Self discipline is an interesting thing. Self discipline is what gets us up in the morning, makes us arrive at work on time and get the kids to school.
So anybody that says they are lacking self discipline should look at themselves again because most people are self-disciplined to some degree.
It's just that sometimes we lack self discipline to tackle the stuff that we don't really want to do, or maybe the stuff that we can actually put off until tomorrow - such as sorting out our finances or taking some exercise
The trouble is with self-discipline is that the lack of it often ends up in a vicious circle. When we can’t always get ourselves to do the things that we know we should be doing we often feel bad about it. Then we beat ourselves up and feel even worse.
Self-discipline is a huge factor in the amount of success you achieve.
Here are a few ideas to get on top of your self discipline and make it work for you ...
1. Think About Where You Are Self Disciplined
Just take a few minutes to think about areas of your life where you are self disciplined, even if you think you aren't
- Did you get the kids to school on time this morning?
- Did you manage to get up and got to work on time?
- Did you make sure everybody was fed?
- Did you pay your bills this month?
- Did you walk the dog/feed the cat/clean out the goldfish?
- Did you have a shower and clean your teeth this morning?
See - there are areas of your life where you are self disciplined!
Now look at the list again.
I bet that most of the things you have on the list is stuff that you have to do out of necessity and there are consequences if you don't do them
- If you don't go to work everyday you'll get sacked
- If you don't send the kids to school you'll have social services round
- If you don't take the dog out for a walk you'll have poop everywhere
You get the idea.
This is stuff we have to do and because we have to do it we build a daily routine (and everybody has a daily routine of some sort) around our responsibilities
2. Break Down The Bigger Stuff
The "bigger stuff" are really your long term goals - a better description would be the "longer stuff"
The sort of thing where you need to self-discipline to achieve it but you don't see any noticeable difference day to day
- Like your weight loss program where you want to lose 28lb by the summer
- Or that project at work that is going to take a year to complete
- Or saving money for your retirement
The way to tackle your longer team goals is to break them down into smaller goals and make them as important as your day to day stuff
The smaller the barrier, the more likely you are to perform the activity.
For example, if you want to exercise daily, make it super easy at first by starting with just 5 minutes. It’s easy to get started with 5 minutes. Next week you can add 5 more. Also, find a form of exercise that’s convenient for you.
You’re likely to find that if you can just get over the barrier of getting started, then you’ll go ahead and complete the whole task.
So make getting started easy. Set a goal to make just one phone call or clean the garage for only 15 minutes and make achievement of that goal "important"
3. Focus on the End Game
Why is this goal relevant to you?
Close your eyes and imagine how it will feel to accomplish it.
- If you achieved that weight loss how would it feel on the beach next summer?
- If you managed to clean out the garage so you had more space for your other stuff
- That you completed your work project on time and to budget
Just as importantly think about how it would feel not to achieve that goal
- The health implications of obesity
- The risk of getting sacked if you don't do your job properly
- The implications of not saving up for your old age
The reason I want you to think in this way is to start to think about your motivation which leads us into Step 4... "Get Motivated"
4. Get Motivated
Motivation is a complex concept but essentially I would define motivation as
"Motivation is finding the energy and enthusiasm to accomplish your goals"
That's it really
But how do I "get motivated?"
Simple really - by putting in place consequences if you don't achieve your goals, and rewards if you do!
The eBook talks more about motivation and in particular how self-discipline and motivation go hand in hand together
It also talks about goal setting - how to set your goals and how to break them down into goals which are manageab
And finally the eBook talks about Step 5
5. Find Someone to be Accountable to...
I was going to hold this back as an extra incentive to download my eBook but it's such an important part of the whole process that I have to include it here
It's the whole question of accountability
Accountability is a great driver for self-motivation
Think about who you are accountable to when you are meeting your daily responsibilities (the stuff you identified in Step 1)
- Your boss at work
- The utility companies who provide your gas, electricity, water
- Your partner
- Your family
- Your customers
So here's a thought
For the stuff that you are struggling with - your weight loss goals, your getting control of your finances, your clearing out the garage.... wouldn't it help if you are accountable to someone
The sort of someone you would have to justify not hitting your goals, or your targets, or not doing something you know you really should have been doing
There is some guidance (and some suggestions) in the book, which should set you on the road to awesome self discipline