging yourself. You want to be honoring your own commitments. If you think about it, the most important person to honor the truth to is yourself.
But you’re letting yourself off the hook, it’s like, oh, it’s no big deal, this doesn’t matter. It’s almost like, you don’t matter, that goal doesn’t matter, that thing you wanted to do, you weren’t going to be able to do it anyway, you might as well just…
So I think what you said is really interesting. I think when people think about self discipline and they think about doing a bunch of stuff they don’t want to do, they forget because this is how you have to think about it. You’re doing stuff you don’t want to do in the moment, but it is stuff you ultimately want for yourself. That’s the balance between our two brains.
Monica: It is self respect. So you either make the choice of self respect or regret. And so what you’ve said is so beautiful. Very few people associate self discipline with self love and self confidence, but truly, it is. And the one thing that you said is so detrimental to think well, if I skip a workout today, it’s not going to matter, if I eat that one cookie today it’s not going to matter.
Every action you take is a vote towards the person you want to become, the identity you want to build. And so it’s all about the compounding of the little choices we make every day. This is why the most successful people are not the most intelligent or talented. They’re the most disciplined people. Because it’s not about the intensity of doing sprints of intense action a few times a year or a few times a month. It’s about doing the small, seemingly insignificant action that compounds into big results.
And so one of the things that I see when I start working with new clients is they would set a goal that’s very ambitious because they’re impatient and they want that goal. And when I talk to them about starting small, they’re like, “That’s not going to matter, that’s not going to make a difference.”
So they set a goal based on what they can do on their best day. But inevitably, they’re going to fail because we don’t have best days all the time, and then they lose that stamina and faith and give up. So my advice is start with what you can do on your worst day.
Pick the least amount of action you can do consistently over time because you have to establish a habit before you can improve it. So do the five minutes of workout three times a day for three months, become the person who works out regularly, and then build that identity and that self confidence, and then build out.
Then try to work out an hour three times a week knowing that it’s just not probably going to be sustainable if you’ve never worked out, and you’re going to fail and give up on yourself. So the first thing is start small. Pick the least amount of action you can consistently do without quitting. And the second thing is don’t miss twice.
If you, for some reason, have a reason to have an excuse and allow it, pick up the next day and start right away. You don’t want to miss twice because if you think about looking back at the end of the year, those few misses are not going to matter. But if you miss on a Monday and wait the whole week because you’re all about black or white thinking and you give up and you self sabotage the whole week, that is really going to compound into lack of action.
And then the other thing that I think is helpful is to reduce the scope but stick to the schedule. Again, if you’re planning to work out 30 minutes a day three times a week, and one day you don’t have 30 minutes, you don’t just say, “Well, screw it, I can’t work out.” You do five minutes, whether it’s five squats and five pushups and five minutes walking around the block.
That keeps to the schedule even though the scope is reduced because again, you become someone who trusts in yourself and you’re building that identity of someone who does it regularly, even if it’s not the intended amount of time.
Brooke: This is so interesting because 100 years ago when I was just doing weight loss coaching, I had this concept in my book called the minimum baseline was the name of it, and I would tell everyone - it’s very similar to this idea. I would tell everyone, just go for a walk five minutes a day.
And people would say to me, “That’s not going to make a difference in my weight.” And they’re right, it’s probably not going to make a difference in your weight, but the issue isn’t the five minutes of walking. It’s the commitment and honoring it, the commitment and honoring it.
And one of the things that I noticed is that we have to give ourselves credit, even for those little things. So it’s like, when my clients would go out and they would just walk for five minutes, or I had clients that would just go to the gym, get on the treadmill for five minutes, and come back. And it was easy in the sense that they weren’t out of breath, but it was hard to fit it into their schedule, develop that, and then celebrate that they’re doing it.
I can’t even tell you how many clients I had that started at five, and then got to 10, and then became legitimately people that went to the gym and worked out. And so I think there’s something that you have to understand in your own brain, that it’s not about this isn’t going to matter, this isn’t going to give me the result I want, the only reason I’m doing this is to get the result I want.
You have to remember the reason you’re not getting the result you want is because you’re not honoring your commitments. Not because you’re not working out. And so if you can honor a five-minute commitment, then build on that, I think that is so important.
Monica: Yeah, the beautiful thing is that the science behind this is staggering. That is spot on. I don’t know if you just came up with it and now it’s just been backed up by science, but that is 100% true. And the other thing that’s interesting is the confusion between willpower and discipline.
