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Why discipline should be your best friend

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When I tell my friends and family that I have found discipline to be my best source of motivation, I am often surprised by their skeptical reaction. One of my friends said that she thought discipline was a horrible word that conjures up army style thinking. I told her that I have found discipline to be the ultimate ammunition against apathy so that is the only connection I can see to the army.  I believe that the way we interpret the world is based on the glasses we look through and the way we process that information is known typically as mindset. For most of us, that still involves choice. I would be dishonest if I said I was motivated 24/7 but that is why I reward myself with enjoyable experiences and lazy hours which are factored in to my days and include most of my weekends.

My discipline and reward system:

  • Before I go to sleep each weeknight, I write a reminder list of tasks to complete the following day so that the concerns on my mind are switched off to allow a good night’s sleep.
  • When I wake each morning, the first thing I do is look at the reminder list I wrote from the night before, which switches my head into action.
  • The list frames the day ahead with purpose and switches off any thoughts I have about wanting to stay in bed.
  • I set up rewards that feel good for that day and work them out while I take a shower. I think about how long each group of tasks will take to complete and when I can take each reward.
  • Rewards can include a nice lunch, a favourite dish or coffee. Another reward can be to allocate a thirty-minute walk after work as a way of saying that you earned relaxation time and you can completely switch off.
  • My advice is that the way you speak to yourself will create the positive purpose and the discipline gives you the motivation to then grow from those inputs.
  • Rewards can also include saying yes more often to things such as lunch with friends and family because more tasks were completed so being disciplined allowed me to indulge my time.
  • Reward yourself with things you enjoy doing. I love researching topics of interest and I often quarantine time for this as reward session.
  • Instead of telling yourself that your workload and to-do lists are stressful and time consuming, which causes you to put them off, turn it around and use positive thoughts and notes. For example, tick boxes and looking at your diminishing list can be a reward in itself.
  • I often use stick-on notes so they can go from my bedside table, to my car and to my work desk. Sometimes I use my diary and notes on iPad and iPhone but I feel more rewarded by ticking off lists that are handwritten because, to me, it feels more personal.
  • People that often say yes to potentially life enhancing goals and decisions and then follow through with those goal achievements, generally tend to be happier. The “I can” mentality rather than the “I am always too busy” mentality, whether on holiday or at work, seems to be a pattern for many.
  • If you can see a pattern in others it is likely that you can see a pattern in your own routine.
  • Look for your dominant pattern and if it is predominantly apathy, try this motivational method and it may turn your life around.
  • The common saying “who you think you are is who you become” is mostly true.
  • This motivation system can be used for business motivation, university study, research fields and personal life.
  • Discipline is essentially set by achieving small goals which can create bigger project trees and from there the expansion of our interests, careers, relationships, health and better sleep patterns.

Essentially, I believe that discipline is the motivational fertilizer to become more interested in the world around us and, as a consequence, we are more likely to be interesting to everyone that we meet.


Article and Photo by: Gerardine Lear

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