Life Motivation: How do I keep myself disciplined

Life Motivation: How do I keep myself disciplined

We aren’t born with self-discipline. This is a skill we acquire through daily practice and repetition. It seems like an extraordinarily difficult aptitude, but as a matter of fact, it’s simpler than you think.

Are you a disciplined person? If you asked me this question some time ago I would definitely answer no. I always imagined the discipline as being mercilessly consistent with a decision taken. With a goal to be accomplished. With a dream to come true. I imagined a person who never gives up. Who always stands up. Who’s strong, resistant and relentless. I’m not such a person. I’m too much far from it. That is why the concept of getting self-discipline always sounded unachievable for me.

Another thing is that I often act based on my emotional states rather than on well-thought decisions. It’s again something which doesn’t seem to have much to do with proper discipline. When you get emotional, your plan quickly falls apart. You stop behaving reasonably. You take two steps back while you’ve barely managed to take one step ahead.

Clear vision

Many successful people say that the key to strengthening self-discipline is to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. It is something I particularly struggle with. I usually go with the flow. I like the flexibility which is given by lack of a clear plan. When I can adjust to changing circumstances. When I can change my mind whenever I feel like doing it. I can’t stand being tied to severe restrictions so I rarely agree to accept them. The only thing is that such an approach doesn’t bring me any great results. I take baby steps in every direction I go to. I move around instead of moving forward.

If you don’t know where you are going, you easily lose your way.

I lose my way quite often. I forget why I started. I don’t remember what I actually yearn for. What I want to achieve. How do I see my future look like. Despite it appears to be pretty convenient and little obliging, as time goes by, it becomes genuinely frustrating.

Relevant control

I’ve decided to learn a bit more about self-discipline. What I’ve found out at first is that self-discipline lies in spending less time indulging yourself, deliberating over a different course of your actions or allowing yourself to keep the thoughts dispersed. The discipline requires to limit time spent on unproductive activities which pull you back from your priorities. The appropriate level of discipline doesn’t let impulses take control of your decisions. Every disciplined decision you take should be the aftermath of a logical approach being in line with your established premises.

What does a lack of self-discipline feel like?

  • You put your tasks off until the last minute
  • You don’t finalize planned initiatives
  • You’re not able to instill any regularity into your actions

Sounds pretty serious, does it?

Already self-disciplined

Recently, I heard something which completely changed my mind on the matter.

– If you’re putting your time and effort to read a book, listen to a podcast, watch a movie or participate in a course on self-discipline, it means that you’re already a disciplined person. Otherwise, you wouldn’t lift a finger to improve it. Just keep getting better and better in this matter.

My first thought? It can’t be the truth. Learning about something you lack doesn’t make you automatically disciplined. Yet, after some time I came to the conclusion that without having at least a bit of self-discipline it’s unlikely to get mobilized to do anything about the issue you face.

Small changes

I understood that self-discipline doesn’t have to be considered in terms of a big and mistery notion. It’s something that can be implemented by small changes. If I hate cleaning, it’s unlikely that I can get disciplined enough to maintain the routine of cleaning out my house once a week. Nonetheless, every day I can choose one place I feel like making tidy or well arranged. It still gives me freedom to choose instead of imposing strict rules to obey. It doesn’t require to generate any quantitative results. I can entirely focus on qualitatives ones.

Self-discipline doesn’t have to correlate with unrealistic expectations. You don’t need to overburden yourself with the rigorous regime to make it work. It can be a quite pleasant experience especially if you set for yourself small realistic battles. When you win them one after another. It gives you more and more self-confidence which proves that you’re much stronger than you thought.

Visualization

Nothing happens without a suitable visualization. However, this method doesn’t imply thinking about the end result, but somewhat about the process itself. About steps required to follow. About the sequence of stages to deploy. Another technique is to create a vision board of your goals. I find it quite effective in order to stimulate motivation. It’s like when I plan to go to a gym and I know very well that the next morning I’ll come up with plenty of excuses why not to go there. Nevertheless, if I leave my fitness clothes or my sport shoes in the nearby after waking up, it boosts my willingness to put them on and to feel good about myself. Then, I’m just one step away from heading to the gym.

Obviously, you need to be prepared for shortcomings. The essential is to be fully aware of them so you can react faster whenever they threaten your goals or your wellbeing. Otherwise, they become serious pitfalls on your way to a happy and healthy life. A very simple rule whenever you stumble is to get up, dust yourself off and move forward. Come back to the game. Start over small and build upon it. Every attempt gets you closer to your objective. The worst thing is overthinking and analyzing endlessly what went wrong. It slows down your motion. All the magic happens in action. Take your mistakes as learning opportunities, but don’t let them stop you for too long.

