You want achieve a goal or many goals?! Then you would have to learn self-discipline. Despite many beliefs self-discipline can be learnt with training. Self-Discipline requires practice, patience and control of temptations. It’s a process of building specific habits. Once you mastered self-control you will get more done in less time with less effort. Sounds good?
Take self-discipline as a project. Before you start any project you have to define the purpose of the project. You have to ask yourself what is the end goal and why do you want to achieve this goal.
The main questions to answer thoroughly are as follows,
- What do I want?
- Why do I want this?
- Why specifically do I need to follow through and get this done?
- Why specifically do I want to achieve this goal?
- Why specifically do I want to develop this habit?
- Why is this of primary importance for me right now?
- Why do I really want this in my life?
- What are the potential rewards I will gain from doing this?
- What personal standards will I uphold?
- What behaviors and choices will I accept?
- What behaviors and choices will I not accept?
- How will I correct things when I get off track?
Tasks vs. Temptations
Our prime obstacle with reaching self-discipline are random distractions. We get distracted very easily! Especially when we feel the goal is too difficult. Face it, we are lazy! We don’t like stepping out of our comfort zone. Hence, we avoid the difficult route and choose the easy way out and allow ourselves to get distracted. But how is getting sidetracked helping you become a better version of yourself? How does the temptation contribute in achieving the end goal? It’s a stoppage, it’s not assisting in improving your purpose but making you stagnate.
To reach the end goal you need to break the objective down to smaller actions. After you defined what you wish to achieve, separate the entire goal into small tasks. Even your distractions! Yes, even your distractions. You can’t eliminate entertainment completely. No one is telling you to be a zombie! You need to let your mind and body rest as well. You need to set a side time for distractions, entertainment, and temptations which will work as your reward. For example, there needs to always be a cheat day after a weeklong fitness training!
Many people lose motivation because they don’t know where to begin with a project. Breaking the goal down into smaller tasks will definitely make that clear. Another way to stay motivated is by rewarding yourself or turning your temptations into rewards. It’s as simple as the concept of CUE-ACTION-REWARD.
For example, let’s say you are setting a goal to lose weight of 160 pound and the trainer has asked you to complete a High intensity Interval Training on the treadmill every day for one hour for X number of days. Now, since cardio is not your best friend, your resting heart rate is on the higher end which makes you lose your breath while running on the treadmill. How would you motivate yourself? – Cue – What do you love eating? Steak/Chocolate. Action – Cardio every single day for one hour. Track your performance. Reward—live a little, celebrate your hard work. Have that steak and chocolate with a glass of wine! You need to change in some aspect to have the end target in your life, you have to ask do you deserve to have the goal in your life?
Track your performance
This is a big motivator for me! Competition always gets me going. When you are competing, it feels like a challenge you want to win. When you track your performance you can compete against your best self. You can also out work and outperform others you see as role models. Tracking your performance is important because self-discipline is not about constantly repeating something every day but to correct and adapt to the behavior.
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