Acquiring self-discipline can be a difficult process. It requires ongoing work. For the average person, self-discipline is something you apply to certain areas of your life during certain times of your life.
Take, for example, people gearing up for the Mini-Marathon. They begin to describe their specialized training, which requires much self-discipline. Runners and walkers will need to eat differently, carve out time to do weight training, develop schedules to increase mileage, and buy the proper fitness gear. Some of you may not choose this path, but many marathoners look forward to the planning and preparation that goes into this major athletic endeavor. In this instance, acquiring self-discipline equates to achieving a certain outcome.
On the other hand, for most truly successful people, self-discipline is a lifelong change that results in success for the long term.
Michael A. Janke, a motivational coach, says that “self-discipline is the ability to regulate your conduct by principle, persistence, and sound judgment rather than desire or social acceptance.” Self-discipline is a sure guarantee for a solid sense of self-worth. It is the vehicle for prosperity, honor and integrity. To be truly self-disciplined requires that you focus on what you gained as opposed to what you lost. Recovering addicts focus on their strengths, coping skills, and restored sanity. They embrace what they have gained as opposed to what they have lost—the alcohol in their life.
People who are losing weight look at their improved mental and physical well-being as opposed to the deprivation of sugar, fat, or carbohydrates. Self-discipline is the ability to create a mindset where you focus on the positive aspects of “control and substitution”. It is imperative to focus on the positives and look at what you will be gaining from changing your behavior. If you can’t focus on what you will likely have lost you will likely not accomplish your goals—because you have not acquired the mindset to achieve them.
In a society that emphasizes immediate gratification, saying “no” is an essential component to developing self-discipline. It requires that you learn how to manage your desires, impulses and behaviors as opposed to having the immediate gratification that typically controls you.
I heard somewhere that “Success is going from the failure to failure, picking yourself back up, and going at it again.”
Addicts will tell you that relapse is a normal part of recovery, and yet true recovery will not occur until you create a strategy that offers you substitution and hope. It should not be viewed as a failure to relapse. True recovery requires that you accept these failures in combination with creating a strategy.
People who live a self-disciplined life were not born that way. They had a “felt shift” in their thinking, coupled with a plan that they could incorporate into their lifestyle. A felt shift is a pivotal attitudinal change in how people view life. Ellis said it best when he said, “You control your own destiny. Be a discipline.”
• What do you need or want to change in your life?
• Make a list of all of the obstacles and reasons that you haven’t been successful.
• Make a list of all of the reasons that you want the change
(IF YOUR OBSTACLE LIST IS LONGER THAN YOUR REASONS FOR CHANGE, THEN YOU ARE NOT REALLY READY TO CHANGE!)
• How would your life be different if you created attitudinal shifts that supported the needed changes?
(DO NOT SET YOURSELF UP FOR FAILURE. IF YOU’RE NOT PSYCHED UP AND READY TO DO THE WORK, CONTINUE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO CHANGE YOUR THINKING TO EMBRACE THE SUBSTITUTION PART OF THE FORMULA. THEN, ACCEPT YOURSELF EXACTLY AS YOU ARE AND CONTEMPLATE HOW YOU WILL KNOW WHEN YOU ARE READY.)
It is essential to create enthusiasm and excitement for all of the positive things that will occur when you practice self-discipline.