Small actions trigger self-discipline, so start small

by | 7 March 2017 | Articles, Howto

Steve Pavlina wrote a beautiful six-part series on self-discipline. He talks about the five pillars of Self-discipline: “A WHIP”.

  • Acceptance
  • Willpower
  • Hard Work
  • Industry
  • Persistence

We’ve shared these articles before, just in case you never got a chance to read them start here: https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/06/self-discipline/

For now, I’d like to talk about Discipline and Persistence. To achieve goals and realise a long-term vision you need both discipline and persistence.

Steve’s definition of (self-)discipline:
“Self-discipline is the ability to get yourself to take action regardless of your emotional state.”

Steve’s definition of persistence:
“Persistence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. You press on even when you feel like quitting.”

 

persistence is self-discipline in action

Brian Tracy put’s it this way: “The greatest test of self-discipline is when you persist in the face of adversity, and you drive yourself forward to complete your tasks 100%, no matter how you feel. Persistence is self-discipline in action.”

In other words, if you have ideas you want to execute: act and keep at it until done. I know: how do you know what to do, where to begin? What helped me was to break it down into small tasks, tasks that you can do within 15-minutes or less. All of those tasks go into my task-backlog so I can keep track of what I need to do or what is already done.

  • For instance, the creation of the 13-week journal:
  • what options does Blurb have for “journal”-type books?
  • create InDesign file using the Blurb templates
  • design page “if found, please return this journal to me”
  • research contents for copyright page
  • design copyright page
  • sketch templates for daily and weekly pages
  • etc

Let’s be honest…

The real issue for most of us isn’t about where to start or how to begin. If you take the time to think and to break it down into small tasks, you are ready to go. If we are honest here, we need to confess that we have issues with setting the right priorities. With time-management. Self-discipline to me is choosing to do what my goal requires me to do, not what I feel like doing at that moment.

I’ve found out that self-discipline is trainable! And you know what I say… “if I can do it, so can you!”. I can tell you what I did to train my self-discipline muscle, as a side-effect it trained other muscles in my body too!

My kids are 16 months old right now; we spend a lot of time on the floor playing. So I decided to try planking while playing with them, after a few days I switched to push-ups. The reason why I switched to push-ups is that I need to be able to do tonnes of push-ups for the Memorial Day WOD this year. So, I was already doing what I needed to do… a small win already.

My advice to you is to start with push-ups. If you can not do more than one push-up, try to do to two. The next day do five. If you can do ten, do sets of ten. Do you know how much time it takes to do five to ten push-ups? Less than a minute, less than five minutes if you are really, really struggling. And you have five minutes, right?! During commercial breaks if you need to watch tv or while your significant other searches Netflix for the next “binge-watch” do push-ups. If you are cooking and have a few idle moments: do push-ups.

What this does to your self-discipline muscle is accepting that sometimes you feel uncomfortable for a few minutes, but to get results you’ll feel happy about for days. I’m at 70 push-ups daily at the moment, and I need to do 100 comfortable by May. Doing push-ups is integrated into my daily routine of journaling, when my arms need a short rest I journal.

Thanks for reading, you are awesome! You know that, right?!

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