Self Discipline a Necessary ‘Evil’
Today I was listening to a vlog about self-discipline. I have heard many definitions of self-discipline but this one was just too interesting. He defined self discipline as the ability to control our primitive base desires. Where by the primitive base desires are the natural desires and tendencies we have e.g sleep,comfort, pleasure,lounging etc.
Like most people I hate pain and I would not go out of my way to inflict it on myself. That is to say I don’t like the idea of discipline. I don’t like rules, I don’t like schedules and I don’t like to be controlled. Therefore, I apply just enough self-discipline to keep me alive.
However, after a lot of reflection and searching. I have come to the conclusion that self-discipline is one of the very few indispensable components of success. You’re simply not going to achieve any meaningful success in any area of your life without self-discipline.
I define self-discipline as doing painful things now, that I would rather not do so that I can get to where I want to go.Self-discipline by its very nature is driven by self.So the fact that you are on time for work everyday doesn’t count much for self discipline unless you would still be on time everyday even if nobody else cared.The rest is conformity, since the moment that external stimulus is removed you revert back to your primitive base behaviors.
I’m currently on a weight loss journey that has really challenged my level of self-discipline. To build self discipline I have found that:-
I must have a goal. There is no point of punishing myself for nothing. I’m not interested in self-discipline for self-discipline sake. So for this to work I must have a clearly defined goal that I want to achieve otherwise, what’s the point? My current goal is to lose weight and be fit. Every time I pass over that extra “chapo” or lift that dumbell I keep reminding myself of my goal and it keeps me going.
I must be motivated/passionate about the goal. It takes a lot of motivation to exercise self discipline. My motivation will come from the passion I have for the goal I want to achieve. The more motivated and passionate I am about my goals the more likely I am to succeed in my self discipline. I must be hungry for the goal. I must want it for myself. This is what will motivate me to persevere the pain of discipline required to achieve the goal. I must really want to lose that belly.
I must build the discipline into my day to day routine.To make it work I must list down the disciplines I need to build to achieve my goal and I must build them into my day to day life. Meaning I must allocate time and resources. I must build the disciplines into habits.This would mean prioritising and allocating time for the gym. Singling out foods that I must avoid. Building new habits to support my goal.
I must make commitments. I must also make specific commitments. These commitments are made first to myself. Then I must commit to others. It’s difficult to remain self disciplined without making commitments. It’s from the commitments I can hold myself accountable. I have committed to myself to workout at least 3 times a week.
I must have accountability. I must find an accountability system to keep me on track. In the disciplines I’m developing I must find a way of keeping myself accountable. For me the weighing scale keeps me on check. I weigh myself every week and I can tell when I’m being slack, when I’m making progress or stagnating.
I must avoid distractions. I must look around and name the distractions that derail me from achieving my goals. My distractions are round social activities that keep me away from the gym and eating foods that I’m trying to avoid.
I must celebrate progress this gives me the extra fuel to keep me going. For me this simply means celebrating every gram of weight I lose. This keeps me going.
I believe this is true for whatever disciplines you are trying to build. Self discipline does not come naturally, Nevertheless, it’s indispensable if you want to be successful.
To me discipline is a tool not an end by itself. We apply discipline to enable us achieve something.To put it another way if you have no vision or goal you are aspiring to, you will tend to be very undisciplined.