You talk a lot about those two in many of your podcasts but we can’t white-knuckle our way to habits or results. We can’t rely on willpower, not because willpower isn’t great, but it’s finite. And so in every day you have a limited amount of willpower and so if you're waiting to use willpower to get yourself to the gym or to resist that second glass of wine, half the time at least, you’re not going to have any willpower left by the time you’re making that choice.
So you have to create the self discipline. You have to create that rule ahead of time so you don’t have to make a decision, you don’t have to rely on willpower. You just know that that’s the plan and that’s what you do. Otherwise you’ve had a long day at work, you're home, and the last thing you want to do is go to the gym, or you’re stressed and you yell at your kids because you have no willpower left.
So I don’t teach willpower as a way of getting to any of your goals, or motivation for that matter. Because I like to say that motivation starts to go, but self discipline finishes it.
Brooke: So what is the difference? How would you describe the difference between willpower and self discipline?
Monica: Well, willpower is something that’s limited. Self discipline is a habit. It’s a mentality and an identity shift that - so, for example, if I’m using willpower, I’m resisting my instinctive impulse and I’m using a lot of resistance. So if I don’t have any willpower, I’m not able to make the choice I want.
With self discipline, there’s no resistance, there’s no choice. It’s something that - it’s kind of like if you have a rule that you don’t do drugs, you don’t have to re-decide every time you see drugs. It’s something you don’t question, you don’t negotiate about. And it’s very easy for you to live a life that’s drug-free, as opposed to with willpower, if you had to rely on willpower to resist the drug, one day you will be, and then the other day you may not be able to resist.
Brooke: I think that’s such a huge point that we need to make sure everyone understand because willpower is resisting the emotion, resisting the impulse. It’s basically fighting against yourself. And you can win those battles temporarily. And the way that I teach this in Overcoming Overdrinking and Overcoming Overeating is you’ve planned ahead of time to do the thing, and you’ve also planned on not wanting to do the thing.
So it’s like, for sure, at five o clock after work you’re not going to want to go to the gym, or at 5am when you wake up, you’re not going to want to go. But you’ve already prepared to not want to go. You don’t have to have a big battle, a big fight, you don’t have to feel entitled to I should be enjoying this.
It’s like, oh no, I’m not going to want to do this, and part of the work is allowing for the not wanting to do it in the short term because that’s that motivational triad. We’re motivated to relax and to seek pleasure and to stay away from pain, which most of the goals that we want nowadays, we have to exert energy, be in a little bit of at least emotional pain, if not physical pain, and postpone our pleasure.
Monica: That’s so true. And I think when you have self discipline, it’s not that you enjoy the action. You just don’t think about the action. Think about brushing your teeth. We all by now hopefully have the self discipline of doing so, so it becomes a non-issue. I don’t necessarily care for it, look forward to, or enjoy it, but it’s a non-issue in my head. I just do it. I just do it, I don’t think about it.
Brooke: Wait, we have to stop there for a second. That is actually super fascinating. Nobody loves brushing their teeth, but nobody really hates it, right? And we don’t really like, “Today, I’m not going to brush my teeth.” Why is that? Because…
Monica: You’ve made that rule for yourself ahead of time and you don’t re-decide. Think about your life if you have that level of commitment and self discipline and non-negotiable obeying of yourself with all the other things that you want to do. It’s a non-issue, it’s so easy. This is how I feel about working out, about working, and things that matter to me about my relationships.
And I am not any different than any of the other folks that don’t have it. I just have built that muscle. And I do think that some people will say, “Well, I’m just not a self disciplined person.” I think that’s bullshit because it’s a skill.
Brooke: But that’s a decision too. To decide. That’s interesting, right? Someone could say I’m not a disciplined person, I’m not a person that works out, I’m not a person that cares what I eat, I’m not a person that brushes my teeth. Whatever it is, that’s a choice you can make.
But I think a lot of people think they can’t be disciplined. It’s like I wish I were more disciplined is what they’ll say, and acting like it’s an abdication of the responsibility of it. And I feel like I just think about my girl, my future self, I just think about her being like, “Really? You’re really going to eat all that? You’re really going to drink all that? You’re really not going to go to work today? You’re really not going to?”
It’s just so disappointing to my own self, but there’s always the balance too. So it’s like, people can go to the other side of extreme and trying to control.
