Self discipline is one of the most common topics that comes back over and over again with my coaching clients. It seems like all of us are struggle to have the discipline to do something (or anything) in our life. Trouble waking up in the morning? Can’t get yourself to clean the dishes? Can’t finish that report or project on time? Can’t get yourself to exercise regularly? All of these scenarios have an issue rooted in the lack of self discipline.
What I have found to be one of the main causes why most people cannot master discipline easily or keep it up for the long haul, is a clear misunderstanding of the true definition of what self discipline really is. You see, most people go about self discipline in a way in which they eventually expect themselves to start liking whatever it is that they are doing, and when that doesn’t happen, they fumble back into their comfort zone, and give themselves all kinds of excuses as to why it didn’t work out. Such as “I’m not the type to be on time”, or “I’m the type that likes to be under pressure”, or “I’m a night owl”.
Here’s your wake up call:
Self discipline is doing something even if you hate it or don’t feel like doing it.
Doing something because you enjoy doing it is NOT discipline.
Many months ago I started a work out regimen, where I had to wake up very early and complete an intensive workout. Yes, it’s absolutely brutal the first couple of weeks. After a while, you get a little bit used to it. Months later, the habit is there, I do it every day, but it does not mean I like it! I totally would prefer to sleep that extra hour, but discipline is pushing me out of my bed and into the workout. When you understand that you will probably never like doing whatever it is that you want yourself to do, you can start to build incredibly powerful self discipline. That is the case because now, you’re removing the expectation that one day you will feel great about it, and it will be super easy. If you expect it to be hard, yet you push through every single time, you will create discipline on a level that will reverberate into every other area of your life. This is where you can begin to create something magical into your life.
Self discipline is exactly like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more you get used to it, and the further you can push yourself. Don’t try to overhaul your entire life in one big swoop! Just like you can’t lift the biggest weights right away, you have to work your way up. I usually recommend my clients to start with something small, just to get their feet wet, and to get used to the idea that doing something that you don’t want to do, or that you will never like, is OK! As a matter of fact, it’s via this road that you will achieve your life’s greatest successes. Then, over time, you can gradually add more to your list of things to do that you don’t particularly like.
Doing something that you absolutely don’t want to do but that you know is great for you is the ultimate way to express self discipline in its purest form. Keep in mind that you will probably never enjoy doing it, but that if you keep on doing it, the rewards that you will reap will be far beyond the measly little satisfaction that you get by not doing it in the first place. If you can wrap your head around this concept, you are guaranteed to inflict immensely powerful self discipline into your life, which will in turn completely transform the life that you want from a dream, into sheer reality.