7 Great Ways to Exercise Self Discipline
“He who overcomes others has force; he who overcomes himself is strong.” – Lao Tzu
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The ability to control ones self, and to use great self discipline, is they key to achieving your goals. In light of that, here are some tips I’ve found that help build and exercise our self discipline.
1. Start Small. Remember What About Bob: “baby steps”. This is one of the oldest, and most common forms of attaining our goals. But it really is one of the best ways to exercise our self control. Makes me wonder what a list of lessons learned from Bill Murray might look like.
2. Recognize Too Big: Sometimes instead of starting small we start too big. If you have told yourself you will do something, and you don’t do it. Shake it off – your not a failure. Simply start tomorrow with something smaller. If it’s not clear how to make something ‘smaller’ be creative.
3. Do it “anyway”. You sit down to read a book, then wonder, “Is it worth it?”. You start to do the dishes, and think, “do I really have time for this?”. You start to get ready to go to the gym and think, “Maybe reading would be a better use of my time”. blah, blah, do it *anyway*.
4. Learn from yourself. What areas need the most self discipline? We are all different, some of us find it very simple to keep the house clean, but yet hate to exercise. If you find some of these areas in your life, observe: 1) What is it you enjoy about the one area, can it be applied to the other areas?. 2) focus more on the harder areas, those will need the most work, and could give us the most results. Why? You will feel much more ‘accomplished’ having finished the harder areas.
5. Work Hard: It’s best to understand that self discipline and accomplishing goals will take work, and usually lots of it. In our era of Internet instant-ness, and fast-everything, something that takes time and work, is very easy to put off, or to rationalize as not important. But the reality is that self disciplined people who accomplish their dreams and goals work hard – very, very, very hard.
6. Imagine Control: Visualize and imagine yourself accomplishing the task. Think deeply about how it feels to be done, how it feels to know you can tell yourself to do something and you do it. Feels good doesn’t it?
7. Use “self discipline” as little as possible. I once read that self control was a finite resource, meaning we all only a limited amount of it. Once we start to run short we start to give in more easily. Therefore some of the best advise I’ve heard regarding self discipline, is to not actually use self discipline at all. Let me explain with an example, trying not to eat the ice cream in the freezer will only last so long, don’t buy it in the first place, and you can use that self discipline in other areas. Practice completely eliminating the use of self discipline in the beginning, and that leaves more reservers for the things that can’t be automatically done, such as going to the gym, or washing dishes.
Self Discipline: Noun The act of controlling or power to control one’s own feelings, desires, or behavior