Thursday, June 24, 2010

Secrets to Becoming Disciplined

By Kass Hanson

What are the secrets to becoming disciplined? How disciplined are you? Score yourself from 1-10. Webster states "Discipline - to train or develop by instruction and exercise... especially in self-control." Please read that again. If you didn't give yourself a high score, it's understandable. We know we could be more disciplined yet we tend to resist and defend our ways fiercely.

After all, we've made it this far and we're not dead or in jail right? The fact is, we are creatures of habit and we have many good ones. You brush your teeth and shower fairly regularly right? Those are excellent habits that require discipline.

Why not apply this to some other areas in need of tlc? To avoid frustration, it might help to keep in mind the following:

1st: The benefits of the new habit must exceed the old (increased health, career advancement, better relationships). Otherwise, where is the motivation?

2nd: It takes about 34 days to internalize and develop a new habit. Simply knowing this makes a world of difference. Commit to that time frame and give yourself a chance.

3rd: Start with a mini-version. Write down one thing you have been meaning to do (send a letter, drop off alterations, buy flowers). Give yourself a one-week deadline and check it off. This will get you in the mindset and allow you to move forward with confidence and success.

Suggestions to stay on track:

Distract yourself through the pain and discomfort phase... write, take a walk, make a phone call, paint, listen to music.

2. Engage your mind elsewhere. You will surprise yourself. Time will fly by and you will have made it over the hump.

3. Be gentle on yourself. If you fall off track, so what? Get back on. You can do it and if it's important enough to you, you will.

Time's a Tickin': View once then act, forward, or file! Once you get the hang of it, you'll find it difficult to go back. Think of dealing with each memo, letter, email, call, meeting in this way and you'll develop new patterns and start to plan ahead. The payoff is reduced stress, efficiency, and an incredible sense of accomplishment and productivity. No more procrastination. Prioritize and determine what deserves your immediate attention.