A new way of looking at self-discipline


I made a big mistake this week – one that will cost me dearly. It is a direct result of a serious affliction – one that crept into my life while I was being lazy.


The culprit  is a growing lack of self-discipline and attention to detail.  Maybe I’ve always been this way to some extent, but it seems to be getting worse.

I don’t take time to file contracts properly if at all.  I place receipts in a cigar box then lose the box.  My filing system is in the back seat of my car.

This has GOT TO STOP before I drive myself crazy.  I went to the library today and hung out for a couple of hours reading up on all the volumes they had on self-discipline.

I’ve come to the conclusion that suffering the pain of self discipline hurts less in the long run than the pain of regret!

In my search, I uncovered a website at www.RyanWhiteside.com and learned the following tips which I thought were excellent.  I’m going to give them a try for the next 10 days and see what shakes.

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

Inside of you, there is an evil little person who wants to be completely lazy. Anytime you try to do something worthwhile, that person 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.

self lldis 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?…Mine says “Eat the cake, you can get back on your program tomorrow.” He says “No need to file important papers today, you’ve got all month.”

2. The little  person in your head tries to trick you into doing something else.

Here are, 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.
This may sound a bit silly, but hear me out. State out loud (or in your head) what you want to be doing, as if you were actually already doing it. (I’m now cleaning out my file drawer and setting up new files.)

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.

Even people you think are very self disciplined, sometimes get fooled by the little person in his or her head.  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 – such as the chant in number 3.

6. Getting past the fear

Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?”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!

7. 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.

8.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.

Source: Ryan Whiteside.com

One thought on “A new way of looking at self-discipline

  1. Hey Emily,
    I just read this and noticed that there is NO number 5. I was just wondering if it was so bad, that you did not want to burden us with it?

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