This week I’ve been reflecting on discipline. It’s something many of us strive for. Being in control of our lives. The ability to manage our time, our choices and our emotions. How do you deal with those feelings of being out of control? How do you establish discipline in your life and how do you avoid feeling restricted and constrained? Whether you’re just launching a new business, thinking about starting or in a growth phase, discipline is something you’ll want to master. Having confidence in your ability to achieve what you want and need is key to building a business that works for you.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” Abraham Lincoln
How disciplined are you?
For some the word discipline conjures up images of rigid straitjackets and too many rules, while for others it represents order and doing the ‘right’ thing. It’s all very well having a plan, but how about when the world comes along and deals us unexpected and unwelcome curveballs? It’s all very well making rules for ourselves but most of us have a rebellious streak!
Psychologists and philosophers have been fascinated by discipline for centuries. They’ve looked at people’s mental state, upbringing, current situation and much more to try to understand why most of us struggle with discipline. When we talk about self-discipline we mean your consistent ability to control your actions, feeling, and emotions. Self-discipline means you stay motivated and are more likely to achieve success (whatever that looks like for you). Discipline and willpower go hand in hand. Willpower is the ability to stay focused and control our impulses and actions, while discipline is about taking consistent action over time. Increased discipline leads to increased willpower and vice versa.
Discipline is like a superpower. It reduces anxiety and fear and increases happiness and resilience. It enables you to do things you never thought possible. Without discipline we risk overwhelm, procrastination and the cluttering of our physical and mental space. Self-discipline allows you to let go of bad habits, accomplish your goals and make important changes to your life. Improving your discipline requires ongoing practice. It takes time and effort, but it can be done!
Here are my Top Ten Tips for Mastering Discipline:-
🌟 Motivation. Lack of discipline usually causes us pain. What pain are you experiencing? What could your life look like without it? Getting clear on your motivation is vital. Why do you want to improve your discipline?
🌟 Small goals. Don’t overwhelm yourself with huge, scary goals. Break them down and gain confidence by achieving small steps. Consistency is key and that’s built by small, regular actions. Be intentional about what you do.
🌟 Discomfort. One of the reasons we lack self-discipline is that we don’t like feeling uncomfortable. Mastering self-discipline involves getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Practice pushing through, a little at a time.
🌟 Prioritise. Organise your time to focus on the tasks that are most important and worth dedicating time to. Instead of putting them off, start with the things you enjoy least and ride the wave of relief once they’re done!
🌟 Separate. The most important ‘hack’ when it comes to self-discipline is to separate the deciding from the doing. Get clear on the first few steps that you will do in the future and decide when you will start.
🌟 The first step. When it’s time to do, you just have to start. Counting down from ten can help. You made the decision earlier that you were going to do this task at this time. Don’t think or decide or chose, just do.
🌟 Reminders. Put your goals where you can see them. Look at them several times a day. Remind yourself why they’re important to you. Set calendar alerts to help you stay focused and on track.
🌟 Honesty. Understand your weaknesses, how and why you might wobble. Plan accordingly. Give yourself a binary choice – either do the task or do nothing. Acknowledge those feelings of wanting to run away or procrastinate.
🌟 Involve others. You’re much more likely to stick to your plan if you tell someone who’s opinion matters to you. Even better may be to do it together. You can cheer each other on and give each other a push when required.
🌟 Patience. Try not to get frustrated. Recognise failures as opportunities to learn what didn’t work. You’ll do better next time. You can conquer your demons but you have to acknowledge and work with them. Celebrate your journey.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – December 2021