Are you a disciplined person? Would it make a difference in your life to learn self-discipline? Is it something that conjures images of terror for you? Fear no more. I would like to help you, right now, by giving you a different way of thinking about discipline by helping you master your subconscious mind. After practicing what you learn in the next few minutes, you will be able to honestly claim: I am disciplined and I enjoy it!
People think of self discipline as being harsh and difficult... it is actually a lot easier than you think, but requires a mindset shift/change. The reason people believe self-discipline is hard is because people talk about it as if it isn't fun or desirable. The idea is that discipline means you are doing something you don't want to do because 'it's good for you' on some level. Here are a few things to keep in mind when developing discipline. If you follow these tips you will be developing great self-discipline in no time at all.
First and foremost I need to let you know that discipline for discipline's sake is useless! If you are doing something that you hate doing, you will eventually quit. This is why you have quit 6 diets, 8 exercise routines, and 3 morning routine schedules! While you know that these three activities are very good for your physical and emotional health, they are tedious and frustrating and whatever other words you use to describe them.
the true driver of behavior is our limbic system. Some people call this your subconscious mind. This is the emotional part of your brain that actually makes all the decisions. While you believe you make decisions logically... you don't. For example, why is it that you convinced yourself to sleep in later than you had planned or drink more at the last office party you were at? It's because you weren't thinking clearly, you were making decisions with your emotional brain that said: I want sleep right now, or I want to feel part of the group right now. The way you solve this dilemma is to tie the discipline you want into your purpose and dreams because that will engage your limbic system - subconscious mind in a way that attaches positive emotions to what you need to do to accomplish your goals. I'll give a quick example. How many times have you struggled to lose a few pounds because you must be disciplined in what you eat and how much you exercise? Now, what if you were getting married and needed to fit into a smaller dress? If you think about fitting into that dress each and every morning you will more likely exercise and eat veggies that day. What if you were told by your doctor that you have high blood pressure? If you visualize yourself healthy and vibrant in your 80s you will more likely exercise and eat those veggies. As you become more emotionally involved in your goals and think about them consistently, you will be more disciplined. Becoming emotionally involved with your goals is enjoyable and must be in order to achieve the results you want.
Find something enjoyable in what you are attempting and talk about it in a positive way. I recently wrote a post about how to improve the way you feel about something; the way you talk about something will affect how you think about it which will affect how you feel about it. If you feel good about it you will be more likely to do it. I challenge you to find the small joys in the discipline you are attempting. For an early morning exercise routine it may be that you have more energy in the day. Talk about how much energy you have with people around you. Not to brag, but to help yourself and encourage others. You will most likely get some frustrated comments from people because they want to do what you are doing. You will also notice that people encourage you by saying: Wow, you're disciplined or Wow, you get up that early? Which will encourage you even more! If it's more daily vegetables or water you are attempting discipline in... notice and then talk about how much better you feel or sleep or how your mood swings are less noticeable. Again, focus on the good and the enjoyable and you will be more likely to both enjoy the activity and continue doing it.
Lastly, start small and easy! You don't have to run a marathon tomorrow morning to start out with. Start with simply getting up at the right time for a couple of days, putting on your running shows and walking around the block. You'll quickly realize how easy it was and how you are already starting to feel good about yourself and the activity. Then, you can slowly increase. If you ever notice it is getting overwhelming, simply back off a little. Continue the activity, but do it less intensely. My problem is that I typically go hard at anything I do and simply tire myself out at times. Slowing down has kept me doing the things I believe are important.
I recently met an old friend for breakfast and he talked about self-discipline in a truly odious way. It is obvious he isn't doing what he wants to do in order to accomplish his goals because it is odious. Give me a break! If all that helped me in life was difficult and frustrating I would never achieved anything of value in this world (I definitely wouldn't be taking the time and energy to help many people with these posts because I don't get paid to do so). I write these posts because I truly enjoy helping people and the pay I get is the enjoyment of seeing the changes these ideas provide people. I love hearing from someone I've never met: Mark, that one post was so encouraging and I've made some positive changes in my life.
On Monday I will post the last of this three part mini-series on feeling in control of your life. Learning and practicing self-discipline is something that will, ideally, take you some time to work on. The beauty of that long-term commitment is that the positive change will be longer lasting!
If you have any questions or thoughts on this post... please comment below. I would sincerely love to help you reach your goal of feeling more in control of your life.