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“Self-discipline is often disguised as short-term pain, which often leads to long-term gains. The mistake many of us make is the need and want for short-term gains (immediate gratification), which often leads to long-term pain.” ~
At some point, we’ve all struggled with our motivation and discipline levels and may have found ourselves lamenting over the fact that we know we have important things to do, like work on our health or fill out that big application form, and we just can’t seem to find the motivation to do it.
We end up saying “I really want to do this, but I simply can’t” or “I just don’t feel motivated enough!” while we continue to indulge in all the other things that we know we shouldn’t be engaging in (like binge-watching TV or going overboard with eating the not-so-healthy stuff or even not doing anything at all).
Instead of looking at the long-term benefits of putting in some effort, we settle for short-term pleasures and trick ourselves into believing that we will do better tomorrow.
But that tomorrow doesn’t come…does it?
Too often, we wait to feel good in order to do what’s necessary or important for us; in the process, too much time goes by and we might end up with nothing.
Our motivation continues to go down, and getting ourselves to actually do something meaningful becomes even more difficult. Over time, it gets easier to hide behind the veil of “I don’t feel good” and give ourselves this false hope of “I will do it one day.”
Except that, we don’t know when that one day will come when we will feel perfectly ready to do what we should have done ages ago. Before we realise, the pile of all the things that are important for us and need to be done becomes so big that we now want to run away.
Doing what is of utmost importance for us is not easy.
In fact, it is the most difficult thing because we inherently know that it would require us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, and that in itself is scary.
Too often, we make the mistake of looking for willpower and motivation to do what’s necessary. While these are important states, when it comes to doing what is necessary, we need to focus on creating a sense of discipline and consistency instead of waiting for that one fine day when we feel we have it all together.
No one has it together. We are all a different kind of mess and we still have to do what’s important and meaningful in the long run, and for that, we need to endure some short-term discomfort.
Our mind is like an errant child. We need to steer it in the right direction repeatedly for it to see the merit of habits and actions that may seem uncomfortable at the start but give us tremendous gain long term.
“Self-Discipline is an act of cultivation. It requires you to connect today’s actions to tomorrow’s results. There’s a season for sowing, a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you to know which is which.” ~ Gary Ryan Blair
Essentially, when we’re not taking care of ourselves, not stepping up to make relevant changes, not pushing ourselves out of the familiar, even if it’s not working for us, we’re not loving ourselves the way we need to.
I have come to understand that a lack of discipline is a lack of self-love because the message that we’re giving to ourselves is: “I am not important enough to work on my health, relationship, career, or anything else that I know might be important for me.”
When we don’t build habits that may kick us in the butt, we deprive ourselves of our own love, nurturance, and understanding.
Building self-discipline is not about following a rigorous routine or ticking off checkboxes in your to-do list. It’s a mindset that shows “I will do what is important and meaningful for me, even if it’s uncomfortable.”
It’s about choosing to let the internal chatter that is constantly pulling you down and away from what truly matters to you run somewhere in the background and start taking small steps every day that show you matter to yourself.
It is about resisting the temptation to give in to the things that might make us feel good for five minutes but will probably induce a sh*tload of guilt later on. It’s about building consistency in our actions and showing up again and again for only one person: our own self.
“Self-discipline is like a muscle; the more you use it the stronger it gets.” ~ Daniel Goldstein
Is it easy? No.
Is it necessary? Yes.
When we can consistently show up for others and at times for things and events that we don’t even like, why can’t we show up for ourselves enough?
You need to consider this:
>> If you have a goal that is important to you, then it is important to create some kind of discipline around it, i.e. take steps consistently so that your mind and body begin to understand that this needs to be done.
>> It’s also important to identify what could be possibly blocking you from achieving your goal or being consistent and work on that.
>> Replacing old habits with new ones isn’t easy because our mind would always, automatically gravitate towards the known and comfortable. Therefore, it’s important to constantly remind yourself of your “why” and how would you feel when you actually accomplish your goal. Our mind works really well with incentives and there is no greater incentive than feeling good about your own self.
>> And then it’s about taking small steps—each day, every day—and appreciating yourself for those.
While we delude ourselves into thinking that if we criticized ourselves enough, we would get some work done. That is crap.
“Self-compassion is a more effective motivator than self-criticism because its driving force is love, not fear.” ~ Kirsten Neff
Criticism makes us feel worse and robs us of our ability to do anything. It’s only when we appreciate ourselves, that we are able to fuel ourselves with the necessary amount of motivation and love to keep us going.
“You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~ Louise L. Hay
Self-love is not always about doing what we want to do or like to do. It is also about doing what needs to be done because it’s meaningful to us and our sense of being.
So what steps are you going to take for yourself now?
“Respect your efforts. Respect your self. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both under your belt, that’s real power. ~ Clint Eastwood