Improved self-discipline will allow you to live a freer life by helping you to make healthy choices, not emotional ones. 

Forbes

Thank you for reading this post! If you feel like it may help someone, please share it. I will be very happy to have your feedback!

Thank you for your support,

Mimi


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29 thoughts on “Life Motivation: How do I keep myself disciplined”

  • What a great post. A lot of detail!

    Yes, I consider myself rather disciplined. It’s probably one of a few traits that everyone I know believes to be true about me. There are times when I give in, of course. But for the most part, I remain steady.

    From experience, the people that struggle with self-discipline are people who were never taught it as kids. If they were allowed to get away with anything, they didn’t think of restricting themselves.

    The biggest problem is that many see self-discipline as an unnecessary restriction and a party pooper. Life’s hard already, so why make it harder? While it might be easier to give in in that very moment, it will not pay off to be that way in the long run.

    • Thank you, Goldie! Obviously, when you’re taught it as a kid, it’s much easier to maintain a disciplined attitude as an adult. Do you think we can learn it as adults and if yes, how would see it happen?

      I agree that many people see self-discipline as an unnecessary restriction, but the truth is that without this skill we’ll go nowhere. That’s why people who went far in their life just having good luck, don’t stay there forever. Deep inside they know very well that they don’t owe it to hard work and steady growth. They don’t see the value of what they’ve got as they hadn’t to fight for it. This is the source of all their unhappiness.

      • I think focusing on your goal is very important. Don’t just do things to do thing. Articulate to yourself why you want to get something accomplished. To me, a lot of life is based on your will. Test yourself. See how far and how long you can go. You will never know what you’re capable of if you don’t go above and beyond. There is no way of knowing what could have been unless you actually keep going. So, keep going!

      • That’s true, the “why” is the core of every undertaking. Maybe, that’s the reason my discipline goes through numerous ups and downs – because my “why” is still blurred. This is something I need to figure out. The question of my will is also complicated. Often times, I let my doubts play their role. However, I’m not planning to stop there. That’s my point of start on the way to get disciplined and consistent.

        As you rightly said I need to test myself and see how far I can go. I’ll let you know about the outcome!

        I admire the fact that it comes naturally to you. It’s visible when I look at the quality of what you’re doing. I’m happy to have such a great example to learn from!

      • I agree! I’ve experienced it today as I’ve finally managed to schedule my daily activities. It feels really good when you stick to your plan. You feel having control over your life even if you need to implement a few adjustments.

        Do you plan your daily/weekly activities?

      • I got a planner this year in which I outline certain activities I want to accomplish every day. It’s not terribly specific, but it helps keep me on track. I use Saturday as a “catch all” day so I can make-up for whatever I skipped during the week.

      • I like the idea of a planner! I’ve decided to go for an app to plan my activities as this way I keep it always with me, not mentioning reminders and other notifications which hold me accountable. Do you use any apps you could recommend or you prefer the hand notes?

      • While I think mobile phones facilitate our life, it seems that somehow life would be easier without them. At least in some areas like sleeping, chilling out or working productively.

        I’m used to working with OneNote when it comes to professional notes, but until now I’ve been rarely using it for creative writing. It sounds like a good idea.

  • I am someone who likes to stay in discipline but has never achieved it completely. I cheat sometimes (ok, I cheat a lot).

    But I agree with implementing things into small changes. Unconsciously, I have cleaned my whole room by doing one corner every day. My current experiment is to complete my college assignments on my own. While one of my friends suggested that we do them 50-50 and share them, I was keen on doing them all on my own. When I said this, I had 6 months to do them.

    In the 4 months after that, I spent 2 studying some of the material provided by college thoroughly as I wanted to do the assignments diligently and the other 2 months, I just procrastinated. When I was just two months away, I finally decided to shift my focus completely on the assignments. I just completed making drafts of 50% of the assignments (Writing them on paper is still left).

    I have one month to go. I am hoping that I’ll be able to do at least 5 more questions on my own by mid-March and then do some cheating to submit them by the end of the month.

    However, visualisation has not worked really good for me. It does motivate me initially but when I lose the will after some days, it’s really hard to get back (I procrastinated for 2 months).

    • Hi Saumya! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I believe we all somehow cheat on our self-discipline. It used to happen to me quite often and still does. However, thanks to the awareness of this issue I started to react faster whenever a potential distraction comes into the picture.

