in Cognitive Wisdom, Prism of Life

  • Do you still struggle to drag yourself out of bed at 5 am?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried this for last, so many decades that it has lost all the charm it used to hold for me back in the days.

  • Do you still struggle to keep your new year’s resolution of losing that extra 10 pounds?

Probably because gaining back those lost pounds on more than a couple of occasions has made it look like an exercise in futility.

  • Do you still struggle to resist the temptation of three scoops of icecream lying in some obscure corner of your freezer?

Frankly, we all have lost this particular battle of self-denial so many times that we’ve actually lost the count.

If your answer to any of the above questions is in affirmation, then, believe me, you’re not alone.

However, after doing many self-experiments over the years, I have stumbled upon 7 proven Antidote to the Poor Self Discipline I would like to share with you. You, too, can implement them to see the desired changes within your life.

1. Locate Your Underlying Inadequacy

If you care to dig deep inside yourself, you might find that most of your perennial struggle with self-discipline is nothing but a manifestation of your own inadequacy — perceived by both you as well as people known to you.

We often shy away from taking responsibility for our behavior. We tend to label ourselves as someone who had been a failure when it comes to sticking with good old self-discipline.

For instance, if you have always struggled to keep your weight within an acceptable range — a yardstick of your own creation, you see it as an excuse to default again.

While identifying the deep-rooted cause for our delinquent behavior, we can often stumble upon the “feeling of inadequacy.” An inadequacy that is often reinforced by widespread misperception propagated by multiple social media platforms.

Therefore, instead of allowing yourself to play victim, what you need is self-acceptance & unconditional self-love.

2. Decouple Your emotions From Moral Judgments

It takes time for us to understand that our feeling determines what we end up regularly doing.

If spending that extra hour in bed makes you feel good and relaxed, you shouldn’t deny yourself that good feeling. But if that extra hour or two in the morning makes you feel guilty. And that guilt is somehow spilling over to the rest of your working hours; then I’m afraid you deserve a chance to get rid of that feeling of guilt— even if that means going to bed an hour early.

Because the moment you start taking responsibility for all your actions and its accompanying feelings, I’m sure you will learn to decouple your emotions from moral judgments.

Once you decouple this, you can end the cycle of self-blame.

3. Acknowledge Your Problems

Whether ice cream is the primary villain in your diet plan, or your inability to deny yourself the pleasure of checking your social media accounts every five minutes, you need first to acknowledge they’re your problems.

Too often, people tend to either negate the complete existence of their problems or the adverse effects that those problems might have had on their lives.

For instance, almost every drinker in this world thinks, “I am perfectly capable of quitting if I wanted to.” because deep inside, they fail to acknowledge drinking is a problem.

Acknowledgment of the problem always remains the first step. Everything else follows after that.

4. Starve Yourself of Bad Options

We might think of ourselves as someone who could access an infinite reservoir of willpower to resist the most alluring of enticements, but we know how it sounds as ridiculous as someone claiming to know what’s on their spouse’s mind.

Therefore, eliminating bad options is a far more effective method to make comparatively better decisions.

For example, If you want to stick with a regular exercise routine after office hours, it makes more sense to head directly to your gym after your office.

Similarly, if you don’t wish to binge on something unhealthy, you should keep a bowl of fresh fruits in front of you, preferably beside your work desk.

5. Think Long Term

One of the reasons we often cave into the temptation because it succeeds in making us happy now. Tell me, who doesn’t want to be happy now, instead of delaying it for the future?

Even though we all know that long term contentment requires us to forgo our immediate gratification (damn that marshmallow experiment), we fail to see beyond what’s there in front of us — literally in front of our eyes.

So the trick is to visualize how you would look after meeting your goals and see yourself reaping the compounded benefits of all those deliberate and uncomfortable efforts. If you can succeed in detail visualization, you can probably convince yourself to stick with your’s uncomfortable routine.

6. Planning for Better Results

We know that good intentions backed by willpower wouldn’t take you far.

What will definitely take you far is deliberate planning.

For instance, if you can somehow plan your supermarket visit without buying a tub of ice cream and cookies, you wouldn’t be able to have access to them at your home.

This way, you can plan for your future success by eliminating the option of a wrong decision to get better results.

Planning means taking a long term view of all your minor decisions that could hamper your big decisions. As someone rightly said, failing to plan is as good as planning to fail.

7. Reward Yourself for Good Behaviour

At times we’re capable of being very harsh with ourselves, especially when we default on our commitment. Therefore, every once in a while, it makes sense to give yourself a treat.

It’s better to break down your big goals into little milestones and try to achieve them every week. The most sensible thing about having a milestone is that it keeps you on the right track. And you can certainly make it fun by rewarding yourself for hitting those milestones.

But mind you, the reward of hitting those milestones shouldn’t set you back in terms of your goals. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, then a weekend reward of ice cream is a complete NO.

Concluding Thoughts

Sticking to your goals can feel intimidating when you’re trying to rely solely on your honest intentions fuelled by your finite willpower.

However, now that you’re aware of these seven proven antidotes to counter the challenge of poor self-discipline, you can successfully resist yourself from immediate distractions and temptations.

But while practicing them, you should always keep in mind that what we choose to do daily invariably influences how we prefer to establish our identity in the long term.

Originally published on Medium.


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