SELF-DISCIPLINE ✵ The Key to Change That Lasts

 

Successful people spend 10% of their time focused on the problems

and 90% of the time focused on the solutions.

— Tony Robbins

 

I meet people every day who, when posed with a problem, only focus on what will go wrong. They justify that focus by rationalizing that they should explore all the options, or have a Plan B, when, they are operating from a fear-based state of being.  What are they afraid of?  

According to the article, “Top Ten Strong Human Fears” on Listverse.com, “Fear is an emotion that protects us from the threats in our surroundings, but which has grown to be more complex; with our fears extending from the weird to the plain absurd, there are certain fears that the great majority of human beings share.”

In order by the most common, modern humanity’s top ten fears are:

  • Failure

Failure is seen differently by everyone.  My favorite example of this is Walt Disney. They rejected him over 300 times, bankers who thought his idea of an amusement park with a Mickey Mouse theme was absurd. Imagine if he had quit after the 299th rejection.  We would never have experienced Disneyland, the Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, or Disneyworld!

  • Death

Fear of death can be linked to fear of the unknown. No one really knows what lies beyond this physical life until they enter it.  Until then, it is unknown.

  • Rejection

This social fear is one reason people blindly follow the actions of others. Based on a fear of being alone, some make their actions and choices on the validation, acknowledgement, or acceptance of others.

  • Ridicule

How many times have you not done something because you were afraid of being mocked or criticized for the way you thought you would look, sound, or seem to others?

  • Loneliness

Lack of human interaction can cause a multitude of problems, from feeling not seen, not loved, not valued, not desirable, and not worthy.  The fear of loneliness brings with it a fear of disconnection with life, love, unity, meaning, and purpose.

  • Misery

Fear of misery is fear of being in a state of great physical, mental, or emotional distress, discomfort, or hopeless suffering.  Ironically, sometimes the fear of misery brings emotional misery.

  • Disappointment 

Fear of disappointment is a fear of sadness, dissatisfaction, sorrow, or displeasure, from the lack of fulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations, or from displeasing another. This fear is part of the reason we avoid the unknown. 

  • Pain

Pain is physical or emotional suffering, or discomfort caused by illness or injury. We avoid it like the plague.  It also refers to emotional suffering or discomfort from loss, rejection, abandonment, or criticism.

  • The Unknown

We root This fear in fear of not being in control. If we do not know what will happen, or what something will be like, or where we will be, or if we cannot control the outcome.  But we never can anyway.

  • Loss of freedom

Not having a say in how you live, where you live, what you eat, when you sleep, how you spend your time, who you communicate and spend time with, how you take care of your body and possessions, or what and how you choose in any area of life is a lack of freedom, and imprisonment.

Fear of failure is the most common human fear and one of the most common reasons for a lack of self-discipline.  

 

  • Fear prevents us from expressing our truth. 
  • Fear prevents action.  
  • Fear prevents following our desires and dreams
  • Fear prevents taking initiative.
  • Fear prevents perseverance.
  • Fear results in a weakening of our inner strength, our self-esteem, our full experience of life and all its adventure and opportunities.
  • Fear manifests itself differently in each person. 

 

If we have perfectionist tendencies, we might have unrealistically lofty standards, unrealistic expectations, or harsh criticism from ourselves and others.  We may think moving forward into the fear will be bad and painful.  We may think in black and white with no concept of the larger middle grey areas.  

 

We are usually holding beliefs that are not true.  We do not understand that turning the light on our fears creates life-changing growth, learning, higher self-value, new opportunities, and other benefits.

 

 

What do fears have to do with discipline?  

 

Self-discipline is one of the most valuable and effective resources we have for looking past our beliefs and their associated fears.  Self-discipline is that fool-proof tool that shifts our thoughts and energy by refocusing us on our vision and the plan to get there.  Self-discipline takes us through the fear, without our even realizing it, and lands us at the end goals of our vision.  Self-discipline is our doorway to success.

 

While there are many factors that can contribute to a person’s level of success, self-discipline is the only measurable guarantee to sustainable, long-term success in life. This applies to our work, all our relationships, our bodies, our finances, our goal accomplishment, and our happiness.  We must integrate self-discipline into our daily routine.