      Frankly speaking, I’ve never achieved it completely either. It”s a process. But I enjoy changing my attitude in this matter. What’s for sure is that it doesn’t change overnight. Sometimes, it’s attained by following a method of trial and error.

      It’s interesting what you said about the challenge you set for yourself. This scenario sounds familiar. We start with a full tank of energy. We drive fast without realizing that the tank is getting empty. Instead of refueling it at the right time, we focus on something different. We admire beautiful weather, we enjoy a chat with our passenger or we simply believe we’ll manage to drive a little bit more to the next gas station. Then, the machine stops in the middle of nowhere. We get stuck. We can’t move any longer. The time needed to find help or to walk until the closest service station, we realize that it’s too late to get on time to the destination point. In some cases, we just decide to come back home and never get where we want to be.

      What was your initial motivation to complete all the assignments on your own?

      • I can totally connect with your words. I’m working full time. I took up this course because I wanted to study literature. If I take short cuts from the beginning just because managing everything is challenging, I may be able to complete the course but not with satisfaction. I want to do the course, not just for the sake of it.

        A lot of people have suggested me to take all exams in one go, and I was thinking that I’ll be able to manage but as time passes by, I realised that I should take things easily. Your post has strengthened my decision to take the exams in two go’s.

        I want to study literature, that’s why I signed up for the course. It’s okay for me if it takes 2.5 or 3 years instead of 2.

      • I really admire your decision about studying and working full time as well as that you don’t compromise the quality of completing the course. That’s something you should be definitely proud of! Indeed, some people tend to complete the course in one go just for the sake of completing it. Yet, it’s not something that brings any additional value to the knowledge gained. If we don’t take anything from studying, but the final score, that’s a pure waste of time.

        I’m happy that you think differently and I believe you take a wise decision to split it to two goes. That will help you to enjoy the learning process much more than if you would have to do it in a rush. Literature is such a fascinating topic!

      • Thanks Mimi. I’m just like that. I had been wanting to do the course after my grad through a regular college student but got the chance only after three years from distance learning.

        Yes, literature is beautiful. I did my grad in literature only and that’s what prompted me to sign up for a master’s too. I am hoping that this course will help me in my career too 🙂

      • I’m sure it’ll help you and I’m happy that you persevere in your efforts despite challenging circumstances! What’s your experience with distance learning? Would you recommend this form of studying or it’s preferable to study in a traditional stationary way? What are the pros and cons in your opinion?

      • That’s an important question.. I’ll be talking about my experience of MA english in India. Before joining the course, I was of the view that I’ll have to do all self study as classes don’t happen. So I was prepared for this. After joining the course, I was informed that classes happen once every week for a duration of about 2 months.

        While the classes are supposed to be discussions, they turn out to be theoretical ones. The reason for this is— not everybody who enrolls in the course gets the time to start studying on their own. So teachers of my course decided to introduce us to the course so as to encourage us to start studying. Since we get just limited time, doubt clearing becomes difficult in this case.

        You aren’t bound to attend the classes. But attendance carries marks. But (yes, another but) if you go once, you can sign all the attendance sheets for getting those marks.

        I enjoyed the classes initially and was motivated to start studying on my own also. But after a couple of weeks, it became monotonous as the teachers were more after completing the syllabus.

        If you have time, money and dedication to study, should enroll for a full time course. Nothing can beat that.

        I didn’t have time. I already have a master’s in journalism and mass communication (that’s why I’m Not worried about completing this course in 3 years too). Was time for me to join the corporate world. You can’t keep studying in a regular college all your life no matter how you want to do that. So distance learning is a good option.

        Considering it financially, if a private college takes 60k for this course (plus other hundreds of expenses as it’s private) per semester of 6 months, a govt college takes 10k annually (plus expenses of books, exam fee, travel) and a distance learning course is for 5k (hardcopy study material included in 5k). If you opt for digital study material (these are not books, but a comprehensive notes made for students). The study material is great, trust me!

        Instead of just reading summaries of novels n plays on the internet, better read the material provided by them. But of course, if you can take out time to read the original texts, it’s always an added advantage. I’m trying to read the orignal texts too (that’s why I plan to give the exams in 2 go’s).

        Now coming to dedication, if you dont have the dedication, none of the options will help. If you ha e dedication, you’ll figure out what suits you more and make the best out of it.

        All of this is my experience and thought process. It may vary from course to course, college to college, country to country, experience to experience.

      • Thank you Saumya for this detailed thought process. It gave me a wide understanding of how does the reality look like when it comes to distance learning vs traditional one. I’m completely aware that all aspects vary depending on many factors, but I like to get first-hand experiences.

