Why Would I Want more Discipline in My Life?

 

Discipline has a bad reputation because it has been often use in correlation with negative reinforcement, but in itself, discipline is training people to be more willing to obey or more able to control themselves. We have all learned one way or another, but it is not unusual to have heated discussion if the subject of discipline is brought up.

I am not here to discuss parental or school discipline, but more the aspect of motivation that comes together with discipline.

In my practice, quite often people are saying something along the line of

I know I should be doing this or that, but I don’t have the motivation (i.e. The discipline to do this or that regularly)

It all boils down from the difference I suppose between a Should and a Must.

A Should is something that one knows would be good for them, but is not really motivated to do, when a Must is something that one will do no matter the cost.

We all know of somebody who was supposed to stop smoking for ever but could not quite ever succeed at quitting, who then stopped the day they are told that they are going to be parent. Suddenly a “I should stop smoking because it is not good for my health” became a “I must stop smoking because it would harm my unborn child”. The person is faced with the same addiction to nicotine, but somehow it became easier for them to overcome the urges and the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting.

So, in order to become more disciplined, you need to take a strong hard look at your life and your goals for the future. You have to make your goals something so exciting that you would do anything to achieve it. Something that if you failed it, you would not be able to live anymore!

Dramatic?!

Probably, but when was the last time you were motived to do a shore? Yes, that’s what I thought.

In the same way, you need to make sure that not changing would be so painful, that you will WANT to change by taking action.

Again, simplistic?

Yes, but when was the last time you stayed in a situation that was painful? Not often, I suspect.

Because we are wired to avoid pain and reach out for pleasure. We have learned that if we put our hand in the fire, we get pain, and we will do anything to NOT put our hand in the fire again. Anything!

The second thing that I hear when I suggest changing people’s routine is

I don’t have time! How can I add more things to my to-do list, a list I don’t have time to finish in the first place.

Discipline is about organisation. If you are organised in a way that your mind will understand, you will keep on target. It is all again about reward and punishment.

You need to reward yourself all the time! But like your parents taught you, you need to work for that reward. But most people think that the reward has to be big and the task at hand has to be meaningful, i.e., big and painful. And I am here to say, NO, you need to reward yourself for doing the painful boring little things in life and make sure that after that activity you reward yourself with a 10 minutes browse on the internet or a few pages of your last novel or a good cup of coffee. It does not have to be big, but it has to be pleasurable. So you know and your mind know that you will do something not so exciting for a while and you will get to the good part right after that, not in 6 months.

The other thing that you need to do, is to stick to a schedule. Go to Google Calendar and start scheduling your daily activities. All of them…. :-)

First you need to list all your activities (big or small) for that day or that week or that months. Then you need to organise those activities by type. So all the bill paying activities in one group and the call your clients in another group and so on and so forth. Then you need to define block of time (with enough time for each group) when you are going to do this or that activity. And you need to stick to it. And in between, especially after an activity you don’t really like, you need to celebrate, to reward yourself, for a job well done.

But don’t fall into the trap of scheduling only client calling for a day when you don’t like that activity, because you will get distracted. Schedule a “client calling” session of an hour, and a write up the spec for this new idea in the next session. Diversity and change in activities are key. Because you will get bored with an activity no matter how motivated you are. So shaking things up now and again is a good way to keep your mind engage.

And the results?

Well, by being more organised and having a plan of attack for each day, you will quickly realise that you are achieving more, gaining in productivities. But you will also realise that your energy through out the day is higher. Because you will never get bored. You will constantly change up, and your mind will slowly get used to the fact that it may be boring at times, but the good stuff is coming right after and so in a way you will find yourself, motivated to get the boring stuff out of the way in order to get the good stuff in.

In the same way, I encourage people to schedule time for themselves, or time with their family or time for their hobby. If they put themselves in their calendar, they are much more likely to stick with their plan and they are much more likely to give themselves that reprieve they so deeply need.

It does require a certain amount of input at the start. Because you have to sit down and put on paper all your activities for the day ahead and then cluster them in group and then plan your day in advance. But in “loosing time” that way, you will soon find that you are actually gaining time. And your motivation will increase.

Perfect!

So Enjoy more discipline.

 

You want to learn more? Then join me tonight at 9pm, London time and let’s discuss! :-)

www.joellespractice.com/weeklyburnoutcoachingcall

 

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