Monica: That’s actually interesting because if you truly love yourself, you’re not going to use self discipline to punish yourself. And so one of the questions that you can use to ask, using that future self version, say, “If I truly loved myself, what choice would I make right now?” Because that takes you out of that immediate pain of what you want to do and resisting it.
No, I’m truly building this for my future self, and it comes from a place of love, not hating yourself. So I think what you’re making such a beautiful point that so few people associate with self discipline, it is about self love and building that.
Brooke: I think as you’re talking, I’m thinking that we need to give ourselves credit for the areas where we are self disciplined because it will help us build that identity. There are certain people that don’t that I’m thinking of that are my clients, that don’t have - I shouldn’t say they don’t have it. They’re not exercising their self discipline in what they eat.
But they have so much self discipline in taking care of their kids, and so much self discipline in the work that they do. But they wouldn’t acknowledge that because that comes easy to them, versus looking back on it and being like, look, I get up every day, I take care of my kids, I go to work, I pay the bills, I do all that, I’m a very capable, amazing human being.
If I applied this, what you were saying earlier, if I can apply that skill and that strength to this other area, you truly can, if you’re willing to obey yourself, you truly can have any result that you’re capable of creating.
Monica: That gives me goosebumps because I have seen this with my clients. To me, self discipline is the backbone of success and I think what you said, people can try to study the areas that they have innate self discipline and try to apply that to these other areas, but most of us don’t know how to.
We don’t take the time, and so that’s one of the things I help my clients, raise that awareness, really understand what is it about those areas that it’s easy for them to do the things that may not feel like something they want to do in the moment.
And I have a six-step process that I take them through to really break down all the things that they can do to build up that muscle in this new area. But it’s beautiful, it’s such a great thing to decide to work on for yourself.
Brooke: So this is something that I think is interesting. You may not have thought about it, but for all of the coaches listening and for the type of work that you’re doing, one of the things that I think is important as a coach, when you’re coaching someone to have self discipline is a lot of times I would work with someone and while I was working with them and holding them accountable and paying attention to them and loving them, kind of doing that self discipline work with them, it was much easier for them.
Because they knew I was paying attention and I cared and it mattered to me. And sometimes, especially early in my career, once I stopped working with them, they would stop being disciplined. So how will you manage that as a coach to make sure that it’s not - maybe in the beginning it’s you, kind of getting them jumpstarted and helping them and supporting them, but making sure that they’re doing it for you and not because we’re so trained to people please and we’re so trained to get the respect of authority?
Monica: I think that’s a really good question, especially for coaches. I think my work, as well, aligns with the ability for them to walk away and independently support that because I’m building the identity and the habit. And my package is long enough that what they’re working on becomes a habit. So they can build on the habit, they can increase the amount of action, they can get to their goal faster, but now they’ve built the identity.
So the work we do is creating that identity and that habit instead of just going through the actions to create a short-term result. So my work just aligns well with that ability to be independent moving forward and continue with that action.
Brooke: So a possible identity that I will come to you to create would be I want to become a person who works out. I want to become a person who doesn’t drink alcohol during the week. I want to become a person who doesn’t overeat. I plan my food and I eat what I say I’m going to eat. I want to become a person who is productive and stays on my schedule in terms of my work. So are there any other things that I’m missing?
Monica: I want to be less impulsive how I respond to things at work that trigger me, I don’t want to yell at a client, or my boss, or send an email that’s snarky and that I regret, or I don’t want to yell at my kids when I’m stressed and they’re…
Brooke: It’s like emotional discipline, right? That’s really interesting.
Monica: But all of these, and whatever you’re working on could fall into that category.
Brooke: Yeah, I want to run a marathon, I want to create a podcast.
Monica: Again, just an example with myself actually, I was thinking about this because I don’t think about self discipline much, but as I was thinking about it today I’m like, when was the last time I had something new relatively in my life that I wanted to apply?
And for people who know me, I love sweets. I grew up eating cake for breakfast and I have never struggled with my weight, so it was never an issue that I wanted to think about. But when I turned 40, there’s a lot of Alzheimer in my family so I thought, okay, I really want to be mindful of the amount of sugar I consume, not for physical reasons but because of brain health.
