When we talk about motivation, we often end up talking about self-discipline. It’s a fact sometimes maintaining motivation can be helped with a certain dose of self-discipline. The same way that starting the action can also be triggered with a certain dose of self-discipline.
Whatever the intent -maintaining motivation or triggering the action- self-discipline is possible when you have a visual of where you want to go. True. Having dinned last night with iron-women and men, half-iron men and women, I confirm -none of them see their race as a piece of cake -all knows that they are going to know true moment of loneliness -and all have one thing in common… they see themselves passing the finishing line happy and proud.
Stay calm… I won’t get you into an iron challenge -unless you ask for it, of course- I will just share with you 7 tips on self-discipline today.
1. Like any skills, self-discipline can be learned and improved. You may want to see self-discipline as a language between you and your best partner -yes yourself.
2. Self-discipline is also just a word or a label, you want to take ownership of that word and use it to your advantage rather than letting self-discipline ruling your life.
3. Always start by thinking about what you are looking in achieving with implementing an action under the label “self-discipline”. Is it something for you or for others? What positive feedback will you get from that action? And here I am talking about an internal feedback, that you can identify with any or all of your five senses, and which will tell you that taking that self-discipline step is a success.
A cool think to do here is positive visualization, which is self-talk in the unconscious direct language, symbol and images. When you do so you want to include as much sensory information as possible. That’s simple our unconscious mind codes everything with our senses -what we hear, see, feel, taste or smell. Messages from our senses are direct information, our wording about it is a processed step, and therefore already filtered and interpreted. In practice, if for instance your goal is to start rising an hour earlier to exercise. Then every day for a week or two before you rise earlier for the first time, visualize yourself doing it. Hear the alarm. See yourself stretching and rising. Smell the morning. Then see yourself doing specific exercises. This is a simple way to build up commitment.
4. Talk to your partner, your own “Mr Hydes”, the side of you that wants to have fun and stay free. You will quickly see that both you and your “Mr Hydes” want the same thing… your happiness. As stated by Theodore Bryant in his book Teach yourself self-discipline in 10 days, think of “Hyde as a part of you that can be won over by cooperation and compromise, not combat.”
5. Now that you have develop that cooperation and partnership, let’s include an action oriented self-talk. We cannot not talk to ourselves, we do it all the time, often without thinking much about it. You want now to develop a constructive self talk which is POSITIVE, using AFFIRMATIVE sentence, SPECIFIC and in the PRESENT TENSE.
6. Ask yourself what can be the positive meaning of an identified lack of self-discipline. You to see self-discipline as an event in four stages 1) the decision to act 2) the preparation 3) the action 4) the completion and maintenance. Often we rush to step 3, while step 1 and 2 are as important, and our impression of lack of self-discipline is in fact a needed extra time for planning and preparation.
7. Reward yourself and plan fun time. Self-discipline is a skill and like every skills if you over use it without resting you will see a decrease of its quality and efficiency.
My last question… Puppet or puppeteer?
You want to use self-discipline rather than letting self-discipline put you down, and remember, “Good luck? It is when great preparation meets great opportunity” (inspired by Th. Bryant and Seneca).