Bad habits that are killing your self-discipline
Not everything we want and need to do in life is fun and enjoyable. In moments like these, to get things done, it all comes down to willpower and self-discipline.
If you’re like most people, and you haven’t been working on strengthening your self-discipline, your self-discipline is probably not as good as you’d like it to be.
So it may be a bit of a shocker when I tell you that you’re most likely engaging in bad habits that are weakening self-discipline further every single day.
If you want to accomplish something meaningful in life or even just not end up living a mediocre life, you will need strong self-discipline. Self-discipline will help you resits temptations and stay focused on the task you need to do, even if you don’t feel motivated to do them.
Not everything is fun in life.
How motivation works.
Now, let me tell you briefly how motivation works because motivation and self-discipline are very closely linked.
You feel motivated to do something when you know it will feel good, or the result of the activity will make you feel good.
But our brain always weighs out the potential amount of pleasure we’d experience against the effort (which is simply discomfort or pain) it would take to obtain it.
Our brain want’s us to feel good (experience pleasure) as often as possible with the least amount of effort.
This is why we often procrastinate with tasks that are hard to do (physically or intellectually), and we end up doing something that is much easier and feels good, usually right away.
That’s procrastination. Your brain is tricking you into finding to do something that will feel good now.
This is how you’re weakening your self-discipline
Most people indulge every day in various forms of “feel good easily” guilty pleasure activities as a form of procrastination.
For example: Social media, TV, Netflix, internet, junk food, alcohol, drugs or porn.
Hey, this doesn’t mean you cannot do any of these or that you should live like a monk.
But the more you indulge in these things, the more you’re training your brain that feeling good and experiencing pleasure can be obtained easily because none of these things takes much effort in comparison with the tasks you’re procrastinating with.
And so your self-discipline gets weaker and weaker because, rather than being disciplined and do the things that are hard your brain literally goes: Why would you work hard for something that would feel good later, if you can feel good right now?
Lack of self-discipline jeopardises your success.
Science backs it up
A lot of research has been done into the effect of delayed gratification, and one of the most famous studies is the Stamford Marshmallow experiment. Walter Mischel found that children who were willing to wait (15 minutes) in order to get two marshmallows rather than just one right away did much better later in life in virtually any areas they measured such as career success, income, health, happiness, etc.
This observation was replicated by a number of studies.
You need strong self-discipline to be able to restrain yourself from quick but shallow gratifications and stay focused on tasks that will yield much greater reward later.
Through indulging shallow pleasures, you’re training your brain that feeling great can come easy. By this, you’re making it so much harder for yourself when you need to be disciplined.
So what to do now about your self-discipline?
Pay attention to where you’re making quick and easy “feel good” choices. Not just in the form of procrastination.
Turn these guilty pleasures into rewards for doing something that requires willpower and self-discipline. See them as opportunities to strengthen your self-discipline rather than weaken it.
The most successful people I’ve coached or I know are the most disciplined people. That’s not a coincidence.
Practice being strong, not weak.
If you need the support of a life coach to help you with making a great first impression or with any other areas of your personal development, you’re always welcome to contact me and let’s find out if we’d be the right match.