Tuesday, June 5, 2007

How self-disciplined are YOU?

This is a topic I'm concerned with of late. My struggle with self-discipline starts new each and every day. I'm by nature a "slacker"... I enjoy letting things form and complete themselves in an organic state. I am a champion procrastinator. There's always tomorrow, right? ARGH! So not true, and I know it. But I can't seem to help myself resolve the desire to putz around until it's too late.

So, I thought I'd start by analyzing what self-discipline really is. Self-discipline is the ability to get yourself to take action regardless of your emotional state.

Hmmm... What is my emotional state? I'm happy, relaxed, and basically good-natured. Most of the time. But I'm also jealous, snippy, and impatient. Am I bi-polar? Not that I've been diagnosed. I'm a woman! By nature of my sex I'm allowed to be either mood that suits me, right?

What's mood have to do with self-discipline? A LOT. Imagine what you could accomplish if you could simply get yourself to follow through on your best intentions no matter what? Picture yourself saying to your body, “You’re overweight. Lose 20 pounds.” Without self-discipline that intention won’t become manifest. If I were more self-disciplined I'd by-pass the cookie isle in the supermarket and buy more vegetables! But cookies are not only tasty, they're fun. Sugar makes me feel good when I'm experiencing one of those above-mentioned bad moods. LOL! (Okay - so I'm using sweets as a crutch. By admitting it I'm half way there...)

With sufficient self-discipline, no matter what goals you set for yourself, it’s a done deal. The pinnacle of self-discipline is when you reach the point that when you make a conscious decision, it’s virtually guaranteed you’ll follow through on it.

I haven't reached that pinnacle - YET. I'm "learning" to forego on the cookies and buy more grapes. I'm "learning" to turn OFF the damned TV and read more, write more. You have to be disciplined to learn, so I figure my self-discipline is a developing thing. I'm growing with it. I know myself well enough that making all the changes in one fell swoop means that I'd fail at all of them.

A successful writer must have self-discipline, and vice-versa, having it means you'll be a success. Seems to make so much sense and should be easy, right? NOT. I'm not sure I suffer from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), but I do lose focus when I need to hash out details for a story I'm working on. That's where self-discipline is a must. I have to stop switching from one story to a new one, or an old unfinished one, just to avoid the hard work of research or details that I already know will make my story stronger and more believable.

Having a set schedule each day is important to maintain self-discipline. Once you get into the "groove" it becomes second nature, and therefore doesn't require so much internal "push" to achieve. I want to be a successful writer. I want to lose 20 pounds. I need self-discipline to do both, and more. Within the domain of problems that self-discipline can solve, it is simply unmatched. Moreover, it becomes a powerful teammate when combined with other tools like passion, goal-setting, and planning.

So, how self-discplined are you? I hope you find ways to incorporate it into your daily schedule and make all your dreams come true!


anny cook said...

Ah, just a suggestion. After breakfast, you can't eat until you write a certain number of words. Then it's lunch time... and then you can't eat until you write a certain number of words. By then it's dinner time...

This has done nothing for my particular weight problem which is based on thyroid problems, but for sure, I eat better! And write, besides...

Heather Hiestand said...

When I'm really being disciplined, I don't even get breakfast until I've been working for a little while! For me, so much depends on simply not sleeping in on my days off. I'm not undisciplined by nature (I even did lose 20 pounds last year) but I do like my sleep!

Charlene Leatherman said...

So what do you do when your self-discipline and your unscheduled life get in the way of each other?
Ah well, a topic for another blog.

Sandy Storm said...

Sable, you are so right. When I am really disciplined, self-disciplined that is, the words just seem to flow. When I struggle with self-discipline, there are a million reasons why. As a writer, I know that somehow I have to drive through those distractions. Oh, if that little thing called work and its attendant paycheck did not rear its head of ugliness!