Motivation and “self-discipline”
In order for anything to really succeed, we need to have good motivation for what we are doing. If we’re not really very enthusiastic (consciously or unconsciously) about what we’re doing (even worse if we think we’re “forced / must do”), the results are rarely good.
In studies, motivation and self-discipline are sometimes lost. The goal – graduation – often seems too far-fetched and sometimes even unrealistic. We try to force ourselves to read for the exam, but we soon wake up from rapping our phone and so again disappeared for two hours as…
Self-discipline was a curse word to me for a long time. It sounded cold, mechanical, and distressing. Especially when it really wasn’t one of my strengths. And when money, success, or other material things have never motivated me, then where do you find motivation and self-discipline for productive study? Because, in fact, there is no point in hanging university books if there are no credits here?
Self-discipline = what you want MOST
Everything changed (to this point the dramatic rumble of drums!) As I became acquainted with a different, human view of self-discipline. Not through self-flogging or self-loathing (“again I messed up…”), but through a unique life!
“Self-discipline is the ability to control our emotions so that we can move towards our goals and act in harmony with what we really want, rather than doing what feels good right now.”
The web is full of Self Help instructions for achieving self-discipline. Many of them are very mechanical and exterior (“make the bell ring”, “when you’re done, reward yourself”). They can be very functional and definitely worth checking out.
But if we have not done mental, fundamental quality thought or, more properly, “insight work” deep in our hearts and souls, they are rarely enough. If we lack the basics, that is, CAUSE = MOTIVATION for “self-discipline” and controlled use of time, we will only continue to flirt with daily tasks and fight temptations. It is both extremely consuming and often makes us unhappy, even depressed.
The good news is that anyone can learn “self-discipline”. Even if you are similar to me, that is, indeed more living in the present than in the future, by going through these next 4 points you may find a whole new drive in your life. In fact, in every area of your life, not just your studies.
4 steps to lifelong self-discipline
1. Know WHAT you want
In a world that constantly feeds (tries) always fills us with new needs and desires, it is extremely important to think, define, and decide what we really want in life. The first step to self-discipline is to know crystal clear what you want – what your goals are.
Define your goals as concretely as possible – “being happy” is not enough yet. Think about what things make you happy? What milestones do you need for your goals? Good, measurable goals include, for example, “I want to graduate within two years”. Or “I want to lose weight by 10 pounds”. “I want to learn the basics of Spanish”.
2. Know WHY you want to
When you know why you want something, it helps you stay on track at the point where doing it yourself becomes challenging (and many things to do now just are often difficult, boring, or repulsive in life). We often give up and stop everything in the middle if we are not committed to our goals on an emotional level. When you know why you want something, it greatly improves your chances of achieving your goals.
Reasons can include, for example, “I want to graduate quickly in two years so I can get a good job and start saving on my own home.” “I want to lose 10 pounds to stop my knee pain.”
3. IDENTIFY your challenges and weaknesses
Each of us has challenges and weaknesses as well as strengths and skills. It is normal. However, it is extremely important to know and accept ourselves, both good and bad, so that we can avoid pitfalls and reduce the risks of losing self-discipline.
So think about what your weaknesses and triggers are and how you can avoid them or deal with them. When you decide to take that famous “just one beer,” does it always end with a night of partying and a multi-day epic hangover, percussion…? Do the beeps on your phone get you distracted from the job at work? If you know your sugar cravings are at their worst in the afternoon, make fruit and berries available.
4. REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN
Everyone is sometimes hit by moments of despair when goals seem impossible and everything is useless. Then it’s time to remind yourself that you’re a pretty tough guy after all. Remember where you succeeded, how you transcended yourself, where you are good. Remember how you maintained your self-discipline, even though it was challenging.
“Self-discipline is simply a choice between what you want now and what you want the most.”
TASK: Reflect on and write down your own points 1-4
To make this article truly useful to you, do the task. Think about what the above four points are in your own life and above all, write down the points. Take out your notebook or paper. Write down by hand (not by machine) what you want, why, what your challenges are (and how you can overcome them), and where you have already succeeded. Think in peace. Also consider your values and the relationship of your goals to them. Which of your desires is truly pulping with yourself, which perhaps are more of an environmental pressure after all? Or what market forces have brainwashed us into believing and worth pursuing?
By writing by hand, you both remember things better and deal with things more deeply. Always carry a notebook and pen with you. Write down thoughts, remarks, dreams. Draw something, scratch. At the same time, you will also develop your creativity, thinking, and writing skills.
So, as we’ve seen above, “self-discipline” isn’t really (or necessarily – you decide!) Is discipline in itself. It is not self-whipping, suffering, not living, torturing. Self-discipline can be gratitude: “wonderful, I have the opportunity and the freedom to strive towards the life I want!”. Self-discipline can be easy: when you know what you want and what you’re doing in front of it, there are fewer choices and perhaps more routines that make life easier. Self-discipline is an appreciation of our unique life (which ends with everyone sooner or later) when we no longer waste time on futile things (how many repent on their deathbed of not browsing more Facebook…?).
Self-discipline is that we are in control of our own lives and do not drift passively at the mercy of impulses, circumstances, and momentary but soon transient pleasure reactions (do those likes still matter so much…?).
Create a life of your own!
By developing your self-discipline, your control of life, that is, doing what creates for you the kind of life you want to live, you can get so much! Return to your notes and entries in steps 1-4 from time to time, and update if necessary. You will notice what you have already achieved and you will become happier, happier, and more confident.
Self-discipline is a skill anywhere and can be practiced and learned. Setting and achieving goals is really possible, even for the worst of us and those who “go with the wind”! Try and be surprised.