Most of us humans aren’t known for willpower. Over-indulgence is a way of life: food, social media, shopping, etc… All those things can be fun. Too much? Life-sucker.
“Self-discipline is an undervalued trait in a modern society that wants everything now,” said Dr. Robert Carter, co-author of The Morning Mind: Use Your Brain to Master Your Day and Supercharge Your Life. “It is, however, a skill that everyone can learn. Self-discipline is the skill that will allow you to reach any goal you set.”
Dr. Carter gives us these ways to develop self-discipline:
Be aware of your resistance. Resistance, Carter says, is the biggest obstacle to developing self-discipline, and it often comes in the form of discouraging internal self-talk such as, “I can’t do it” or “Why should I have to change?” “The next time you embark on a new project that causes resistance,” Carter says, “fight it by asserting or writing down your intended goal and the benefits it will bring.”
Crack Wise-dom: We’ll get to that goal-intending after watching Stranger Things 3 for the eighth time.
Plan for every outcome. Plans go awry when people let excuses get in the way. “An example is having a goal of running in the morning for 30 minutes, but you have bailouts such as it’s raining, cold, or you don’t feel like it,” Carter says. “Developing self-discipline is recognizing and planning for these self-created obstacles and actively choosing to work through them. So when you set a goal to achieve, have chart in place listing “Even ifs.” List the potential obstacles to achieving your goal and counter each one with a promise to yourself that you’ll achieve your goal even if these challenges arise.”
Crack Wise-dom: We prefer riding the stationary bike. More sitting is good. We just have to knock the pile of clothes off of it first. Oh! That’s where we put the latest issue of Health Magazine from 2015.
Prepare to give something up in order to gain. Carter suggests compiling a list of the pros and cons of sacrificing for a certain goal. “To reach your goal, Carter says, “you will more than likely have to impose certain limitations on yourself in order to gain something. These limitations could be less free time, socializing, money or television. The upside is that seeing the rewards of the sacrifice on the pros list will keep you motivated and disciplined.”
Crack Wise-dom: We’ll give up one of our seven “cheat days.” Feelin’ good already!
Reward yourself with self-compensation. “Rewards are an incredibly powerful tool for motivating yourself to reach your goals,” Carter says. “Consider them the carrot on the stick. Have a reward in place for when you achieve a goal or part of a goal, and make sure it’s appropriate.”
Crack Wise-dom: We’ll continue with plans for a mail order bride. #EverybodyNeedsLove
Break your goal down into manageable steps. “If you break your goal down into bite-sized steps,” Carter says, “you’re much more likely to stay disciplined enough to complete every sub-goal. Each step accomplished gives you an encouraging boost. Consider using SMART goals — specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, timed. This makes the goal more definitive and puts the steps in tangible action.”
Crack Wise-dom: Bite-sized chocolate-covered Oreo minis are out?
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