Self-Discipline – 3 Tools to Make It Happen!
If self-discipline does not come naturally to you and for many of us, it does not; there are several ways to develop the habit.
Tool 1: Develop a love affair with time. Whether your days are heavily structured or loosely sketched, there are daily routines which need attention. If getting up is an issue for you, set as many alarms as you need and learn to leave the snooze button alone. If you work in a structured environment, heavy with meetings, assignments, and events, it is especially important to review your schedule, both before you go to bed at night and first thing in the morning. Make a list of those tasks you absolutely hate and set a digital timer for 15-minute segments to tackle them until they are completed.
Tool 2: Become proactive. This simply means anticipating something coming up in the future and taking any necessary action prior to the event. A case in point – you know that the licensing and inspections for your vehicles are due two different months each year. If you use Outlook or some other kind of calendaring system, set a reminder one month in advance to ensure you allow the time to complete these activities. If you have children in school and they are not in school during the summer, you know there will be purchases to be made and a new schedule will begin in the fall. At least one week before school begins, set clock alarms for an earlier time to get the children accustomed to an earlier rising time each day.
Tool 3: Reap the benefits. Effective self-discipline becomes a habit, something you do without conscious thought. Many times we think about it in terms of “I have to xxx”. Usually we do not stop to think about the time and other resources it frees up for us to use for fun. When you consistently use Tools 1 and 2, you need to reward yourself, at a minimum, for avoiding crisis management – the worst resource depletion we have. As difficult as it may seem, it is critical that we make time to put ourselves first! Taking this step refreshes our outlook on life, work, family, relationships, and a host of other benefits. Remember that it typically takes thirty days to develop a habit and the next sixty days to firmly cement the new behavior.
I leave you with one final thought from Clint Eastwood. “Respect your efforts. Respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.”