And so I decided I will only have sweets twice a week. And it was something that I never had to do and I decided that’s it. So now, I still feel incredibly flexible with this rule, but let’s just say I have a birthday on a Monday and a date on Tuesday, I’m going to use up those two times for dessert and then the rest of the week I don’t have it. It’s not a big deal. I just have that freedom to decide, when am I going to use those two times?
Brooke: But what if on Thursday you come over here and I’ve made a cake? This is fun. This is - never, ever am I going to make a cake, but let’s say I’ve made a cake and I’m like, hey. And you’ve made this rule and you want to stick to it. How do you handle that?
Monica: It’s a non-issue. I know that I’m not going to have cake and I can focus on the conversation because in the moment I’m relaxed, there’s no decision to be made.
Brooke: You’re not struggling, you’re not having to use willpower, you’re not stressed about it. You’re like, “Oh no, it’s a non-cake day. That’s just it.”
Monica: 100%. And you’ve heard me say that.
Brooke: Oh my gosh, it’s so crazy. I watch this happen with my mother-in-law. I’ve talked a lot about her on the podcast. My ex-husband’s mom, we took care of her when she was dying. And the whole time I knew her, her whole life, she was trying to quit smoking. And she smoked all the time and she was trying to quit smoking, and she just couldn’t.
She would always be making all these attempts and all these efforts, and no one really believed her when she said she was going to stop smoking because she always said she was going to stop smoking. But we went to the doctor and she got diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is cancer, and she never even brought up the idea of smoking again after that day.
She never smoked another cigarette, never brought it up again, it was not difficult for her to quit. It was the craziest thing to watch. If you’ve ever seen the power of a thought, that was it. She’s like, “I don’t want to die.” And she knew that smoking could be contributing to that cancer. She just period never smoked again.
So I think a lot of times we tell ourselves, “Oh, it’s hard not to have sweets,” “It’s hard not to drink, “It’s hard,” but it’s only hard because of the story we tell ourselves about it. If we just say listen, sweets twice a week, that’s it, it’s not negotiable, and the best thing about that, and I know this from quitting drinking when I was not drinking at all, is if there’s no negotiation, there’s no pain. This is just what it is. This is the rule, and like you said, there’s an allowable excuse, maybe there’s three of them, but otherwise, it’s not happening.
Monica: 100%. There is so much freedom in that lack of decision in the moment. You’re like, I just don’t even think about it. But what you talk about your mother-in-law is interesting because whatever label she had for herself, when there’s something that changes that for her, you don’t need coaching, you don’t need self discipline, you just do it.
So for those of you who think that you need a lot of work, sometimes - and hopefully it won’t be something so dreadful and finite in your life that makes you change that, but sometimes all it takes is a change of thought. But most of us are not at that level of deep pain that we can use that to change a habit or to create a habit. But that’s a great example of the power of thought.
Brooke: The other example I have, when I was doing all this studying on overeating and fasting, I was studying a lot about fasting and there was this man who didn’t eat for a year. He was severely obese and he didn’t eat for a year. And he went into the doctor and he got electrolytes, but he just decided I have enough food literally on my body to stay alive for a year and just fasted, literally, and lost all that weight so fast.
It was this one decision, this one thing, and just made it. And if you read about it, it’s really fascinating. He was hungry for the first part of it, but then you weren’t hungry at all because he was in ketosis and it’s very fascinating. You can Google and read more about it.
But is it really that hard to do that thing that you want? If you have self discipline, if you’re willing to obey yourself, it’s not. And the more you’re willing to apply I think your coaching, your work to creating self discipline in the areas for the things that you genuinely want, I think the better your life gets.
Brooke: It’s amazing. So if people want to work with you and they want more and they want to learn all about you, what do they do?
Monica: Well, there’s a couple ways you can find me. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn under Monica Levi. Instagram, @TheSelfDisciplineCoach, and my website, MonicaLeviCoaching.com and I usually do a free consult to see if we’re a good fit, and that’s it.
Brooke: So someone could come to you and basically have this is who I want to become, this is a result I want to create, and it seems too hard right now, and you could help them get to the place where they see it as literally not even hard or easy, this is just who I am.
Monica: It just is, yeah.
Brooke: Oh my god friend, thank you so much for coming on.
Monica: Thanks for having me.
Brooke: That was very fun. You guys check out Moni as we call her, but you have to look her up at MonicaLeviCoaching.com. Have a beautiful week everyone, stay very self disciplined for your future selves. Alright my friends, talk soon. Bye.
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