 

According to a 2013 study by Wilhelm Hoffmann, people who achieve and maintain top levels of self-discipline are happier than those who do not.  The study found that self-disciplined people are more capable of dealing with goal orientated setbacks. They are less likely to allow setbacks and feelings to dictate the end results, and they pushed through the valleys of each setback. They seemed to focus more on the end goal than the present moment circumstances, which made it easier to remain focused.  Even when their present moment continually had changes and surprises, their end vision stayed intact.

 

Why is self-discipline such a struggle?  

 

The number one reason people struggle with self-discipline is that humans always seek the path of least resistance. It is human nature for everyone to be lazy sometimes, in some areas. Some have learned how to overcome this tendency.  Others have not.

 

The second reason is that we lack understanding of what self-discipline is and what it is not. 

 

Despite what many believe it to be, self-discipline is a learned behavior, requiring practice and consistent repetition. Self-discipline is the consistent practice of consciously choosing our thoughts and actions and redirecting ourselves when we observe ourselves not consciously choosing.

 

The pathway to reaching our goals is the same pathway to walking past our fears.  

 

It is developing a habit of intentionally chosen actions and thoughts that will produce the results we are looking for.  Keep in mind that lack of self-discipline, or lack of consciously choosing our actions and thoughts, can produce habits we do not want.  Remember, three weeks of consistently doing anything, whether intentional or random, positive, or negative, will create a habit of it.  Having a plan only completes half the job. We must do the steps in our plan, for the plan to work.

 

So, how do we learn self-discipline?  

 

We learn by noticing where our deficiencies might be and by knowing the symptoms of low self-discipline. 

 

Grab a pen and paper and notice which of these questions apply to you and write any thoughts you have about them.    

Ask yourself:

  1. Are you, or are you not satisfied with what you are getting out of life?
  2. Do you, or do you not feel as if you are winning at life?
  3. Do you feel as if you give in too easily to temptation?
  4. Do you feel as if you are a prisoner to negative emotions, such as frustration, resentment, criticality (self or others), anger, or depression?
  5. Do you, or do you not feel as if you can achieve or maintain balance in all areas of life?
  6. Do you feel you are unsuccessful in the way you want to be?
  7. Do you feel as if you have got too much on your plate?
  8. Do you feel as if you are or are not having as much fun or laughter in your days as you deserve?
  9. Do you feel bored, frustrated, or tired often?
  10. Do you feel you are behind in over one area of your personal or professional objectives?
  11. Do you procrastinate a lot?
  12. Do you feel you have gained weight or lost muscle tone?

Asking the tough questions, and answering honestly, is the first step in correcting any problem.

Suggestions

How to Start Applying Self Discipline

  • Create a vision of what you want in your mind.  

When I quit smoking, I first quit in my head. See in your mind what you want. 

 

  • Commit to your “self.”  

Find what motivates you—your why; write a list.  Keep it with you always and look at it when you feel weak. When I quit smoking after fifteen years my inspiration came by noticing my son wheezing from breathing in my second-hand smoke I exhaled, but I quit for my health first.  I wanted to be around longer.  I wanted to do more, see more, know more, be more—for my son and for me. That was my motivation.

 

  • Do it.  

Do not wait for it to “feel” right before you start, because it never will, or it will fluctuate like the wind. Like Nike says, “Just Do It!”  Lao TZU, of the Tao Te Ching wrote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”  Take the first step!

 

  • Set realistic goals. 

Do not bite off more than you can chew. Frustrated with quitting every year on New Year’s Day and starting up again two or three days later, I knew I needed a plan.  When I successfully quit smoking for good, I quit gradually, steadily reducing my intake over a two-month period. My plan kept me on track. I have not smoked since. Take slight steps. Do not decide you will start running and commit to a marathon next month if you have never run before. Do the research; read up on technique, nutrition, and stretching; find a coach or training program. 

 

  • Write the plan. 

Do not assume you will just automatically allow your vision and desire to take you to the end goal.  Make the plan, write it down, and post it up at eye level in a place you will see every day.  A plan is a set of mini steps toward your goals that take you to the finish line. You need to get it on paper and look at it frequently. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

 

  • Remove all temptations that stand in the way of your success. 

If one of your goals is to read more, unplug both your TV and the cable box.  Do not just turn it off; unplug it from the outlet. Waiting for the cable box to reset will make it less convenient to turn it on.  If you want to lose weight, throw away everything you have is not on your approved shopping list. Do not have it anywhere you can easily access it. Remove all temptations. 

