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Don’t wait for other people to impose discipline on you. Start early. Create your own discipline. Although it sounds a little bit harsh, self discipline is a facilitator for many things in your life. It’s hard to get but great to have.
In my experience, all you need to build self discipline is: clear goals, incentives, progress assessment and a will to avoid interruptions. The last one being the most difficult, of course.
But if you manage to create clear goals, to place at the end of them the appropriate incentive and to constantly assess what you are doing, creating self-discipline will be only a matter of time. A very short time.
In fact, self-discipline is the ability to do the exact amount of what you want from what you dreamed of, while still having a life.
Why Self-Discipline Is Better Than Pleasure
Many people are falling short in imposing discipline because of one tiny, but hugely important (and vastly misunderstood and misinterpreted) thing: their attachment to pleasure. Why getting up, going outside and start running if sitting on the couch is so nice and cozy and fluffy? Why practicing your skills when you can just rest and watch a movie or just browse the web or your favorite social network? Sounds familiar? Well, all those situations are in fact attachments to pleasure.
Now comes a very interesting moment, when people are usually inferring that pleasure is bad. We shouldn’t enjoy sitting on the couch or interacting with friends on social networks. Wrong. I didn’t say that. To be honest, I do that a lot. Sitting on a couch is one of my favorites hobbies. As a matter of fact, this very post is written while sitting on my couch.
What’s really bad is the attachment, not the enjoyment. Staying on the couch more than you need for writing the blog post, instead of going out and running, that’s the part that is blocking self-discipline.
If you can learn to detach, to get rid of the attachment, something very, very interesting will happen. You will start to actually enjoy running, or practicing your skills. You will get pleasure from what you thought would be a chore. You will feel better while doing those things, and not feeling better by over-indulging. Pleasure will be derived from achieving your goals and not from delaying stuff and attaching to something which is already way too much.
It’s like sugar, you know. Too much of it will be really bad for your health. As a runner, I learned that I really need sugar to make my muscles work (it’s a thing called glycogen that fires every time I use a muscle). When I’m preparing for a marathon, I now that sugar will be a very important part of my nutrition plan, before and during the race.
But I’m not attached to the sensation of pleasure that I get from sugar. I just use it to power up my muscles. And, instead of chewing it on my couch, I consume it while training for (and running) a marathon. And, believe me, after I cross the finish line, the feelings I experiment are way more profound and fulfilling than the feelings of the simple pleasure of laziness.