We associate discipline with the ways our parents forced us to do things because they “said so.” Or we talk about it as if it were a missing gene: “I dunno what it is but I just can’t stop…”
How many times have you argued that what you really, really need is more discipline in order to get things done? Discipline is our special form of self-coercion exacted viciously in order that we might do, not just our chores, but the things that we say we want to do.
This is curious.
And totally wrong.
Why would you need to force yourself to do something that you say you want to do? (Or force yourself not to?)
Well, you don't.
Recently I heard someone say “I really want to exercise, but I just don’t have time,” so I asked them to take the word “exercise” and substitute it with “pick up the kids from school.” (Then I practically had to duck and cover, but that’s another story).
The truth is, we will do what we care about and what we commit to, and we don’t need discipline to do it. We will simply find the time. Somehow.
How do we do that?
I notice that did not just pick up my daughter from school because I had previously given myself a very nasty dressing down and then swore I would not reward myself if I didn't do it. I arranged life to get there.
I did it because it mattered to me.
If you are not doing something (especially when you say that you are committed to it) it is because somewhere inside you have not decided that it matters enough. Making something matter is a decision. I had to decide that it mattered to me to write these articles. On a Sunday night, ready for sleep, I may have to remind myself why it matters.
And I need a deeper reason than hating myself if I don’t.
Next time you want to do something, try NOT punishing yourself into it. Try finding one positive thing about what you say you want to do that connects you deeply with why it matters to you. (In other words, you do not get to use: “He won’t speak to me if I don’t,” or “I’ll hate my body forever”)
If you can’t find a positive why for you, then you will never be able to disapprove of yourself enough to force yourself to do it. Not in the long run.
On my radio show I've had great guests and explored what goes on in our brains when we say we want something but then notice that we just don’t do what is needed. You'll find those and more ideas for what you can do...
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