The self-discipline practice

We all have different feelings around self-discipline and how it shows up in our lives, some of us are better at it than others. If you’re someone who likes processes and order, you might find that being disciplined makes perfect sense and comes naturally. But if you’re someone who favours spontaneity and free will (like me) you probably feel the same way about discipline as you do a sharp thorn in your side.
Understanding the associations we might have towards self-discipline, and how that manifests itself, can be the difference in better managing your life. More than this, adopting the best practices in introducing more discipline in your life, so that you can maintain momentum and exceed your potential.

By definition, self-discipline ultimately means making a choice in delaying gratification, such as swapping out junk food for vegetables or going to the gym instead of watching tv. In doing this, you delay the instant gratification you may gain from a sugar rush or dopamine hit, in order to get one step closer to the long-term reward.

How we go about this very much depends on a variety of factors, many of which, such as DNA, environment and circumstance are often out of our control. With this in mind, it’s important that we direct our attention towards what we CAN control.

You CAN control your association with self-discipline, you CAN control your habits, you CAN control your awareness. All of which can make an enormous difference in enabling you to get started, and eventually find momentum.

Let’s start with your association, if you’re mindful of the fact that you might have disgruntled feelings towards a healthier meal, you’re naturally going to have to try harder to stay consistent. Each time you opt for the healthy option, you’re going to feel resentful, unenthusiastic and eventually, your willpower will die out and you’ll give up.

You can flip this around by choosing to see that you are consciously nourishing your body and as a result, you will likely feel and also perform better. Choose to associate the good habit with self-investment. In choosing better, you are investing in your mood and in your mental clarity. This way you’ll find it much easier, and eventually, it will become second nature.

This is because, when you do something frequently enough, for an extended period of time, it naturally becomes a habit. Almost everything we do day-to-day derives from our habits, and many people underestimate just how powerful this is. The amount of discipline we have each day is limited, so the more habits you can form, that takes the conscious effort out of doing good for yourself every day, the better.

Written by Meredith Cairns Palmer


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