Today I would like to talk about self discipline tips. What is self-discipline? According to one source, it is a training that you give yourself to accomplish a task, to adopt a behavior, even if you would rather be doing something else. Or to quote W.K. Hope: “Self discipline is when your conscience tells you to do something and you don’t talk back.”
Every book and website on self-improvement and productivity focuses mainly on motivation. Be it to awaken the giant inside you, how to be effective people, to think and grow rich, to create your own future, lose weight, or how to manage your time and get things done. But motivation alone is not good enough. We need self-discipline to propel one into action to achieve the desired results.
Without discipline, all the motivation tips and time management strategies will never be effective. They keep harping the same words like change, decide, strive, courage, no excuses, desire to improve, be persistent, goal setting and take action. It is easy to utter these words, but it is insurmountable task to get yourself to do it. In short, it is easier say than done.
We know what to do, but we can’t get yourself to do it, or rather to start the ball rolling. We need self-discipline and willpower to get us started.
We all don’t need to sit shivering in a tiny apartment, on a freezing cold minus 35 degree F night, like Brain Tracy did in order to discover a shocking revelation that can change our life forever; to realize that our life is up to us to decide. We know that we are in charge of our own life. And not just blaming a situation on our difficult childhood or mistakes we had made in the past. Or what Brain Tracy says stop making excuses and take responsibility for living your life. Make a conscious decision to take back control of our lives.
I agree with Brian Tracy that most of us are good at using our incredible brain to to think up elaborate rationalizations and justifications for not taking action. We know that discipline is what we must have to resist the lure of excuses.
But how to get one be fully disciplined and harness our willpower to get things going? By telling people that it is your life and you should take your own responsible is not effective enough, to drive one to do get out from their present miserable life. Yes, we all also know that self-discipline is sacrificing the pleasure and thrill of the moment for what matters most in life.
I have read through those online articles on self-discipline tips , but most if not all of them do not offer effective ways to tackle this problem.
So, how to get someone to get off the couch and do something that one doesn’t want to do? How to overcome inertia and create momentum?
Researchers said that willpower is essentially a mental muscle, and certain physical and mental forces can weaken or strengthen our self-control.
Willpower requires conscious focus, but the thing is conscious focus is mentallly draining. We cannot maintain it for long. Something will come along and distract you.
So the best way to increase the effectiveness of willpower and self-control is by directing our life in a way that they are only needed for short-term implications.
According to Theodore Bryant’s book “Self-Discipline in 10 days: How To Go From Thinking To Doing”, most self-discipline failures happen because we are lacked of psychological preparation.
One of the greatest obstacles to self-discipline is our inner conflict. The bad or difficult side or better known as Mr Hyde. The culprit who of our self-discipline. This is our self-inflicted negative influence. In short, there is a part of us that does not want self-discipline.
We want to go and get things done, for instance work on our report for work, cleaning up our garage, or sorting out our piled up odds and ends. But another side of us wants to lay back and watch TV or chill out with friends in the shopping mall, or anything, just to avoid doing something we consider a productive use of time.
But our inner Mr Hyde is our self-defeating traits that keep us from transforming our desires and ideas into actions and accomplishments.
Mr Hyde’s tactics of sabotaging your discipline operate on your subconscious level, where you are not aware of them. Now as we have already known Mr Hyde’s tricks, we can overcome it by using Hyde to work with us rather than against us.
Our inner enemy Mr Hyde has five bad stuff that are playing tricks with our self-discipline. They are: cynicism, negativism, defeatism escapism and delayism.
As the book says, Hyde is a master cynic. As in life nothing is perfect, so the cynic in you can always find a flaw in absolutely anything. When you try to implement self-discipline system, you will be constantly bombarded with cynicism from within. For instance, your cynical self would say: “It’s too complicated.” “It’s too easy to have any real value.” “It’s too difficult to complete.”
So now you know that the cynic-inside-you is playing tricks with your self-discipline. What you do is when Hyde tries to convince you that this system is a waste of time, be assertive, and respond to Hyde immediately by telling yourself, “If I am now CONSCIOUSLY AWARE of my self-defeating chatter, then the system is already working!”
This conscious self-talk is one way to fight against Hyde’s efforts to win you over.