        I also made my degree in journalism and for some time, I’ve been thinking about a creative writing course. Because of the full-time job and other responsibilities I cannot afford to start a stationary course. At least not for the time being. But you made me think intensely about online courses and distance learning. Not necessarily to have another degree, but to extend my skills. That could be an option. I’ll try to figure out what would the best approach for me.

        The whole idea of getting marks and signing the attendance sheets doesn’t speak to me. I think that many teachers put forward formalities over the essential part of teaching. In my opinion, teaching should be about involving people in the learning process as much as possible, not only about passing theoretical knowledge which can be read in books. The only issue I see when considering a self-learning is that it requires a huge discipline and motivation to be consistent with the learning program. Though, it’s not something that is impossible to work out if one wishes to do so.

      • Yes, teaching should be a process of imparting your knowledge to others and not what students can google up within seconds.

        I’m not doing the course for a degree (though many think like that). I am doing it because I want to explore literature in the critical form. I could have done it without signing up for the course too, but I know I am not that self disciplined. I would have just procrastinated the whole thing. Getting a degree is an added advantage.

        I had also found a 6-month creative writing source from the same uni about a year ago. I think I’ll sign up for it after this course gets over. But yeha, I’ll take a break in between.

        Why do you want to take up the creative writing course?

      • I have no doubts that you’re doing the course for something more than a degree. When I read your posts it’s noticeable that you’re looking for exploring the topic and getting most of it. Basically, that’s my goal as well when it comes to creative writing. I’d like to enhance my writing, giving it more flavor, trying new forms, get inspired by the best ones, have someone who could share with me valuable tips instead of giving me the ones that I can google up as you rightly said.

        Obviously, I’m a little bit worried about my self-discipline and possible procrastination, but what would be our life without challenging our weakest points? I’m thinking to give it a try. For the time being, I’ve started two courses on how to better my blogging. I don’t know if you heard about Darren Rowse and his site “Problogger”? This is like a starting point for me on the way to develop new skills in this area. Apart from the courses which are related to a degree, are you doing some other online courses that you could recommend?

  • Yes, we should to challenge our week points. Else, we’ll just be stuck in our comfort zones.

    I have not done any coursed on blogging. I am self taught when it comes to blogging. From themes to customising my homepage, menus, widgets, images, tags, categories, pages, posts– all of of it has been trial and error.

    I have never thought about taking up a course in blogging because I’m not doing it for supporting myself financially. I have taken a lot of help from Daily Post’s blogs and WP support to understand things better.

    There are a lot of bloggers out there who have courses. But I was never able to trust them. There’s a guy whose blogs I’ve read quite a lot. https://artofblogging.net/ But sometimes there’s a lot of self marketing. Don’t know if this would be of help to you.

    • Thank you so much, Saumya!

      Until now, I’ve never done any course on blogging either. But I’ve decided to take on more learning in this subject in order to bring higher and higher quality to what I’m doing. I think it’s also a good start point for writing a book. I hope to get as much useful information as possible.

      I know the blog you mentioned and I also think there’s too much of self-marketing there. What does make you trust the bloggers or blogs you read?

      • Trust isn’t something that’s built in one day.

        So if I’m reading about blogging, I’ll check out the comments section to see what others are saying. If they reply back to comments.The overall visual look of the blog tells you if they’re a professional or a newbie.
        I’ll check out if the blogger is telling things I can implement. If they’re telling me to make long posts because that rank on Google, I trust them. Because my profession has taught me that. But I can’t implement that on my blog. Simply because I write for myself, not to get ranked on Google.

        Some time ago, there was a blog where I casually read that short posts may get ranked on Google. How? If the comments section of the post is engaging. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it was something that I hadn’t come across yet. So the idea just made me curious. Unfortunately, I don’t know where I read that.

        There might be other things too which I observe unconsciously.

      • That’s really interesting what you said about the engaging comment section. It makes sense and it definitely brings an added value to the overall perception of the blog.

        What would you say about my blog? Do you see it as a trustworthy place?

  • I’ll be honest. I haven’t read a lot of your posts but I do consider your blog a trustworthy place for two reasons- 1. It was suggested by Goldie, whom I have known for about 2 years (could be more :P) 2. Your skills to make me hunt this post on your blog because I remembered that we were having a conversation and I skipped the notification of your reply once again.

    • Thank you Saumya! I truly appreciate your honest answer and it encourages me to build an even more trustworthy place. Your presence here means a lot to me!

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