If you’ve given up on self-discipline, this post is for you. You probably have a lot of things you don’t enjoy doing. Worse, you might have a lot of things you simply don’t do because they suck. It becomes a game of self-discipline versus just doing what you enjoy. You try willing yourself into it, or beating yourself up, or you just plain giving up. That is, unless you know the secret. The secret of self-discipline is to change the why or change the how.
Change the Why
To change the why, you can find a way to connect to your values. For example, let’s say you don’t enjoy doing your chores. What if you knew it made somebody happy? Or, maybe you value order, and this creates order in your life. Or, if you’re a social person, you might connect it to a more enjoyable experience when you have people over. Find a why. When you find the right why, you’ll find the energy. Keep in mind, you may not necessarily enjoy it. Mastery, for example, can be a compelling why.
Change the How
To change your how, you have a lot of options. One of my favorite sayings is, it’s not what’s on your plate, but how you eat it. Growing up, I hated mash potatoes so I turned them into little castles and moats and attacked them with my peas. When I find something I know I should do, but don’t enjoy it, I try to turn it into a game or pair up.
It’s Not What You Do
When I went through an exercise to find my Golden Circle (i.e. why you do what you do), the ah-ha was that it’s not what you do. It’s why and how you do it. You can bring your game wherever you go or whatever you do, by living your why and how. This puts you in control and really increases your options in any scenario.
Connecting the Dots
To connect the dots, using what you now know, you can even change the why and how of self-discipline. Why practice self-discipline? Because research shows more success is connected to self-discipline. If you want to ignore the research, then just think about it like this … do you know anybody who is successful who doesn’t have to do anything they don’t like? How to practice self-discipline … change the why or change the how. That’s your recipe for real results.
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Photo by Randy Son of Robert.