According to Dictionary.com, the definition of self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.
So why this is so difficult?
The most common reason is that we tend to run away from the hard, and maybe even uncomfortable, things and focus on the easier ones.
This happens both in our personal as well as our professional lives.
During the pandemic, those who were now working from home had to create a new routine which required focusing on their assignments, reports, meetings, etc. and not taking time to do chores and/or binge watch Netflix.
Those who lacked self-discipline kept putting off their work unless there was a looming deadline.
“I will get that refrigerator cleaned out and then I will prepare that report” but that resulted in a mediocre at best document and one that was done in the last few minutes of the day.
This also happens when we have a goal that we want to achieve but because there is no deadline, we tend to put it off.
In Tim Urban’s Ted Talk, he states that in his opinion we are all procrastinators. We all have something that we put off.
This may include exercising, painting a room, writing a book, or something else that we feel we have the time to do somewhere in the future.
The issue is that time does not stand still and that goal you set for yourself in 2013 still is not achieved and that was ten years ago!
Those who are more successful with self-discipline create lists or have some other method to get things done.
For me, I create an “artificial goal list.”
When I schedule a vacation, I identify one or two things I want to get done before I go away. These goals have nothing to do with my trip.
As an example, this summer before I left for France, I was determined to take down my pergola in my yard. This was challenging because the weather was not cooperating; it was either blazing hot or we had tremendous rainstorms. A few days before I left, the whole thing was down.
This may sound like a crazy idea, but it works for me.
Although we put off tougher tasks, the reality is that we actually get a greater sense of satisfaction when we complete something that is more difficult and complex (could even be scary things).
This is important for leaders to demonstrate because we serve as role models to our team. If staff members see their leader not accomplishing big, “nasty” goals then what is the incentive for their staff to?
As Brian Tracy states in his book, Eat That Frog!, it is better to eat the big frogs first and do it in the morning. He has other tips that are worth trying out so check it out. What do you have to lose?