One of Hyde’s favorite self-discipline sabotage ploys is to highlight all of the negative happenings in your life, which mades you to say “Why bother?”
As you begin to devise goals and plans, Hyde will attempt to direct your attention toward everything unpleasant about the persons, places and things that make up your environment. Once Hyde’s negativism wins over you, then your brain will search for reasons to support negative attitudes.
Whatever you tell yourself, negative or positive, your subconscious believes. Then you tell yourself that this self-discipline program will not work, why bother, right?
What Bryant tells us to believe that our attitude has everything to do with our success. Believe that there is just as much good stuff in the world as there is bad stuff.
Then we decide upon which stuff to focus. In other words, we create our own attitude, and our attitude influences our behavior. As we have the power to choose a positive attitude which is our strongest possible antidote to Hyde’s tactic of negativism.
Hyde’s defeatism will try to convince us that the fault lies within us personally; that we somehow lack the ability to turn this system into a reality. This part of Hyde will attempt to drown your enthusiasm by pointing out all your perceived shortcomings, then use them to trick you into self-defeat.
Hyde will use any perceived inadequacy to dredge up feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem which will, of course, lead to your either giving up. Hyde will find anything, which include our personality trait, a physical characteristic, or even any other irrelevant quality like our race, sex, or religion and turn it into a tool for self-defeat.
Again Bryant’s method is by using self talk. Counter it by believing ourselves that nothing is going to stop us.
Developing self-discipline requires self-knowledge. Self knowledge, in turn, requires that us occasionally engage in self-examination, an activity that sometimes evokes anxiety.
Hyde will come along and divert you from doing your important stuff, especially if it involves any sort of self-examination.
It will coax you toward another activity that will instead provide some sort of escape.
What Bryant suggests is believe that life, for the most part, is based on the cause-and-effect principle. In your life, your actions are the cause; the results of your actions are the effects.
The action we take to do something might occasionally cause you discomfort or difficulty. So when we find ourselves attempting to escape the discomfort, then Hyde tries to sucker us into escapism by dangling a carrot before us.
One of Hyde’s favorite excuse is “I’ll do it later,” Often one of the previously described tactics will be used as the reason to “do it later.”
Hyde is good at putting a hurdle between you and your goal. You may say, “I can’t begin a weight-loss program until I buy a proper exercise outfit to work out in.” Then Hyde adds another obstacle by saying, “I can’t afford to buy a new outfit now because I got to buy other more important stuff first.” We will heap ourselves with more excuses until we completely discard our original plan.
Honestly ask ourselves, whether a given delay is legitimate. In other words, whether the delay is working for you or against you. We should be constantly addressing this question if we want to fight off Hyde’s tactic of delayism.
As suggested by Bryant, we should not treat Mr Hyde as the bad guy. But instead, treat Mr. Hyde as the part of us that is creative, fun-loving, and pleasure-seeking; the child side of ourself. We do not want to fight with Mr Hyde, but we recruit Hyde as a partner who supports your self-discipline efforts.
If we think Hyde as an enemy, then we have an inner conflict with ourselves. When we fight against ourselves, we lose mental energy that could be used in the drive toward accomplishing your goals.
Treat Hyde as an unruly child living inside you. This little kid has no self-discipline, no self-restraint, and no ability to delay gratification. Like any spolit little kid, Hyde will be manipulative to get what Hyde wants. Don’t try to fight this side of yourself. You’ll end up being a walking mass of inner conflicts.
Moreover, the Hyde side of your personality is also the source of your playfulness and creativity. So, think of Hyde as a part of you that can be won over by cooperation and compromise, not trying to fight with it.
Well, basically it is all about employing positive self-talk to overcome the psychological side of our Mr Hyde. These are just some self-discipline tips by Theodore Bryant from his book “Self-Discipline in 10 days: How To Go From Thinking To Doing”. You can more details tips to harness your self-discipline in this book.
One of my simple effective self-discipline tips is breaking down each task into small manageable bits and do it as much as you can. Forget about perfection, forget about to-do list and forget about about the end result for the time being. Get yourself started. It will pick up from there.
One more thing forget about he popular phrase “Just Do It”. Most of time this motivation line is not effective enough. What you should tell yourself is Get Started. Do something today.