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10 Tips For Learning Self Discipline

One of the most influential books I have ever read was Self Discipline In 10 Days.

If learning self discipline is your goal, I highly encourage you pick up this book.

It's been a long time since I read it, but I still use the tips that I learned in the book on a daily basis. Some of these tips are what I would like to share with you right now.

I guess I probably shouldn't call these "tips." They are more like thoughts or ideals. You will begin to think differently about self discipline. And start to see it in a whole new light.

Take your time as you read through them. Think hard about what they mean. And as always, take action!

1. A part of you does not want self discipline.

Inside of you, there is a little part of you that wants to be completely lazy. Anytime you try to do something worthwhile, that person inside you tries everything possible to get you to stop.

The only way to get good at learning self discipline is to have the ability to communicate with this person inside you effectively.

I'll warn you though, this person is extremely persuasive. And it's important that you realize this from the beginning. You're not going to win every battle with this person. You simply need to strive to do your best.

What kind of things does this person inside you say?...

2. The 5 things that this person says to trick you into doing something else.

Here is, more or less, the five things that this person inside you says to get you to stopping doing what's important...
  • What's the point of all of this?
  • Why bother? Remember last time you tried something like that?
  • I'm not good enough. I don't have what it takes. I'm too fat/ugly/skinny/shy etc.
  • Let's go do something else. Let's just watch some TV for a little bit.
  • We'll do it later. No need to get started right now.
Reading over this list, I bet you realize that you've said some of these things a million times to yourself. This is the little person inside you speaking. Remember, this person doesn't want you to have self discipline. And they've discovered that by saying these things, it often times gets you to stop what you're doing!

The trick is to realize these thoughts the moment they arrive. And kindly tell yourself that they are simply a trick to try to get you to do something else! How can you fight these tricks?...

3. A great tip to get you up and going.

Here's a tip that will get you off the couch and start working. It's a bit silly. But I promise that if you try it just one time you will not think it's so silly anymore...

State out loud (or in your head) what you want to be doing, as if you were actually already doing it.

If you want to stop watching TV and start doing yard work, repeat to yourself, "I am doing yard work. I am doing yard work. I am doing yard work."

You're probably thinking that there is no way that this works. Believe me, I said the same thing myself. All I ask is that you try it just one time! I hope you do. You'll be amazed!

4. Self discipline is not a trait, its a skill.

Laugh the next time you hear someone say that they are self disciplined. Because the reality is, you can't be self disciplined. You can use self discipline. But you can't be it as if it was a quality in you.

If you take someone that you think is very skilled in self discipline, you will realize that even for them, the little person inside them gets the best of them at least some of the time.

That's because no matter how skilled you are, there is always room for improvement. The best basketball player on the planet still misses a shot from time to time.

Self discipline is a skill. A skille that you need to constantly get better at. Practice it every day. Because the day you stop practicing is the day you start to lose it.

5. Ask yourself, "How can I get myself to do what a part of me doesn't want to do?"

Whenever you hear yourself saying one of the five things mentioned above, stop what you are doing immediately.

Think about what this person in you is saying. Is their point valid? Usually it's not. And when it isn't valid, you need to have some kind of pick-me-up to get you through it. Try using tip 3 and start chanting what you want to be doing. Rewards work well too.

One thing that has worked really well for me is when I read my notecard of inspiration. You will learn more about this in tip 10.

Little things make a big difference. Especially when it comes to learning self discipline.

6. You fear failure because you don't separate the task from yourself.

This is a big clue as to why you haven't started doing a lot of the things that you've always said you wanted to do.

We are all consumed by fears. Whether we realize this or not.

Fear of failure is certainly towards the top of the list. And it's for this reason that we fear it so much. If our project fails. We consider ourselves a failure. It's important that you realize that you do this and stop thinking this way.

If your project fails, big deal! You're still a winner for trying. I know you might think that this sounds like a loser's attitude but it's not. As long as you tried your best when you were working on it, you'll be a winner every time!

If you gave half effort and the project failed, you are a loser! But if deep down you know you tried your hardest, the next project you face you will be that much better.

7. Ask yourself, "What is the worst that can happen?"

Continuing on with dealing with fears, this saying is the best antidote I've heard.

Next time you're afraid to make that phone call that you really need to make, ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that could happen?"

You will be amazed by how many times the answer to this question is "not much." Try this the next time you are frozen from action because of some fear. Think about the worst thing that can happen. Accept it. And then do it!

8. Don't have an "all or nothing" attitude.

The reason we don't get started on many important things and the reason our self discipline falters is because of our instinct of "all or nothing."

I used to have the hardest time getting started writing a new page for the site because I said to myself, "if I start then I have to finish it!"

When you start on something, start with the attitude that you are going to do your best and whatever happens, happens. When you do this, you will find yourself getting started much more quickly. And ultimately, getting a whole lot more done.

9. The reality of getting it done is more satisfying than getting it perfect.

This relates a little to the previous tip. Having a "perfectionist" attitude will really kill your self discipline.

If everything needs to be perfect, you need to get rid of that attitude immediately. Because a lot of things just need to be good enough. And nothing more.

The ultimate satisfaction comes when you do your best and get it done. If you need to go back later and improve it you can. But focus your thoughts and attitude on getting things done. And getting them done as quickly as possible.

You'll be amazed by how this attitude will effect your self discipline and your overall happiness.

10. Have a notecard of inspiration.

The final tip is to have a notecard of inspiration. What's that?

It's very simple. Get a notecard and write three motivational things on it. I like to have two motivational quotes and one big goal that I'm striving towards.

Now, be sure to only have three things on it. Keep it simple or you'll never look at it. And be sure to change this notecard and add new stuff to it from time to time.

I would say that you need to make a new card at least every two weeks. Because it doesn't take long before the thoughts written on the card lose their power and don't quite give you the inspiration that had before.

Be sure to have this card in a place where you will see it all of the time. My motivation card sits right by my computer. I can't tell you how many times I've glanced over at this card and a surge of energy started to come up inside of me.

Similar to tip 3, you might think that this card won't do that much for you. But all that I ask is for you to try it for a week. Right this second, go grab an index card and look up "motivational quotes" in a search engine. Try this for a week and see if it doesn't help you improve your self discipline.

Final Thoughts

If you liked these tips at all, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of Self Discipline In 10 Days.

I know it's a little more expensive than most other books. At least, it was when I bought it! But I promise that this book will live through all of the hype. Be sure to have a free day when you start reading it. Because it's so well written, you won't want to put it down!

Self discipline is an incredibly important part of personal development. The great Jim Rohn said, "We suffer from one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret."

Make sure you start suffering the pain of discipline. Because the pain of regret hurts far more in the long run!

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