The Art of Self-Discipline
Discipline might bring to the imagination a stern individual. But is this the true face of discipline?
Its origin comes from the Latin word, discipulus translating into “to learn.” In contrast, our society today treats discipline as a penalizing process, which has also come to be attached to negative habits - something that needs changing. This unforgiving tone does very little to salvage its reputation. Discipline is not perceived as a negative term but one can’t help but feel burdened by its harshness.
When you attach an activity to discipline it may evoke a painful image; it is a gross generalization but one that stands. You may try this for yourself and see if it rings true. Does discipline make an activity more attractive? Well if it does then you've found yourself a gold pot and if not then welcome to the club!
Why protest against such slander? For one, self-discipline is not as bad as it may seem; in fact, it may well be the solution to a lot of your troubles with achieving a goal. Believe it or not, uncountable graces follow it, given that you are able to incorporate it into your routine.
Maybe what this calls for is our need to reimagine the image of discipline; not shoo away one of the few things that provide us a strong shot at success and what I argue - peace of mind.
In this blog, we will provide a new perspective to the word and steps you can take to successfully invite it into your life.
Let’s start by identifying what it means to be disciplined. I’m sure it represents specific behaviors that seem particularly difficult to adapt, for example waking up early if you aren’t a ‘morning person’ or going to the gym if you don’t like exercising. Such expectations can be highly toxic not due to the end goal but due to the burden of an unrealistic expectation.
These expectations rather than the process of the discipline itself, give it a bad name. Self-discipline
Here are 4 things on self-discipline to better understand discipline and accordingly find a suitable path to your journey of self-discipline
1. Listen to yourself - Self-Discipline I argue is not the act of sudden transformation but one of slow growth. If you feel anxious about following a certain routine, listen to yourself! Adapt your minute immediate goals according to your mind and body.
2. Small positive changes over big uncomfortable ones - This is not to trick your mind, in fact, you don't need to trick yourself into discipline. Keeping positivity at the center of your transformation process helps you be in healthy control. Don’t push yourself to do what you are not ready to. If your goal is to start your days early the first step is to wake up at a comfortable but specific time every day. Once you achieve this you may push the alarm for 15 minutes earlier on a weekly basis after noting your weekly progress.
3. Retention over adoption - Before taking on any new task remember to master its predecessor first. If for the second week you have not been able to consistently wake up at the set time then practice it until you master it. Don’t further push the alarm 15 mins earlier if you haven't yet mastered the given time. Goals that take time tend to be more long-lasting.
4. Pay attention to the process along with the goal - Beware of toxic self-Disciplining activities by being mindful of your relationship with yourself while also constantly reflecting on the process itself. In many cases, we can become the culprit of bullying ourselves into forms of submission. Self-discipline can turn highly toxic and for this reason, we may lose motivation for it as well as the given task or goal, even losing sight of the progress made.
Self-discipline is the journey to a goal, not the goal itself. So ask again what the face of discipline is! Look into the mirror of self-discipline and you may see that its true face is perhaps your brimming potential reflected back.