 

  • Prearrange your schedule, to accommodate your desired habit.  

If you want to work out, go to sleep one hour earlier, and wake up one hour earlier.  Arrange your schedule with the steps, routines, and resources to support your goal, with no space for slip-sliding. Do not keep committing yourself to things, people, events, and activities that take your time and energy away from where you need it.  It will amaze you at how much energy you will have as you progress. 

 

  • Rearrange your environment.  

Arrange your space and routines to support your goal.  Plan not to be near, or in conversation with that person who always puts self-discipline on the shelf, or anyone who mocks you, steals your time, or has an unhelpful influence on you.  Arrange your work, home, car, and social environments with the focus of staying on track with your goal.

 

  • Identify your whiny voice 

The one you listen to in your head and from your mouth, that sabotages your wish every time.  You know the voice.  It says: “I don’t want to get up; it’s so early.  But I deserve the ice cream; I have been doing so well!  Just one cigarette will be okay.  It was a hard day; I am too tired to exercise.  I cannot do it; it is too hard.  All my friends are going; I will finish that project tomorrow.  I’ll just buy one thing and save my next paycheck.”  Quiet that voice. Have an intentional, focused conversation with that voice to thank it and let it know that you don’t want to hear it anymore and that you are focusing on what you want; then dismiss it.  

 

  • Divert your attention from the temptation or self-sabotaging thoughts by doing something else immediately.  

Meditate, turn on music, do ten or twenty jumping jacks, go for a run, take a shower, take a catnap, have a cup of tea, pet the cat, or take the dog for a walk.  

 

  • Get out your Why card and read it out loud.

Hearing your reasons why, out loud, in your own voice is one of the most powerful tools you have. Use it, often.

 

  • Keep a Victory Journal and fill it up.  

Get a hardcover journal, with pages you cannot tear out easily, and write every victory, no matter how small, every day.  Walk down a different street, so you do not pass the smoke shop, then write it down.  If you worked out that day, whether you walked, lifted weights, danced, played ball, did yoga, rode your bike, did martial arts or hula hoop, write it down.  If you ate within your healthy eating plan for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, write it down.  If you did all three, write it three times.  If you contacted that company to set up the meeting, write it down.  When you are in a valley, and that whiny voice talks to you, pick up the journal and read your victories out loud. It is easier to resist temptation when you hear a reminder of what you have done.

 

  • Reward yourself for achieving your goals.  

By giving yourself positive rewards for achieving your goals you are acknowledging your efforts, both minor and major. Buy an extra item of clothing, get a massage, or take a day trip. Pay cash for that purchase, rather than using credit. Small positive rewards are the key.

 

  • Commit to finish.  

Do not quit. If you quit, you only quit on yourself, and it is hard to live with yourself as a quitter. Do not hit the snooze button in life. Hitting the snooze button has you doing it over and over and over. 

 

What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing, day after day, and expecting different results.

 

When you quit, you do not show up for yourself.  If you do not show up for yourself, you tell the world that you do not know your value and abilities.  If you do not know your value and abilities, no one else will either.

 

For each new goal, wash, rinse, repeat.  

It takes only three weeks to create a solid, dependable habit.  Self-discipline is a habit, and it is a habit that you can become addicted to.  

 

What are you waiting for?  Never settle for the second-best version of YOU.

 

Never think you have arrived.  

Your journey is never over.

You will ALWAYS have to work at maintaining and nurturing the things that make you GREAT if you do not want to lose sight of them.


— Joseph Binning

 

If you’re like many of the billions of people alive right now, the current state of the world is causing you to wonder, to look up close at areas of our lives we had set aside, or get to know ourselves on a deeper level. Some are asking for the first time, or in a new way, Why am I here?  Or, What is my purpose in life? I asked myself the same questions, and the answers I found changed my entire life.  There is no better time than now to look at those areas, to know yourself in a way you have never known, know the part you play, and understand your purpose in this world.  I’d like to share with you some of the answers to your deepest questions and help you understand why knowing your deepest purpose matters more today than ever before.

follow this link to 7 Days To Discover Your Purpose

https://www.josephbinning.com/product/the-awakening-seven-days-to-discover-your-purpose/

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