How To Cultivate Discipline and Self-Control
“Discipline is choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST.”
One thing that I have been trying to work on for the LONGEST time is my discipline— my ability to master myself. It’s one of my main focus during my sabbatical! I really believe that when I am the master of myself, only then can I go on to fulfilling my dreams because then I don’t try to master others. You know, staying inside my circle of influence instead of spending my days frustrated about the things that does not go my way.
There are also so many things I started working on, several brain dump pages of new ideas that never got to see the light of day because I didn’t go back to them. And sometimes the gap between where we are and where we want to be lies in our ability to follow through on what we said we would do and that requires discipline (because let’s be honest, we won’t always be motivated).
They say that the undisciplined are slaves to mood, appetite, and passions.
When you are not rooted firmly and deeply enough, anything will be able to sway you away from where you meant to go.
It might be a craving, feelings of frustration or inconvenience, or other external influences.
Most of us can go on and on about the things that we can’t control, overlooking that the things that actually matter are within our grasp. Self-control is the only kind of control God gave us and in my opinion, it is more than enough. It has been one of the things I try to really work on and I thought I understood it enough but like anything else, there’s always more to learn.
My journey started with awareness and journaling about it helped. I answered the questions I used in this blog post and also turned it into a pdf workbook you can use! Click the image below to download :)
What does discipline mean?
To have discipline means to “delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term". Do you want THAT more than the ULTIMATE VISION? You choose. Sam Ovens said in one of his seminars, “if you don’t sacrifice for your goals, your goals will become the sacrifice.”
Discipline is when we are the master of our desires and passions and we act based on our mastered thoughts instead of our feelings. Self control is when we can design our life consciously and actually follow through regardless if we’re in a different state/feeling than when we first set those intentions. Regarless of our impulses and emotions.
What does self-discipline look like?
Only speaking what you mean and being aware of the power of our word choices
Managing and being aware of my finances.. I finally got over myself and took on managing my money again! I was putting it off for a while because it seemed a lot of work but when I started doing it, I enjoyed it!
Knowing how to restrain myself from reacting before I process what’s actually happening
Honoring that my time is my most important currency by putting things on schedule and sticking to them
Mastering my moods and acknowledging that I desire certain things but that doesn’t mean I NEED them. (I’d probs not die if I didn’t have that chocolate haha!)
Keeping healthy! I’ll talk more about how I get motivated to workout everyday below :)
Times I Don’t Practice Self Control:
I learned how my awareness is connected to my discipline because most of the time I am out of control is when I am mindless. I’m mindlessly snacking or eating just because, I’m scrolling on my phone for no purpose at all, not being intentional with how I spend my time, getting lost in something and not following a sleep schedule. It’s the times that I forget my intentions, when I am not aware of my purpose, that I get dragged by the circumstances instead of me being a master of them. It’s when I put off things I should be working on, or taking the two minutes to reply to someone’s email, or associating with people I shouldn’t be talking to anymore.
What Can I Do Instead:
Ask yourself: What are the triggers for this bad habits? For example, whenever I get frustrated or something inconvenient happens or shows up, I’ll grab food!
Set new challenges for yourself that takes mental fortitude. I started taking cold showers every morning. It is a non-negotiable. Whether I feel like it or not (which is the usual case haha) I take it! And it always leaves me feeling better afterwards not only because of the actual scientific benefits of cold showers, but because I know I showed up for myself and went above my own emotions.
Change your reasons. I used to work out because I said I wanted a healthier body, I wanted to be able to run for miles and not get tired after the first minute, I wanted a better balance. And those are good reasons!!! Dont get me wrong. It’s just that, it’s not on my HIGHEST of high priorities and so when work comes up, “oh that’s okay. I can work out tomorrow.” Or worse, “Oh, I worked enough today. I deserve rest.” But when I started changing my reasons to— I want to practice self-control? You bet I’m doing my squats every night. I don’t like feeling disappointed- not with myself- and so it really motivates me to just get that workout done. I' stopped thinking about getting abs.. Just doing this means I’m winning!
Get clear on what you want to accomplish. I always journal about my future self. I write down the kinds of habits she has, the relationships she has, not necessarily with people but with her habits, with money, with her time, with sleep.. When I list them down, it’s easier to contrast where I am now and what I need to improve on.
Ask yourself: what does it cost me? I’d start with a literal example. So I told you about how I started actually managing my money again recently. In the process, I found that I’ve been subscribed to a few programs that I no longer use and they are on auto-renewal so every month, they deducted money from my account and I wasnt even aware! It literally cost me money. And it got me wondering, what about the other areas that I fail to bring my awareness to? What does it actually cost me?
I’ll leave you with this quote attributed to Socrates:
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy
not on fighting the old but building the new.”
Start cultivating discipline and self-control. I created a free workbook on the prompts I used to journal about it below. Click the image to download! <3