I have to admit, this is not a topic I write about very often, but it is very much worth mentioning. Yet, self-discipline is necessary for any business owner to have success.
Why don't I write about self-discipline? Well, it is scary for people (me included sometimes!) Many people instantly start feeling guilty when they think of their own self-discipline. Is that you? Today, I share some interesting (and simple) ways that you can work on yours.
Simple Practice Equals Success
You can't flip a switch and become self-disciplined. It is like a muscle so you need to practice to get stronger. If you find that you are getting off-track, find a more simplistic in-road and try again. For example, back when I was working the corporate life, I had a report that I needed to do on a weekly basis. I could not stand doing the report and I did not have a very good attitude about it. Procrastination did not work.
So, I set an alarm on my computer for a specific time of day and worked on that report for 15 minutes each day. I found that I could easily motivate myself for 15 minutes and over the course of the week, the report got done. What can you break up into simple practice to make action happen in your life?
Perfectionism Will Derail You – Don't Let It!
Perfection is the enemy of self-discipline. No one is perfect and the desire to be perfect will derail your progress – you loose the focus to be successful. Periodically, I have shared my health journey with you. It is all about self-discipline too! Over the past few months, I have learned of 32 foods (most I really like to eat) that trigger allergies or that I have a strong intolerance to. My nutritionist helped me significantly when he gave me permission to slip.
Any other time I had tried a new eating pattern, I would “fail” and then frequently quit. (That is hard to admit!) In this instance, however, he suggested that I focus on the 80/20 rule. Being “good” for 80 percent of the time. The logic …. If I follow the new eating plan 80 percent of the time, then I'm 80 percent closer to my goal than the previous day! (The glass half-full focus.)
The result? By giving me permission to “slip” I did not focus my energy on the slipping. I focused my energy on the successes! Of the 32 foods I'm supposed to be eliminating, I'm at 100% on all but a few (giving up vanilla and chocolate is going to take me a bit longer…)
Small Changes Pave the Way for Big Successes
This morning I was reading a colleague's blog and found some research that caught my attention. Back in 1999, 69 college students were studied and tested as they did self-control exercises. The Journal of Social Psychology published an article based on that study: “Longitudinal Improvement of Self-Regulation Through Practice: Building Self-Control Strength Through Repeated Exercise.“
The students monitored and recorded small exercises in self-discipline in various areas: improving posture, regulating mood and eating patterns. Of course, for any study to be complete, there was also a control group that did not do the exercises. The amazing thing about the study is that the people that did the self-control exercises showed a significant improvement in their ability to self-regulate. Not only did they improve in the area that they were practicing, but other areas of their life and self-discipline improved too. They did not even notice that they were making the changes!
Recently, Penelope Trunkwrote about happiness and self-discipline and shared an interpretation of this study: “That is, if you can work hard to have self-discipline in one, small area, you create self-discipline almost effortlessly in other areas.”
So, what can it hurt! If you work on a smaller area of your life, then you'll gain little more self discipline to stay on top of your overflowing e-mail in-box — not a bad thing.
Believe in Yourself and Your Self-Discipline Will Begin to Flow
We all have different beliefs about ourselves. Take, for example, the person who stops running for a few weeks. A person who thinks of himself as a runner is more likely to start back running again than someone who thinks of himself as a non-runner.
This thought process applies in a broader sense too. As Trunk stated “If you think of yourself as someone with high self-discipline then when you are not having self-discipline, you expect to start having it again, and you do.” If you are having challenges believing in yourself, consider talking with yourself about who you are: a person who has self-control or look into practicing EFT.
What do you think?
Is this a load of junk or do you think it will really work? What do you do to increase your self-discipline? How important is this to your life? Please share how this post impacted you in the comments below.