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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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