We have all the answers we need within us to make our lives better in every way. Some of us know the answers but don't respond in a way that is in alignment with our desires; others are so busy in their lives that they can't seem to find the time to slow down and just listen to their higher self. I know I am guilty of this; so I ask you, “Why is it that we know what we want out of life but still we settle for less, stay in our comfort zone, and hold on to the things that are not serving us?”
Even if we are unable to find all the answers we seek within us, they are out there if we just look. Too many people to count are out there offering their advice through their books, websites, blogs, FB Pages, etc. but still we either hold back from taking action, or we get enthusiastic about change for only a short time before we fall back into old patterns.
What is stopping us from making the changes we want in our lives?
Lets explore what some of our blocks might look like:
- a need for others' acceptance and not standing up for what we believe in
- not knowing exactly what we want and having a life plan or short and long term goals
- allowing our thoughts to go on autopilot
- always focusing on what we do not want and what we do not like
- lacking self-realization of our current state
- unaware of our core values
- living life controlled by our limiting beliefs
- placing blame, guilt, and judgement on ourselves and others
- not taking full responsibility for our decisions, actions, reactions, and outcomes
- holding on to the past, our regrets and resentment
- refusing to forgive ourselves and others
- lack of positive support
- resisting change; avoiding pain and failures
- looking for happiness in external factors
- fear of the unknown
- waiting for a miracle or a quick fix
- lack of mindfulness and gratitude in every moment
- inability to meditate to connect with our inner world
- lack of awareness of our higher faculties and how to live our lives first through them before our senses
Wow! I know what you must be thinking; I'm thinking it too....
With so much standing in our way, is there really any hope for us?????
I'm not intending to make you feel hopeless in your journey but the reality is that this list is just the tip of the iceberg. If we really start digging, I'm sure we can find many more things that we are allowing to block us, and even more things that we must release before we can truly be happy.
All the people who have made it and succeeded – the ones who encourage you through their inspiring stories to make you want to change too – all tend to have one thing in common: they have all hit rock bottom in some way, had a moment of clarity and realization, acted on this “Aha!” moment, and now they are living the life of their dreams and helping others in the process.
I have hit rock bottom so many times and while I am grateful for how far I have come, I can't help but wonder how many times I must drag myself out of this pit before I figure out how to do what they have done to get past my circumstances.
Have you ever felt this way too?
Looking at my current lifestyle and seeing the patterns that have evolved throughout my life, one thing keeps surfacing.
A lack of self-discipline.
I have set out on a quest to find out how we can become more disciplined in our lives. But more importantly, to search for that missing piece that either stops us from taking any action in the first place, or prohibits us from following through after we get started.
Study Guides and Strategies states, “Self-discipline can be considered a type of selective training, creating new habits of thought, action, and speech toward improving yourself and reaching goals. [It] can also be task oriented and selective.” They also mention we should view self-discipline as a positive effort, rather than one of denial.
The question of how can become quite exhaustive but from everything I have learned, it requires making plans, setting goals, taking action, and sticking with it. Psychology Today says that we need a constant commitment to change through patience, persistence, and perseverance with focus on the pay off of achieving our life goals. Uncommon Help explains, “anyone who has achieved anything has done so because they've been able to control and direct their own inner lives and actions to the extent that has enabled them to become super-able at what they do.”
You can search “how to discipline yourself” and find numerous steps, strategies, secrets, methods, techniques... the list goes on and on. Of all the results I found on these, The Feel Good Lifestyle was probably my favorite.
But no matter how many tips I find, I'm still coming back to the issue of making the changes last long enough to see a real difference in our lives. Making plans, setting goals, and getting started is all so fun and exciting but slowly it all fades away and we are right back where we started from.
The problem is the persistence, the sticking with it...
Just when I was thinking about giving up on this quest, I came across Zen Habits. Although I personally have a goal of self-reliance and to not depend on external factors, Leo Babauta makes a strong case and reminds me that we all need support if we are going to succeed. His mantra:
“It's motivation, not discipline.”
Through his experiences he has found a pattern in all his successes. You only need two things to motivate yourself for any goal:
- make things enjoyable
- use positive public pressure
Having an obligation to others serves as a great motivator. So it stands to reason that for success to happen and continue, the support we receive must be positive and at a manageable intensity. “It's important that pressure not be applied in too negative a way and too high an intensity.” ~ Zen Habits
As well, it must be pleasurable throughout the whole process. And of course, if we can enjoy the activities that motivate us to become more self-disciplined, our gratitude for the little victories and the rewards to follow will come more easily. “The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more things you'll have to express gratitude for” ~ Zig Ziglar
8 ways to become more successfully self-disciplined:
- Never give up - keep searching until you find out what works for you and your self-improvement
- There are no quick fixes – accept that the most important changes require the most out of you
- Know where you are and where you want to be
- Outline your goals and break them down to manageable tasks, then make a plan of action
- Work on tasks just within your limits or breaking points (increasing productivity & gaining interest)
- Discover your WHY – your reasons for accomplishing goals you set can be very motivational
- Find pleasure in what you are doing and express gratitude
- Join up with an Accountibilibuddy who has the same type of goals or has another set of skills that you can learn from (I highly recommend reading about this if you are looking for support, Cordelia gives a great explanation)
If deep down you are yearning for a change, listen to your inner self, find some support, and get excited about your life and your dreams.
“There is an immense payoff for your commitment and efforts at change: A life-altering shift in who you are and how you think, feel, and behave. A new direction that your life will take. And finally moving toward achieving your life goals.” ~ Jim Taylor, Ph.D.
Do you have what it takes to control your thoughts, actions, attitudes, and feelings?
Are you ready to take the steps to accomplish positive life management?
What will it take for you to become more self-disciplined to achieve the life of your dreams?